WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – From an early age, Laura Dezarn knew that she had an aptitude for technology. Dezarn, the vice president of IT infrastructure and operations at Truliant Federal Credit Union since 2018, just got computers.
“While I didn’t grow up with easy and instant access to computers, I developed a love and fascination for first-generation computers,” Dezarn said. “I was able to visualize how important technology would become in our lives. And I always thought it would be a great career.”
Dezarn’s financial-services background, passion for leading technology initiatives and strong connection to the Winston-Salem community ultimately led her to Truliant.
The disruption caused by the pandemic has tested her three decades of IT experience: Many of Truliant’s 270,000 members have become more reliant on Truliant’s digital services, and hundreds of Truliant employees started working remotely – almost overnight.
New programs were instituted to ease economic stress for members and businesses, and Truliant’s digital services saw tremendous growth because the pandemic forced significant in-person banking reductions.
“Our job has been to find creative ways to remove member pain points and encourage growth. During the pandemic, we’ve launched new digital capabilities. And we are always asking what we can do so members can be more fully engaged digitally,” Dezarn said. “On all fronts, our teams went beyond expectations, making thoughtful decisions in the face of rapid change.”
The platform and the capacity to handle the rapid transition to digital services has been in development for the past few years at Truliant. The credit union had built a framework for improving its processes and to better understand member experiences and eliminate bottlenecks for members.
“Laura’s impressive operational background made her a natural fit to lead our IT team’s efforts to improve the digital experiences of our members,” said Sandeep Uthra, Truliant’s chief information officer. “I knew her expertise and experience would be an excellent addition to our IT leadership team. Her skills have been invaluable over the last year.”
Women in Tech
One of Dezarn’s professional passions is helping women explore tech careers. Women represent about half the workforce, but only a quarter of tech jobs. IT jobs are in high demand at many companies. She mentors female students at Wake Forest University. She also encourages young girls to embrace STEM subjects and tech careers as they begin to put together their educational plans.
“I offer the women at Wake ideas on varied paths for careers in science and technology,” Dezarn said. “I let them know that a technology career is a tremendous opportunity, and many of their social ideals are baked into the work-life balance philosophies that many companies are now embracing.”
During the pandemic, women suffered a disproportionate number of the job losses. Looking ahead, some of the most in-demand tech jobs could help women close that gap: web developers, digital interface designers, network and computer systems administrators, computer network architects, information security analysts, and database administrators and architects.
“I’ve been fortunate to see significant growth opportunities for women in technology. But we have to keeping getting the message out,” Dezarn said. “My experience in hiring for tech jobs is that there are always more job openings than people to fill them. There are plenty of wonderful reasons for capable women to work in tech: pick of assignment, excellent salaries, rewarding careers, opportunities for advancement and a career that is more strategically integrated into the core of many businesses.
“Like many careers that were once dominated by men – the result of past social and generational norms – the lopsidedness in tech is starting to change,” Dezarn said.
Because Dezarn spends so much time in front of a computer, golf is an opportunity to spend time outdoors with her husband, Todd, and their friends. Another part of golf’s appeal is the mental challenge.
“The pros make the game look so easy,” Dezarn said. “But every shot is different. There are lots of variables built into a course, combined with the always-changing weather conditions.
“Historically, golf has been a male-dominated sport. I often find myself as one of the few women playing in tournaments. Golf is another opportunity for women to close the gender gap!”
Dezarn, a North Wilkesboro native, has been a Forsyth County resident for 24 years, since her days as a Wake Forest MBA student. She and her husband have Westies – West Highland White Terriers.