“Why I’m Glad I Attended the Women of Vision Awards”

The following short article was published in the February 2010 Anita Borg Institute “Call for Action” email newsletter.  The 2010 Women of Vision Awards will be:

May 12, 2009- 6:00 – 9:30pm
Mission City Ballroom – adjacent to the Santa Clara Convention Center
5001 Great America Parkway
Santa Clara, CA  95054

Why I’m Glad I Attended the Women of Vision Awards
by Katy Dickinson

The Anita Borg Institute’s Women of Vision Awards Banquet is a moving and thought-provoking annual event.

The WOV night itself is fun: meeting new women and getting to know others better.  The long-term benefit for me comes from learning about the honorees and hearing their acceptance speeches.  I go to the WOV for mental and spiritual refreshment. In some cases, I know the honored women personally but most are new to me.  For months and even years after, I find myself thinking about what the Women of Vision have said.  I sometimes go to YouTube and listen to the speeches again to refresh my memory.

I have referred dozens of young women to the 2008 WOV talk by Helen Greiner.  Any girl geek who feels too alone in her love of technology will be encouraged by the amazing founder of iRobot saying that when she was young “not one person told me I should be an Engineer” and “we need diversity of perspectives … more women’s life experiences influencing our directions and designs”.

The speech content and advice from the WOV is often pithy and practical and is always presented in the context of an inspiring and successful life, so it sticks in my memory.   Some WOV gems:

In 2007, Deborah Estrin passed on three lessons: “Listen to your parents. Seek inspiration from your children. And, don’t forget to go on vacation.”

Susan Landau in 2008 said: “Sometimes you gotta not be nice.”

Leah Jamieson in 2007 advised: “Think about how the components of balance and passion can play out in what you are doing.”

Duy-Loan Le said in 2007: “Don’t take things personal. Have a sense of humor. Give people a graceful way to exit when they make a mistake.”

Finally, in 2009, Yuqing Gao spoke of her two guiding principals of Focus and Risk-taking: “without the sense of being challenged and the desire of conquering the challenges, there would be no path for progress and innovation.”

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