Ada Lovelace Day (better late than never!)

Posted by Gina Rosenthal in women in tech | Tagged | 6 Comments

Yesterday was Ada Lovelace Day. I was supposed to write a blog post about a woman in technology that I admire. But schoolwork and end of the quarter work overwhelmed me, and I am a day late with this post.

I decided to write about one woman I’ve worked with and one of EMC’s Distinguished Engineers.

I worked with Janice LeBlanc at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. When I worked with her, Janice knew more about Sendmail than anyone I have ever met. She even caught errors in the O’Reilly Sendmail books. She was very methodical about finding small details, and following them back up to till she found the problem being presented to the user. I really learned alot from her, and I think how I troubleshoot now is probably drawn from things I learned from her.

Patricia Florissi is the one of the senior technical women at EMC. She holds a PhD in computer science, and she is EMC’s only female Distinguished Engineer. I’ve never heard her present, but anyone who ever has talks about the amazing way she presents complex technical information so that everyone can understand it. I’ve had the chance to interact with her a few times. Dr Florissi is smart and very technical but she is also very approachable and encouraging.

I wish I would have had the time before this post to ask her how she got to the place she is now, and what sort of advice she’d give women just starting out in their career. Maybe that will be a follow-up post.

So even though Ada Lovelace Day has passed us by, and especially if you are a technical woman, share with others the technical women who inspire you. We do need that encouragement. It is hard when you are the only woman in your class, the only woman in the lab, the only woman in the department. Maybe the more we can realize that there are others out there just like us, the easier it will be to believe that we really are doing the jobs we were born to do.

6 Responses to Ada Lovelace Day (better late than never!)

  1. Candi Imming says:

    Great post, Gina and you are right about Patricia Florissi. She has a wonderful spirit and always offers an encouraging word of support. She has provided a strong technical influence on software development and continues to do so. I think she exemplifies some of the best traits of a leader.

  2. brianna says:

    here is that comic I was telling you about:

  3. Rob Hewett says:

    Nice post, Gina,
    In addition to her technical savvy, Janice is known to
    co-workers here at SAO as “J-Nice” for self-documenting reasons.

    Speaking of women, my daughters and I enjoyed last night’s PBS airing
    of Not For Ourselves Alone


  4. gminks says:

    Hi Rob!!! That looks like a great link, thanks!

  5. Excellent choice of Patricia! And she’s funny from a podium, too. An unexpected perk!

    I’d put Gina Minks in this inspirational technical woman category!

    Because …

    “It is hard when you are the only woman in your class, the only woman in the lab, the only woman in the department. ”

    You are a role model for your technical abilities and your other “stand-out” attributes!

    Cheers! Polly

  6. gminks says:

    Aww Polly, thanks!

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