President and CEO of Webhead Janie M. Gonzalez looks at her computer monitor while quoting a statistic. Photo by Scott Ball.
President and CEO of Webhead Janie Gonzalez has been nominated to serve on the CPS Energy board, subject to San Antonio City Council approval.

Janie Gonzalez, founder and CEO of Webhead, has transformed her company from producing commercial websites to providing Internet and cybersecurity technology focused solutions for government clients and private companies across the country while maintaining philanthropic ties in the community.

In March, Gonzalez will be inducted into the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame along with 16 others, including Mayor Ivy Taylor but this won’t be the first time Gonzalez is recognized for her work. She’s received the San Antonio Hispanic Innovator award, been named the Acción Texas Micro lender Entrepreneur of the Year award and she was a San Antonio Business Journal 40 Under 40 Rising Star. The Journal named Webhead one of the best places to work in in 2015 in the small business category.

Gonzalez built the tech startup without venture capital into a multimillion dollar IT business whose client list includes the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. National Guard, the Department of Defense, the State of Texas, the City of San Antonio, and a range of commercial clients.

A photograph from the companies beginnings lines a hallway of Webhead. Photo by Scott Ball.
A photograph from the company’s beginnings hangs in a hallway in Webhead’s offices. Photo by Scott Ball.

Tech innovation for public and private enterprise isn’t the only focus for Gonzalez. Over the past 20 years, she has supported the development and education of local tech talent with numerous contributions to the community through philanthropy, mentorship, volunteerism and advocacy.

“Janie is a strong supporter of public education and is an inspiring role model for our students,” said Delia McLerran, principal of the Young Women’s Leadership Academy. “Janie speaks to our students often—the students are always so inspired by Janie’s story and are excited by her offer of internships at Webhead.”

A new mentoring initiative, “Latina CEO,” will aim to provide both online and offline resources and tools to help propel more Latina businesswomen up the ladder.

Gonzalez, who is bilingual, trademarked Latina CEO in 2009, and has since worked to fully develop the startup to share insights and experiences. The tagline is “Inside every woman is a CEO.” Gonzalez is currently working on a soft launch of the LatinaCEO.com website.

President and CEO of Webhead Janie M. Gonzalez speaks with The Rivard Report in her office. Photo by Scott Ball.
Webhead President and CEO Janie Gonzalez in her office. Photo by Scott Ball.

Despite any disadvantages a small business might have in competing for government contracts, Webhead continues to focus on innovation as the way to stand out as in the tech industry.

“Our mission at Webhead is to capitalize on lessons learned so as to empower our clients in information security and in software and website development,” Gonzalez said. “We’re also branching out into a new area, to find IT and tech talent for our clients.”

Since 2015, Webhead has been providing clients fully qualified software developers, quality assurance and business analysts, database and network administrators, social media specialists, graphic designers, Web developers and help desk IT support staff.

Webhead Application Developer Tahara Ezell works on a project in the main space. Photo by Scott Ball.
Webhead Application Developer Tahara Ezell works on a project. Photo by Scott Ball.

“Webhead is consumer centric — we are focused on meeting the client’s needs in innovative ways that helps business or government use technology in a transformative way,” Gonzalez said.

Thinking broadly about anticipating future tech needs comes naturally to Gonzalez. She starts by talking about what needs to happen now: educating tomorrow’s workforce, as well helping clients innovate their processes.

“Janie has been one of my mentors since I left AT&T after working on PR, advertising, and marketing for them for 24 years,” said Irma Calderón Woodruff, a partner at Digital Marketing Sapiens.

“I watched Janie turn her company from a website focused company to one trusted by government to work on their cybersecurity, and that inspired me to become technical. Janie showed me that the future of marketing would be on the Internet. Thanks to my time at Webhead I became more tech savvy and now I’ve gone from traditional to digital,” Woodruff added.

Gonzalez finds this ongoing transition for “digital immigrants,” those adapting to innovative ways of using technology as they go from traditional to digital, presents so many opportunities.

“Today’s consumers tend to be tech illiterate, using technology mostly for entertainment,” Gonzalez explained. “Yet technology is advancing to the point that it can truly transform the core of business or government function.”

One example Gonzalez used is leveraging big data analytics in meaningful ways, such as in encouraging residents to vote.

“The City of San Antonio, for example, could provide voter registration numbers in a drive to spur residents to register and vote,” Gonzalez said. Transparency or open data used to spur citizen action is already gaining traction in cities overseas.

“In 2013 or so, Webhead redid the City of San Antonio’s website into a more consumer friendly site after a focus group found more city employees than residents were using the website,” Gonzalez said. “The city could take the consumer centric approach and provide more transparency in many areas of interest to city residents.”

Gonzalez also talked about San Antonio embracing the tech innovation inherent in becoming a smart city. By 2050 about 75% of the world’s population will live in cities, putting pressure on the transportation network, emergency response services and utilities that are already stretched to capacity.

A smart city uses information and communication technologies to enhance quality, performance and interaction of urban services to cut costs and resource consumption and to improve engagement between citizens and local government.

“One way to help this (transformation into a smart city) is to try to elect more officials like (U.S. Rep.) Will Hurd who are IT centric, rather than electing more lawyers,” Gonzalez said.

Another way is to make sure tomorrow’s workforce has opportunities to learn about and consider a technology career.

“As both a board member for the SAISD Foundation and as a speaker, Janie takes the initiative to make sure our students and schools have every chance at success possible,” said Judy Geelhoed, SAISD Foundation executive director.

“Janie really opened our eyes when we watched how the students listened to her talk about her tech career choice. When Janie told the kids she went to Burbank High School, the students took note of her powerful message,” Geelhoed said. “Because of that experience, we decided to launch a SAISD professional network for alumni to return and talk to the students about their career experiences. Janie helped us think of ways to create opportunities for the students, like Webhead internships, rather than focus on the gaps.”

“There continues to be a gap between those who produce technology and those who consume it,” Gonzalez said. “Our job is to close that gap in meaningful ways.”

Tickets are available for the 2016 San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame Induction Gala, to be held Saturday, March 16, at 6 p.m.

  

*Top image: President and CEO of Webhead Janie M. Gonzalez looks at her computer monitor while quoting a statistic.  Photo by Scott Ball. 

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Iris Gonzalez

Iris Gonzalez writes about technology, life science, and veteran affairs. She won the Texas Veterans Commission Media Excellence Awards for her 2016 Veterans Day story "Life as a Veteran: What Veterans...