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takes an unlikely path to I.T. success
By Leonard Novarro

     According to the dictionary, Kathy David is a geek – “a person who is preoccupied with or very knowledgeable about computing.”
    The dictionary also calls a geek “a boring and unattractive social misfit.”
    That can be as far away from the truth as you can get for the woman dubbed the “’It’ Girl of I.T.”
    Glamorous, fashionable and charming, David does not fit the image of “techie” associated with the so-called computer or I.T industry. Yet, there she is on the top of her field, almost eight years after realizing that her passion was technology.
    David is CEO and president of IT Tech Pros Inc. of Escondido, California, a company she founded with childhood sweetheart and husband, Jeff David. Because of her background in information technology, business development and entrepreneurship, she was recruited to contribute to the book “The Ultimate Success Guide” with motivational speaker and author Brian Tracy. The book was released in May.
    Before that, she was honored by the San Diego Business Journal as a “Woman Who Means Business” in 2006 and her company recently named as one of the top 100 small business managed service providers in the industry. David is also a winner of the Asian Heritage Award for excellence in entrepreneurship, contributed to the book “The Power of Leadership – Finding the Leader Within” and authored her own how-to manual “Do It Yourself – Insider Tips to PC tune-Ups.”
    Her eyes always on the future, less than two decades ago she thought she had none.
    Leaving home at 16 with $60, she ended up in Escondido looking for work and found it waiting tables in a local restaurant, where she struck up an acquaintance with a couple a few years later who invited her to apply for a personal banker’s job in a local bank.
    “I jumped at the opportunity,” she recalled. “They saw something and believed in me…what I am capable of.”
    That job turned into a nine-year career in which she rose to the rank of bank manager. The day came, however, when she wanted more. “I realized that, that was as good as it was going to get,” she said. “I felt I had more to offer and needed something more.”  Combining her business acumen with her husband’s knowledge of computer technology, the pair concentrated on helping other businesses, small and medium-sized, tackle their computing, networking and application needs and keep up with the myriad of technological changes such as cloud computing and new IT systems.
    As a young girl, technology and computers were the furthest thing from her mind. A self-described “dreamer,” David knew that she wanted a better life than the one of a struggling single mom working long, hard hours, as her mother did. “I just wanted to be happy. I wanted to go through life on my own terms,” she says. What she didn’t know was how much she would love her work. “I didn’t know what to expect but soon loved it. I love
technology. I found my passion.”
    David took the unlikely path of taking art and speech classes at Palomar College and reading a lot. Those classes, she says, were the impetus for her to excel in critical thinking and communication. “It taught me to think outside the box and to see things from a creative perspective…to keep me innovative.” And, she added, “the highest paid people I know are excellent communicators.”
    David admits that she belies the stereotype of a computer techie, as well as entrepreneur.
    “There are definitely a lot of stereotypes about what an entrepreneur should look like – typically male. It’s the same with STEM,” she said.  More and more women entering both fields have been changing that but the image of the nutty professor complete with slide rule sticking out of his shirt pocket persists.
    “There’s a lot of opportunity to step up, but a lot of women are not equipped or encouraged to compete with male counterparts,” David explained. “That is why mentorship is important. When you have the support of people around you,” as she had, “it makes things easier.”
    In addition to mentoring as part of the Asian Heritage Society’s BOOST-STEM program, David makes herself readily available to schools to share insights on her career and background with young girls, much as she does with her own daughters, Melanie, 16, and McKayla, 10. “I want them to pursue what will make them happy.” She tells them: “Look for something that interests you and makes you happy.”
    While it is important for parents to encourage their children, that luxury is not always available in single-parent households or where parents are struggling to make ends meet. That’s where the school system comes in, but the fault of many is that special programs like STEM are usually reserved for the gifted.
    “There’s not enough for minority youngsters and those who are not well off economically,” so parents have to look for such programs and opportunities outside the school.
    “What I recommend for young girls to prepare for the future,” said David, “is to stay educated and surround yourself with people who can support your vision.”

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