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Anita Borg Institute presents Women of Vision awards

The event also honored the Top Company for Women in Computing

The Anita Borg Institute (ABI, www.anitaborg.org) honored three women technologists as Women of Vision at its ABIE Awards for Excellence event in May.

The Women of Vision awards banquet in Palo Alto, CA brought together 920 technology executives, entrepreneurs and students in computing, along with ABI board members, key corporate sponsors and media. They came to celebrate the initiative, innovation and leadership of women in technology.

Individual award winners were Dr Tal Rabin, head of the cryptography research group at IBM’s TJ Watson Research Center (Ossining, NY), who received the innovation award; Dr Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College (HMC, Claremont, CA), who received the leadership award; and Kathrin Winkler, chief sustainability office and senior vice president of EMC Corporation (Hopkinton, MA), who received the social impact award.

The evening’s keynote was delivered by Hilary Mason, data scientist in residence at Accel Partners. She spoke about her early interest in data science and the importance of remaining open minded, curious and persistent to fuel innovation in technology. Penny Herscher, president and CEO of FirstRain, served as emcee for the night’s festivities. Denise Saiki, chief information officer and vice president of enterprise business services at Lockheed Martin, the event’s dinner host, spoke about the need for diversity in the technology industry and programs like ABI’s that encourage women in the field.

Corporate recognition
Bank of America was named the Top Company for Women in Computing. The bank has the highest percentage of women among its technical experts of any company ever considered by ABI for a Top Company award. In addition, Bank of America successfully retains the vast majority of its female technologists, with only 3 percent voluntary turnover annually.

Telle Whitney, president and CEO of ABI, saluted Bank of America’s achievements. “We are delighted to honor Bank of America for setting a new bar and breaking previous records, and for working diligently to ensure greater diversity throughout their organization,” said Whitney. “They have designed and executed successful programs and initiatives to support real diversity, and are a model organization that others can turn to for knowledge and inspiration.”

Women of Vision shine
Dr Rabin’s research focuses on cryptography, specifically secure multi-party computation, threshold cryptography and proactive security. She got her PhD in computer science from the Hebrew University (Israel) in 1994, and was an NSF postdoc Fellow at MIT between 1994 and 1996. Following her postdoc, she joined the cryptography group at IBM Research in 1996 and started managing it in 1997.

She has served as the program and general chair for leading cryptography conferences and is an editor of the Journal of Cryptology, the flagship publication of the International Association for Cryptologic Research. She is a member of the executive board of ACM SIGACT, ACM’s computational research special interest group. She also serves as a council member of the Computing Community Consortium, and is on the membership committee of the Association of Women in Mathematics. She initiated and still organizes the Women in Theory Workshop, a biennial event for graduate students in theory of computer science.

Dr Klawe is the first woman to lead HMC since its founding in 1955. At HMC, she launched an innovative program that has significantly increased the number of women students pursuing CS degrees.

Prior to joining HMC, she served as dean of engineering and professor of computer science at Princeton University (NJ), where she led the School of Engineering and Applied Science through a strategic planning exercise.

Klawe joined Princeton from the University of British Columbia, where she served as dean of science from 1998 to 2002, vice president of student and academic services from 1995 to 1998 and head of the department of computer science from 1988 to 1995. Prior to UBC, Klawe spent eight years with IBM Research in California, and two years at the University of Toronto. She received her PhD and BS in mathematics from the University of Alberta.

Klawe has made significant research contributions in several areas of mathematics and computer science. She sits on the boards of several companies and nonprofits, and has devoted particular attention in recent years to improving K-12 science and mathematics education.

Kathrin Winkler provides the vision, strategy and leadership for EMC’s global sustainability initiatives. She chairs and collaborates with a virtual cross-functional team composed of EMC’s Green Business leadership. The team aims to integrate sustainability principles into the corporate culture, the business strategy, and day-to-day operations of EMC.

Winkler founded EMC’s Engineering Green Team and its Design for Environment program. Prior to joining EMC in 2003, Winkler held senior positions at Renaissance Worldwide and Digital Equipment Corporation.

Winkler is a director of the EcoLogic Development Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to community-based conservation in Central America. She is also a director of the Green Grid, a nonprofit open industry consortium dedicated to resource efficiency in business computing.

Corporate support
Sponsors for this year’s banquet included Lockheed Martin, NetApp, Cisco, HP, Neustar, Symantec, Thomson Reuters, Bank of America, ebay, LinkedIn, Rackspace and Walmart Labs.

The Anita Borg Institute was born in 1987, when computer scientist Anita Borg started a digital community for women in computing. Today, ABI works with women technologists in more than fifty countries, and partners with leading academic institutions and Fortune 500 companies. It stages the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, attended by several thousand women CS professionals and students and their corporate supporters.


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