Interview with Cydni Tetro, CEO of ForgeDX, president of Women Tech Council
This article is part of a series featuring business executives who choose to live and work in Utah. If you know of an executive we should interview, please contact us.
Cydni Tetro is a technology founder and entrepreneur, STEM advocate, speaker and influential leader. Throughout her career, she has started and sold companies, developed products, raised capital, founded a nonprofit and helped shape Utah’s technology community.
Tetro is founder and CEO of ForgeDX, a tech company whose simulation platform, IdeaCloud, is driving digital transformation and accelerating the adoption of technologies throughout industries.
She also founded a 3D printing personalization platform, worked at Disney in Imagineering and taught at Babson Executive Education. Tetro’s impressive resume also includes serving as faculty for the Goldman Sachs 10k small business initiative where she teaches growth planning, leadership, sales and marketing.
Twelve years ago, Cydni co-founded Women Tech Council, a nonprofit organization focused on the economic impact of women in technology. With programs that amplify women in technology from high school to the board room, the council has accelerated thousands of individual careers, hundreds of companies and fueled success for the entire community.
How did you get started in the industry?
I got a job as a software tester in high school and found the intersection for my two budding passions: technology and business. This led me to get my undergraduate degree in computer science and my MBA. I’ve been building products and companies ever since.
What top two professional accomplishments are you most proud of?
This year, the Women Tech Council activated our 15,000th high school girl to pursue STEM through our SheTech program. The experiences and mentors these girls are gaining with SheTech are changing the trajectory of their futures and ours. I am incredibly proud of the positive impact this program has on so many.
After only 12 months at ForgeDX, we’re introducing a product to market that’s already changed the way people see and experience technology. Working with strategic partners like Verizon and other Fortune 50 companies, we’ve helped our customers close more than $100 million in revenue within our first year.
Is there a diverse talent pool in Utah?
Yes. Diversity is an important component of how we’re building our technology community. We have worked for the last 12 years to ensure women in tech are a strong and growing part of that ecosystem.
The growing number and quality of women in tech make Utah’s talent pool more strong and diverse than ever. We have a community of more than 10,000 men and women, an awards platform that has recognized more than 200 women championing technology, networking and mentoring programs to support career opportunities from entry-level to the board room. Additionally, we have a high school program that has activated 15,000 girls to pursue STEM.
What types of communities exist for women in tech in Utah?
Regardless of how you came to Utah (from relocation or growth in a company already here), we have a community to help all women in technology feel welcome and engaged. Whatever the career path or organization, this community is ready-made to help women in tech connect with resources and feel included the moment they arrive.
What drew you to Utah?
I built my entire career being in Salt Lake City and filled it with diverse opportunities with companies around the world. From Imagineering at Disney or working with other established corporations to launching my own companies, SLC has endless opportunities.
What do you like most about living in Utah?
First. Utah has a very strong tech community and deep-rooted entrepreneurial spirit. The intersection of those domains brings unlimited possibilities.
Second. Salt Lake City is a Delta hub I can do business anywhere from (and get seat upgrades).
What do you like most about doing business in Utah?
Utah has a deep talent pool for all types of organizations and skills. But more importantly, the people here have a unique perspective on working together as a community to create success. Connections to mentors and role models, camaraderie to help each other, desire to give back and inspire — it’s more innate here than in other tech or business hubs.
What advice do you have for individuals considering starting a business, or relocating their business, to Utah?
We’ve built an ecosystem that has all the key stakeholder components in its DNA. Capital, education, community support, talent pool — everything you need to succeed is here.
What is your primary challenge of doing business in Utah?
All the rankings and data for the last decade consistently show Utah is one of the best places to do business and be an entrepreneur. Despite this, people forget all we have to offer.
What is your business philosophy?
First, spend your time building something that can make a difference in the world and creates an impact. Whether it’s with customers, partners, or people, make something that does good in the world.
Second, build companies with talented, diverse teams that understand how to work together. The power of those collaborations is what creates success.
Tell me a fun fact about yourself.
I can waterski with five other people simultaneously, all from the same boat. We’ve considered taking the act on the road.