Spirit of the Midwest 2020

Congratulations to 2020 Spirit of the Midwest Honorees

Please join the The WICT Network: Midwest in celebrating this year’s honorees!


Chapter Volunteer of the Year – Debra Malick

Debra is a 18-year professional within the consulting and staffing industry.  As National Account Manager for Diversant, she supports clients in their talent acquisition needs.  Diversant is a diversity-owned professional services firm providing IT contingent labor and consulting services.  Diversant believes that diversity in all its forms leads to greater opportunities for consultants and partners, and to more innovative solutions for clients.

Debra joined WICT in 2018 with memberships in the Midwest, Rockies, and Carolinas Chapters.   She quickly leaned into the program by volunteering for the Midwest Tech It Out, Spirit of Midwest, and Communication Committees as well as the Carolinas Chapter Ruby Circle Committee.  Debra was elected to the Board of Directors for the 2020-21 term as the Midwest Ambassador.

Finally, Debra is a passionate supporter of Make a Wish, serving as a Wish Ambassador.  This position allows her to meet children who are impacted with life-threatening illnesses, working to make their One True Wish come alive.

This award recognizes an individual who has shown exemplary volunteer support for WICT Midwest in 2020.  This leader should show dedication to volunteering/serving to help grow the Midwest Chapter and inspire others in the community.


Woman in Technology – Amber Schwiesow

Amber Schwiesow is the Director of Procurement, Supply Chain and Tower Management for Midco. In her current role, she applies automation and data science to the supply chain to build a system and team that complement the company’s strategic plans. Amber also oversees tower management and works on the team developing strategies for fixed wireless technology and operational execution. She previously held the role of Director of Business Engineering and Operations, where she led business engineering, sales engineering and technical operations. She launched private cloud services to expand Midco’s business service offerings by leveraging the company’s regional data center infrastructure. Amber is a current Women in Cable and Telecommunications (WICT) Midwest board member, a Society of Cable and Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) member, and an active participant in CableLabs (specifically the UpRamp Fiterator® program). She is passionate about women in technology and serves on the Dakota State University Cybersecurity Industry Advisory Board and the Career and Technical Academy Advisory Board. She also organizes technology-centered events as the WICT Midwest Tech It Out Chair – and was recently featured in a documentary series highlighting women in leadership positions in the technology industry.

This award recognizes an industry woman serving in a technical position who has contributed significantly to her organization as well as the cable and telecommunications industry.  In addition to her technical expertise, she is a valued team member who is committed to supporting and motivating others.


Rising Leader Award – Emilie Gragert

Emilie is a Senior Manager of Financial Reporting at Charter Communications. She is responsible for the 10K and 10Q filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, benefit plan reporting, and all other ad hoc reporting requirements. In this role, Emilie works closely with a variety of teams including Internal Audit, External Audit, Procurement, and Management Reporting to accurately report financial results.

Emilie has held roles in numerous industries during her ten years in the accounting field, including engineering and construction, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and telecommunications. She joined Charter in 2016 and, in addition to her current External Reporting role, has experience in Charter’s Internal Reporting and Technical Accounting functions.

Emilie holds a Masters of Accountancy, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Finance from Truman State University. Emilie is a Certified Public Accountant. Since joining Charter, she has completed the Charter Manager Leadership Development Program and the WICT Midwest Premier Management Development Series. Emilie has received two Achievement Awards and one Distinction Award (awarded annually to 0.25% of employees) for her significant contributions towards achieving Charter priorities. She is also a member to the WICT Midwest Board joining this year as the Sponsorship Chair.

Emilie is a native of Saint Louis, MO where she currently resides. She is passionate about volleyball and coaches at a large club in the area, High Performance STL.

Spirit of the Midwest – Trish McCann

At Midco, Trish McCann oversees residential, business and advertising sales; marketing, communications, web content, events, media relations and public affairs; as well as product development and Midco Sports Network®. With nearly 20 years of industry experience — involved in every aspect of branding, marketing, planning and research –Trish has a passion for building successful teams focused on serving customers and developing company culture. Trish was selected as the Sales & Marketing Executives Women in Business Excellence in Marketing award winner in 2017 and the EmBe Tribute to Women Business Achievement award winner in 2016. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from South Dakota State University.