In 1979 Bernie Dixon was commissioned as a 2LT in the US Army. That was the first year that the Army commissioned a class of female officers. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from The Pennsylvania State University and served in the US Army Signal Corp while simultaneously training in Field Artillery and qualifying in nine different weapon systems, the first female to attain that rating.
At the pinnacle of her Army service, Bernie served as the Aide-de-Camp to a three star, Lieutenant General, who ran the Defense Information Systems Agency. She also served as the telecommunications liaison to the White House and State Department. At that time, the case of the Divestiture of AT&T was being heard and debated in the halls of Congress. Bernie was on point for the Department of Defense position on that case and presented that position to the US Congress.
Moving from the highest levels in the DoD to Booz Allen and Hamilton, Bernie continued her work in National Security and Telecommunications working with the White House and State Department. While in that position she was instrumental in assembling 30 top US CEOs in Information Technology and Telecommunications to comprise the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee to the President, NSTAC, an organization that still advises the sitting US President today. Strategic issues are discussed, vented and recommendations are made by businesses leaders on the strategic management of national security resources and policy for the US and NATO.
United Technologies Corporation, UTC recruited Bernie to lead Information System assets and policy of their Global divisions. She went on to serve as the Chief Information Officer of Hamilton Standard, an aerospace and NASA technology contractor and later CIO of Carrier Corporation, the global leader in HVAC. Bernie was among the first CIO to implement enterprise wide software systems and online security systems.
Raytheon recruited Bernie to serve as the Enterprise CIO in support of high level defense electronic programs. As she was comfortable in the environment of classified and highly technical programs, Bernie and the IT team implemented unique and strategic systems to serve the needs of missile and weapon systems for all branches of the US government and government contractors.
Bernie’s next career move was to HP to lead the world’s largest technology company’s service organization in the Americas. In that role her organization supported the global data centers and service requirements of many of the largest Fortune 50 companies. GM, Microsoft, Disney, 3M, Tyco and others were the largest customers of the multi-billion dollar service organization under Bernie’s leadership.
Upon her retirement in 2007, Bernie, after noticing that there just weren’t enough women leaders in the technology industry, especially in the young tech companies, decided to do something about it. She is often heard speaking on that subject.
She relocated to Atlanta in 2012 trailing her husband who was serving as a Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of a Public Company located in the Atlanta area. She started her own investment group targeted at investments in women led companies. In 2012 she became the first Chairman and President of the Atlanta Technology Angels, where, to this day she is the only female to hold that role and the only person ever to hold both roles for that organization. She grew ATA to be the 3rd largest Angel Network in the US and one of the most active investment organizations in the country.
Also in 2012 she went on to launch Launchpad2X, “The nation’s only founder-to-CEO accelerator training organization for women entrepreurs.” Naturally, the results of the launchpad2X programs can be seen in the success of its companies from 2012 to the present day:
- 175 companies have graduated from our core program. Hundreds more have been touched by our workshops and online materials.
- 90% are still in business after 3 years compared with 80% of companies that go out of business in three years.
- 200% is the average annual sales growth after LP2X core program participation
- 9 companies have been sold (i.e. 9 exists)
- $1B is the economic impact level of all the LP2X graduates over the past several years.
- 40% of our participants are nonwhite females
Currently, when she is not changing the lives of women entrepreneurs, Bernie serves as adviser to many early stage companies and sits on the advisory board of several Venture Capital firms and Private Equity firms.
She is continually listed as one of Atlanta’s 500 Most Powerful People. She is on the Board of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; the Board of Directors of The Women’s Entrepreneur’s Initiative (WEI) sponsored by the Economic Development arm of the City of Atlanta and also serves on Governor Kemp’s Women Lead Policy Council.