What I really learned in this conference is that they struggle like us, have the impostor syndrome like many of us, love to go dancing like many of us, they're just ahead.
It was inspiring listening to Fran Allen, IBM Fellow Emerita at the J. Watson Research Laboratories, the only woman that has received the ACM's Turing Award (2006), first woman named an IBM Fellow and the first woman president of IBM's Academy of Technology. She shared her big steps on her career and achievements, but she also shared her hopes for the future, which I quote:
- I'd like to see a new generation of women experience the excitement I feel for our field.
- I'd like to see women creating the workplace that meets their needs.
- I'd lie to see Computer Science become a core science of more interest to women (and others).
- We achieve Anita's (Anita Borg's) goal: 50-50 by 2020.
- Many Women Turing Award Winners.
Another treat for me, was listening to Mary Lou Jepsen, founding CTO of One Laptop per Child (OLPC), an organization whose mission is to deliver low-cost mesh-networked laptos en masse to children in developing countries. She created the machine many thought it was impossible and she shared with us the process in doing this. For this, she was named in 2008 one of the most influential people in the world by Time Magazine.
Mary Lou is such an energetic and inspiring person. She is currently leading her company Pixel Qi and her premise is that portables are all about the screen. And it was in screen innovations where she used her knowledge in Optics to design a cheap, yet reliable and innovative laptop.
These are just a couple of examples of the amazing women we met. I will continue with some of the discussions presented on panels such as: "The Imposter Panel" and "Women Wroking in International Development to Build a Better World". Follow-up posts coming up....