Mary MacNeilly plans to claim the Colorado Springs community as her own in the name of technology and innovation. The 30-year-old Indiana native recently went to work for EMC Corp.’s local branch and plans to move closer to the Springs shortly with her soon-to-be husband. MacNeilly kicked off the year at EMC as a senior territory manager, specializing in promoting data storage and other IT hardware solutions to mid-market clients throughout Southern Colorado. She already has started the Colorado Springs IT Community Group, a tech-savvy club focusing on innovation and collaboration. MacNeilly, a self-described “seven-year business strategist turned IT enthusiast,” talked this week about work, her new group and why she is investing her time in the Pikes Peak region.
What brought you to Colorado?
In 1998, my parents lost their business — they owned a performing arts school — and they just decided to pack up everything and move without much of a plan. They chose Colorado, so I moved out with them to Boulder when I was 15.
Can you talk about your role at EMC?
At EMC, I was brought on to work in the mid-market space, which we define as companies with less than 1,000 employees. In the state of Colorado we have two other reps who were pretty much splitting the state half and half. When I came on they asked me where I wanted to work and I said, “Give me Colorado Springs,” and they so graciously did. My role at EMC is to work in the mid-market space down here in Southern Colorado, and I educate businesses on what is happening in IT and work to earn their business over time. … We are now able to provide beginning-to-end IT services for our clients, and that is what I am here for.
What led you to become interested and eventually work in this field?
I owned a business for three years and referred to myself as a business strategist. I called myself that because I wasn’t a business coach or a consultant, if you will — I really rolled up my sleeves and got into the business, working with start-ups and small businesses to take what they had, pull it apart, rebuild it and turn it into a profitable business. As a business strategist I worked with three or four businesses at a time. That experience has been able to translate so nicely into my role here at EMC. As EMC continues to grow and we’re able to service a company in so many different ways, it makes sense for someone with a business mind to come on board.
Tell me about the Colorado Springs IT Community Group.
The first thing I did was meet with the Technology Incubator, and then I went to a Mashup Event to hear about a lot of the initiatives that the Regional Business Alliance is putting together, and the theme was so common: We are losing our tech community. How do we bring that back? How do we keep talent here? How do we create emerging technologies? We need to get like-minded individuals together so that they can create these emerging technologies and achieve that innovation — the community very clearly doesn’t have a whole lot of that right now. When I heard this, I said, “I know how to help, and if I can create an IT community group I will host all of the training sessions out of the local EMC office and it will be completely free of charge for businesses in the community.” … So I created the Colorado Springs IT Community Group. It is for anyone who has an interest in IT. … I see a lot of strength in it, and in helping the community from an IT perspective.
Do you plan on moving closer to the Springs because of work?
I just got engaged on New Year’s Eve and my future husband works in Castle Rock, so our plan is to build a house south of Castle Rock so that we will conveniently be between. It’s going to help me so much to be down here. With the response already of 30 members signing up in a week, I’m not sure if that’s going to plateau for a bit or if we are going to see it grow at that rate, but I’m not going to let this go. … I know where I want to spend my time, and he is in full support of that. So we will definitely be moving closer to the city within the next year.
What is it that you like about the Colorado Springs area?
It’s absolutely gorgeous down here. I cannot believe the beautiful scenery that we have in this city. … I love the people in this community. I have always been strong in my faith, and as a Christian woman I find from the way business is done here and the way relationships are built that we have a very strong Christian community in Colorado Springs.
Do you have any thoughts on the local young professional community?
I’m excited to get involved with other young professionals down here. I have heard through the grapevine that there isn’t a huge scene in Colorado Springs for young professionals. … It is fun for me to be a part of this community and a young professional. If there is a way for me to inspire and get people excited about their career and keep people growing up through the chains here in Colorado Springs, that would be fantastic.