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March is all about celebrating the accomplishments of women. It’s an opportunity to reflect on women leaders and their many contributions to our world. At Bluewater, we’re especially proud of our powerful female leaders who are guiding us into a bright future. In honor of Women’s History Month, we are proud to shine the spotlight on a few of our amazing female VP team members:

Suzanne Schoeneberger – Owner & President


After spending most of her career in human resources, Suzanne got her start in commercial AV when her husband,  Tom Schoeneberger, and his brother, Paul, started Bluewater in 1985. Tom had a deep love for technology, and Bluewater emerged from that. After a medical event, however, Suzanne stepped in to run the business.

“Since we’re a family business and our employees have been with us for most of [our] journey, I didn’t come into a leadership role and [then have] to gain the trust of the company,” she describes. “I was already there.” Some of her initial activities were mostly culture driven which reinforced team members’ appreciation of Sue’s efforts. “I’ve been really fortunate, I think, not to feel the burden that a lot of women feel trying to lead in a mostly male industry,” she adds.

Julie Harkins – Chief Financial Officer

Julie is responsible for leading the financial strategy, budgeting, cash flow management, and financial reporting for Bluewater. She also oversees our accounting and finance team that handles the day to day financial tasks for the company. While Julie is positioned as a leader, she sees herself as a supporting role to help ensure our teams have what they need to be successful and serve our clients. 

Why do you think its important to have women in leadership roles, especially in the tech industry?  

“It’s always important to have the best possible person for a leadership role. In industries where the workforce is a higher percentage of men, women can often be overlooked and underrepresented in leadership roles. This is true for the tech industry and finance as well. An article from the AICPA states the only 16% of CFOs are women, which is an all time high since the statistics has been tracked. Women can bring a different perspective and process mindset to male dominated industries. It’s important to make sure their viewpoints are heard and they have the same chance to succeed as their male colleagues.”

What’s one piece of advice you would give to young women just starting their careers? 

“My piece of advice to young women starting their careers is to not be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. Many times, the best successes and personal growth come from doing something we’ve never done before, challenging the status quo, or thinking outside the box.”  

Kim Hale – VP, Strategic Consulting

Kim works as a liaison between our clients and creative teams on larger opportunities to ensure we fully understand the client’s objectives and goals before beginning our creative development process. She also ensures our final creative deliverables are on strategy and deliver against those objectives.

What motivates you as a leader?

“Honestly, working with younger people and helping them develop their careers and skill sets. I was fortunate enough to have some really good leaders in my career who looked out for me. Now it’s my turn to do the same.”

What’s one piece of advice you would give to young women just starting their careers?

“Be brave and reach! Don’t be afraid to fail. It doesn’t always have to be perfect, but it does always have to keep moving. 90% of your success will be related to your ability to “move the ball forward.” Don’t be afraid to do it, even if you don’t know everything – chances are good nobody does!”

Jaime McAlear – VP, Operational Excellence and Strategic Initiatives

Jaime is responsible for shared services operational functions such as Human Resources and IT. She also works to support strategic and operational initiatives that help drive Bluewater’s success.

What motivates you as a leader?

“Quite simply, I am motivated by helping people. I don’t need to be the one to shine, but leading, supporting, and removing barriers so that a team or teammate achieves success makes me hungry for more! I remember early in my career how a few great leaders made me feel. These leaders upped my confidence, helped me understand the value of trust, and gave me that ‘pep talk’ when I needed it to find my way. How we ‘show up’ everyday as leaders has a direct impact on so many people around us.  And, when people achieve success, our entire team wins.”

What’s one piece of advice you would give to young women just starting their careers?

“Roll up your sleeves and give a s*it.  A career is not transactional. Be inquisitive, learn and understand the big picture and show up with a great attitude – everyday.”

Chanel Schoeneberger – Executive Officer

As Executive Officer, Chanel provides leadership and strategic direction while overseeing various aspects of the organization, including board affairs, account management, and special projects. Her role also involves promoting a positive company culture and ensuring operational efficiency.  In addition, Chanel is focused on creating an inclusive work environment that supports employee engagement. 

Why do you think it’s important to have women in leadership roles, especially in the tech industry?

“Having women in leadership roles, especially in the tech industry, is important because it promotes diversity of perspectives. When leadership teams are diverse, they can make more informed decisions and develop better solutions by considering various viewpoints. A more representative and inclusive tech industry can inspire and encourage more women to pursue careers in the field, breaking down barriers and promoting equity.”

What’s one piece of advice you would give to young women just starting their careers?

“Cultivate self-confidence and resilience and remember that your voice and contributions are valuable in any field or industry you choose to pursue. Surround yourself with supportive mentors and peers who can help you grow professionally and personally, and always stay true to your goals and aspirations.”

Brittney Bemb – VP, Integration Operations

Brittney works with the operations team to ensure projects are running as effectively and efficiently as possible while providing excellent and memorable customer service. A lot of Brittney’s efforts go into making sure our internal and external clients can accomplish their current and future goals to thrive! Brittney was also recently featured as one of Northwood University’s “20 Under 40” honorees. The 20 Under 40 program recognizes NU alumni who are ambitious professionals doing great things in their careers, organizations, or communities.

What motivates you as a leader?

“GROWTH. I love to watch people learn and grow. I especially enjoy watching a team grow together. Seeing a new skillset “click” is my favorite look on a person’s face. I grew up surrounded by coaches and teachers in my family – teaching is in my blood, and I LOVE IT.”

Why do you think it’s important to have women in leadership roles, especially in the tech industry?

“It takes several different schools of thought to have a well-rounded organization, it provides a balance. Women excel at community-driven thinking. This school of thought allows a leader to bring groups to common ground with a high level of collaboration thus bringing in more buy-in with decisions and direction. Nothing is stronger than a team that has a common goal. Women also excel with empathy – this helps drive connection and communication in the workplace. Empathy is a required skill of any leader in our current landscape, people need to feel valued and have the space to make mistakes and move forward – otherwise they will find it elsewhere. The tech industry has a very competitive environment especially when it comes to talented labor – when you find good people, you need to retain them and allow them the space to offer their full set of skills. Feeling valued, having the space to communicate collaboratively, make mistakes and providing new perspectives are a few keys to a thriving team.”