Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ada Lovelace and Other Women in Technology

CHICKS ROCK! welcomes back Kelly this week:

Kelly lives in Brooklyn with her boyfriend, baby Jack and their dog, Pearl. Between feeding Jack and walking the dog, she is working with members of her community to start a food co-op.



Last month, I pledged to write something in honor of Ada Lovelace Day. Ada Lovelace wrote the first program for the precursor to the modern day computer. In response to the need for female role models in the traditionally male fields of science and technology, a movement started to spread her story. In her honor, I decided to write about women who shaped my own career in technology.

Teresa M. gave me a job as a summer intern in an IT department. After my second day, she told me I should consider a degree in Computer Science. I had one year left in college and didn't want to start a new major, but she gave me confidence and a connection that turned into a Help Desk job after graduation. Everybody starts somewhere!

Linda O. was a co-worker who in addition to being a whiz-bang package builder (someone good at installing software across many PCs at once), was also a very wise woman. I often strolled over for dinner in her office and she taught me how to survive in an environment that wasn't exactly hostile to women, but wasn't geared to assist them either.

Elysia B. hired me to be a data analyst when I thought of myself as a computer trainer. She had to cajole me into taking on the new role, but I’m glad she did. I became the uber-Excel-geek, setting up spreadsheets for others in the IT department, the lawyers for whom we worked, and even some fantasy football leagues.

Elysia also created a sense of community within our department. Our gatherings were legendary and special occasions came with beautifully wrapped gifts. Elysia could analyze information and make business decisions with the best of them, but I felt it was her strength as a woman that bonded the group and gave us a sense of purpose larger than "just" technology.

I've been honored to work with many talented women in the IT field – on the help desk, coding apps, and managing logistics. There is a human side to technology, and I have found that it’s often in the hands of women to make sure it’s not forgotten.

1 comment:

Elysia said...

Thank you Kelly...for real. But everyone, I must tell you that Kelly has somehow forgotten (blocked out) what her job actually was. While yes, she was an uber-Excel geek, she neglects to mention the function to which she applied those skills. Kelly managed a capital technology budget of $2.5 Million dollars, and Operating expenses of at least $3.5 Million. She not only managed 100% of technology spending and related invoicing...she *analyzed* all that data, and used what she found to help save the firm millions of dollars in telecommunications expenses over a period of five years. So yea, while I obviously appreciated the fantasy football spreadsheets, there was a bit more to it than that. KJ is truly...a chick that rocks.

~Elysia







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