Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I never met Anita Borg while she was alive - but I serve on the board of the non-profit that bears her name and so I am reminded of her legacy frequently.
The Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology is about the impact of women on technology and the impact of technology on the world's women. It was originally set up by Anita to bring women together and advance them in technology and when she died it was renamed in her honor -- it's a testimony to Anita that the institute survived her. As happens with many non-profits, the future without the founder was unclear, and I was recruited right at that moment by two friends on the board. I watched as Anita's friends and admirers: professors, CTOs and VPs of engineering at the largest technology companies, came together to put a healthy funding model and growth strategy is place. ABI is now funded by world leaders like Google, IBM, HP, Intel, Microsoft and Cisco to name just a few.
Now, 5 years later, the institute serves thousands of women each year with conferences like the annual Grace Hopper Conference, the Systers online community and training programs like Tech Leaders.
Anita's direct impact is well documented - especially at the ABI site. I am celebrating her on Ada Lovelace day not only because of how she impacted women in technology during her life but also because she found a way to leave a long lasting impact on the world's technical women through her institute.