Debra Boelkes, President and CEO


Debra Boelkes has over 25 years of business development, sales, marketing and operations leadership experience in the male-dominated high tech industry. Most noted for establishing and building successful professional services and internet-based services organizations within Fortune 500 companies, Deb is a creative, enthusiastic and people-oriented driver of innovation with a passion for service excellence. 

Prior to founding Business Women Rising in 2009, Deb was Director of Worldwide Business Programs at QLogic Corporation, where, as a lead member of the IT steering committee and the Corporate Business Planning team, she was instrumental in driving the firm’s global operational effectiveness. While there, she was struck by the fact that no women reported directly to the CEO. This apparent "glass ceiling" served as the catalyst for her pursuit of another passion, the advancement of women leaders in global corporations.
During her nine years at Arrow Electronics, Deb directed the roll-out of a supply chain collaboration Software as a Service (SaaS) offering, turned-around Arrow’s Component Information Service line of business, and served on the Global Internet Strategy team. As Advisor to the Chief Compliance officer, she defined and implemented corporate strategy for customer-facing initiatives and managed global-scale, cross-functional programs. An engaging public speaker, Deb traveled extensively across North America, addressing C-level audiences on issues impacting global high tech manufacturers.

Prior to that, as Director of Consulting Services at Fujitsu, Deb launched and managed the most profitable professional services organization within the Business Communications Systems division. Earlier in her career, at IBM she created the IBM PredicTel Call Center System, established and managed a professional services business unit, and was instrumental in the creation of IBM’s Continuous Speech Server Series and CallPath for the RISC System/6000.

Deb has been involved in the computer industry since her early college days as a Math / Computer Science major at UCLA. She subsequently earned her BS degree in Business Administration and her MBA in Management Information Systems from the University of Rhode Island, where she graduated top in her class.



Photography by John David Photography