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June/July 2011



Diversity/Careers June/July 2011 Issue




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Anita Borg Institute celebrates 2011 Women of Vision

"The winners made significant contributions to technology, and their work has broad impact on the larger world community," says ABI CEO and president Dr Telle Whitney


The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI) held its sixth annual Anita Borg Women of Vision (WoV) award ceremony in May. This year's Women of Vision are Mary Lou Jepsen, CEO, Pixel Qi; Chieko Asakawa, IBM Research; Karen Panetta, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the simulation research laboratory at Tufts University. The event featured keynote speaker Anousheh Ansari, the first female private space explorer and first "space ambassador."

The Women of Vision awards honor women who are making significant contributions to technology in three categories: innovation, leadership and social impact. The winners were selected from a field of highly qualified women tech pros in industry, academia, nonprofits and government.

Candidates for the awards are considered based on their records of consistent, significant contributions to technology invention and application; effecting positive changes in the ways in which technology impacts society; and demonstrated leadership in the technology industry that extends beyond their place of work.

"The 2011 Women of Vision Award Winners have not only made significant contributions to technology but their work has broad impact on the larger world community," says ABI CEO and president Dr Telle Whitney. "The three categories of innovation, leadership and social impact represent the characteristics of a woman of vision, whose work has broad impact on the way in which we think of technology."



Mary Lou Jepsen: innovation
Mary Lou Jepsen was honored for her technical successes in innovative design of computer displays over several iterations, most recently as CEO of Pixel Qi. She led the One Laptop Per Child project (OLPC, one.laptop.org), which works to make digital technology accessible to children around the world, and to help them learn to use modern digital tools collaboratively.

Chieko Asakawa: leadership
Chieko Asakawa was the winner in the leadership category. She was recognized for contributions in the field of accessibility. Her work at IBM has led to breakthrough technologies, including Japan's first computer network-based Braille library system and the IBM Home Page Reader, which lets the visually impaired easily surf websites. Another innovation, aDesigner, is used by Web designers worldwide to build pages accessible to people with poor sight. aDesigner has been donated to the Eclipse Foundation, an open-source community. Asakawa was named an IBM Fellow in 2009.

Karen Panetta: social impact
Karen Panetta received the Women of Vision award for social impact. She was chosen not only for her contributions to academia and industry, but also as a leading U.S. expert on successful low-cost ways to bring engineering and science to kids, parents, educators and the general public. Her international Nerd Girls program inspires young women to consider the STEM disciplines, showing them how engineers and scientists work for the benefit of humanity.

IBM wins top company award
The Women of Vision Awards dinner featured the first Anita Borg Top Company for Technical Women workshop and award. IBM won the award, which was accepted by Brenda L. Dietrich, IBM Fellow and VP of IBM Research.

Ron Glover, VP for diversity and workforce programs at IBM, was the keynote workshop speaker. He emphasized the business case for addressing the issue of diversity in technical roles. Companies can no longer compete globally without a focus on this issue, he noted.

The workshop also featured speakers from Cisco, Google, Symantec, Intel, Intuit, CA Technologies, Microsoft Research and SAP. The affair was supported by Lockheed Martin, Huawei, NetApp, Cisco, IBM, Symantec, Adobe, Career Action Center and Thomson Reuters. For more about WoV visit www.anitaborg.org.

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