‘You must do the things you think you cannot do’: How one Norfolk woman is taking the lead in technology

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On paper, Norfolk resident Nicole Carry has done it all.

Carry served in the Navy for six years as an electronics technician specializing in air warfare and was a director of technology for Systems Integration Research. She was the first LGBTQ-identifying Norfolk City Council person, and for the last 13 years, she’s worked as a solutions architect for Electronic Systems, Inc.

It’s not all about work for Carry though. She’s invested in her community, too. Carry has volunteered her time with the Virginia Veterans Services Foundation, Hampton Roads Business OutReach, Tidewater Arts Outreach and the LGBT Center of Hampton Roads just to name a few.

This year, Carry is combining her career knowledge with her philanthropic interests, launching a nonprofit that seeks to ensure Norfolk stays at the forefront of modern technology. Norfolk Forward, Carry said, is designed to “advance Norfolk through digital technologies, data collection, analytics and modeling.”

“What we want to get away from is a one-brainstrong organizations being in charge of all of our technology,” Carry said. “It doesn’t matter how smart that one brain is. We can’t do it alone.”

The nonprofit will encourage and employ the ideas of companies, organizations and single contributors in collaboration to develop technological projects throughout the city. At its core, it’s technology for the citizens, by the citizens.