Natalia Silvestre Long: Mentoring Help from the Federal Level

By accepting the Bergeron Women in Technology Leadership Scholarship, Natalia Silvestre Long received help with her tuition — and with a critical relationship.

The scholarship paired Long with a female mentor in the tech sector: Anne DeBeer, senior vice president and chief technology officer for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

“The Bergeron Scholarship made my education at GSU’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business possible,” said Long, a native of Sao Paolo, Brazil who majored in computer information systems and finance.

“As I was learning at Georgia State in the classroom, Anne was teaching me from her own experiences,” said Long, who met with DeBeer twice a month. “It was an invaluable experience for me, both professionally and personally.”

Long, who came to the United States originally to work as an au pair, found a wealth of wisdom in her friendship with DeBeer, who holds a doctorate in public administration and has been with the Fed since 1974.

DeBeer has responsibility for cash, law enforcement and corporate automation services in the Southeast.

“Anne showed me how to thrive in a male-dominated industry,” Long said. “She helped me align my career goals with my personal goals. She helped me identify and leverage my strengths. Thanks to her, I opened my eyes to goals I would have never otherwise looked at.”

The Bergeron Scholarship is funded through Sandra and Douglas G. Bergeron’s $1 million endowment made to the university’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business and administered through the Georgia State University Foundation.

Sandra Bergeron is a GSU graduate and among the most highly regarded female technology leaders in Silicon Valley. She is a venture partner with Trident Capital, board chairman of TraceSecurity Inc., and board member of Qualys Inc. and TriCipher Inc. Doug Bergeron is CEO of VeriFone Systems, Inc. the world’s largest provider of electronic payments systems.

The Bergeron Scholarship is the largest dollar award available to students in the Robinson College.

“I have been encouraged by the progress and inspired by the aptitude of these young women,” Sandra Bergeron said when the scholarships to Long and five others were announced.

The scholarship “helped me fulfill my potential as a leader in my field,” said Long, who graduated in 2011 and now works for Deloitte. “I am honored to have been a Bergeron scholar.”

—By Michelle Hiskey; Contact Kim Cretors, (404) 413-3424