Debra Howell elected to NYS ACE Women's Network
Debra Howell, director of information technology for the Division of Infrastructure, Properties and Planning (IPP), was elected to the executive board as the information officer for the New York State Chapter of the American Council on Education (ACE) Women’s Network during their annual conference April 6-7 in Cooperstown, NY.
“I am honored to be invited to serve this organization and its goals of promoting the advancement, visibility and influence of women in higher education," Howell said.
Howell has been at Cornell for 18 years, all of them with IPP. She started her work at Cornell in desktop support and worked her way to her current director position. She obtained her master’s degree in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations in 2006.
In her current role, Howell oversees desktop support, systems administration, programming services and building automated control systems integration. She is also the service group director for IPP, human resources, environmental health and safety, and Cornell University Police. She has led the development of the Information Technologies Career Framework at Cornell. In her times away from work, she is a master trainer for the U.S. Department of Defense and volunteers as an instructor for the U.S. Army Yellow Ribbon Program.
“Debra encourages everyone in her group to be the best they can be at what they do,” said Kristi Cooley, IT support assistant for IPP. “I am amazed every day at the number of groups she is involved with, and that these groups do so much for the community and beyond. She also encourages all her staff members to grow and take every learning opportunity they can – even if that means leaving her organization. She is my mentor and my friend. I have never met a more genuine, inspiring and thoughtful person.”
Tom Horton, assistant director of identity management and security engineering for CIT, said, “Debra is known for developing people. As a former direct report, I never before had such support and encouragement to take risks. She encourages all of her employees to find what drives them, and to strive towards that. She challenges her colleagues to be better people and to act on their potential. I have enjoyed a successful career — in no small part due to the support and guidance I received from Debra throughout my time working for her.”
Speakers at the annual conference included Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich and educator and researcher Judith Tabron, Ph.D., with State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher delivering the keynote address. Zimpher is the first woman to lead the nation's largest higher education system.
The ACE Women’s Network is a national system of networks across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, with the mission to advance and support women in higher education leadership roles. Members of the ACE Women’s Network Executive Council serve as advisers to ACE's Inclusive Excellence Group, liaisons to the state networks, and mentors to state coordinators.