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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Women in tech: Meet the trailblazers of STEM equality

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals are drivers of innovation,creativity and invention. STEM disciplines are significant drivers of economies worldwide, and STEM careers are rewarding and fulfilling. The promise of STEM is therefore important for economies and individuals; however, in most countries around the world, we do not have STEM professionals that reflect the gender makeup of our population.

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, I share more information on the issue and potential solutions. I also profile women technology trailblazers who have made significant contributions to STEM and our global society.

There are over 316 million people in the U.S.; 49.2 percent male and 50.8 percent female, according to the U.S. Census. While women currently hold more than 51.6 percent of all professional occupations in the U.S., only 26.7 percent are in computing-related occupations.

Companies with employees from diverse backgrounds tend to be more creative and profitable. A large body of evidence exists to substantiate this assertion. Diverse collaborative teams leverage a broader perspective of experiences and ideas. They create more innovative products and services that appeal to a wider, global audience.

Sadly, there are many factors that enable gender bias in STEM disciplines. Some include socialization for girls, subtle biases in school and at work, and how women approach the workplace. For example, women tend to downplay their skills and are sometimes challenged by salary discussions. A recent Yale University study found that men and women tend to subconsciously chose men over women with the same skills. In addition, when women are chosen, they are offered lowered salaries than the men.

There are many solutions to this complex issue, including educating the workforce on these subtle biases, developing and participating in pre-college outreach programs, providing mentoring, coaching and other support and having access to visible role models. For example, a few years ago a friend shared with me that his daughter did not believe successful women engineers exist. I invited her, her parents and several of my STEM girlfriends over for lunch. We spent the afternoon sharing, encouraging and inspiring. Years later, this young lady is still excited about that lunch and is planning to become a future engineer.

Here are five technology trailblazers who walk among us. They have made valuable contributions to our global society and provide inspiration for many. We honor them as innovative women who have changed the world.

  • Maria Azua, Ph.D.  is the Global Head of Infrastructure Engineering at Barclays. Prior to this role she held several technical leadership and executive positions at IBM. She is an author and inventor with 99 issued and pending patents. She is a member of the Women in Technology International (WITI) Hall of Fame.
  • Nancy Jackson, Ph.D.is the Manager, International Chemical Threat Reduction Department at Sandia National Laboratories, and currently on sabbatical at the United States Department of State. She works with scientists around the world to help volatile regions manage their chemical inventories and secure their chemicals. Dr. Jackson is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
  • Shawna Lemon, Ph.D. is a shareholder with Myers Bigel Sibley & Sajovec, P.A., a full-service intellectual property firm. She is a scientist and a patent attorney with a focus on biotechnology. Dr. Lemon has been included in The Best Lawyers in America® (2015) and Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite (2014).
  • Joan Mitchell, Ph.D. is a leading developer of image compression methods and co-inventor of jpeg. She is the co-editor of the jpeg standard, is co-author of the definitive jpeg textbook, and co-author of a book on mpeg. She has over 110 patents and dozens more pending. Dr. Mitchell is a retired IBM Fellow, a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
  • Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, Ph.D. is the Founder and CEO of Drawbridge, a startup company that provides technology-based marketing services for mobile devices. She was previously the Lead Scientist with AdMob, which has been acquired by Google. Dr. Sivaramakrishnan’s work is onboard New Horizons, NASA’s spacecraft heading towards Pluto and beyond.
I invite you to reach out to young ladies and encourage them to pursue STEM disciplines or to participate in mentoring and coaching programs. You may start with the IEEE Women in Engineering, the Society of Women Engineers or Women in Technology International.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 3/18/2015 to clarify the number of issued and pending patents by Maria Azua, Ph.D.


( This post was written as part of the Dell Insight Partners program, which provides news and analysis about the evolving world of tech. To learn more about tech news and analysis visit Tech Page One. Dell sponsored this article, but the opinions are my own and don’t necessarily represent Dell’s positions or strategies.)
 
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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cloud Acquisition Strategy, Customized to the Right Cloud Model

by
Melvin Greer
Managing Director, Greer Institute 





This year has brought big news, significant changes and increased awareness of the adoption of cloud computing in Government. In fact Cloud computing may be the biggest and most overhyped term in Government information technology today.   It is also the most discussed topic in agency strategy, cyber security forums and mission / program reviews.  While lots of conversation has been devoted to technology and the benefits that government customers can derive from Cloud, in the end the biggest challenge may be the acquisition of cloud services. Cloud computing presents a different set of acquisition challenges to the federal government and this shift requires a rethinking the agency acquisition process. Smart purchasing decisions require an understanding of security requirements, service models and service level agreements.

Clearly adherence to the Federal Risk Authorization and Risk Management  (FedRAMP) cloud security requirements are central to acquisition of cloud services. This includes issues like data location and jurisdiction, privacy, and eDiscovery, as they are very important in a service-based environment.

An enhanced view of cloud acquisition involves the mapping of the right acquisition strategy with the right cloud deployment model. The dominant cloud deployment model in Government is the hybrid cloud model. Given that agencies will not likely limit themselves to one cloud deployment but will rather incorporate different and overlapping cloud services the acquisition strategy for the hybrid model will need to provide the flexibility necessary to map to the varying deployment models.

By focusing on a customized acquisition strategy in contracting for cloud services, agencies can reduce the risk of vendor lock-in, improve portability, and encourage competition.  With these goals in mind, agencies will want to establish explicit Service Level Agreement (SLA) information for security, continuity of operations, and service quality and the impact on the cloud service provider of not meeting SLA metrics.

By developing a cloud acquisition strategy that comprehends security requirements, service models and service level agreement metrics, agencies can acquire the benefits of cloud adoption required to meet their mission needs.  Learn more about the acquisition of Cloud in the ViON eBook, “The Business of Cloud”

http://www.vion.com/
 


JOIN VION
on
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/Business-Cloud-8248605


( This content is being syndicated through multiple channels. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of GovCloud Network, GovCloud Network Partners or any other corporation or organization.)

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Women leading us to the cloud



 


March is Women’s History Month. As we celebrate women and their role in our history, our workplaces, and our homes, I thought it was important to bring to the forefront some of the strengths that might make them stand out as compelling agents of change in such a time as this in the IT industry.

Recent research reveals that while women account for about one-half of the labor force, their numbers for employment in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields continues to lag behind men. There is much speculation as to the possible reasons for this, and this is not the focus of this article. After spending many years as one of the only women in the room in meetings and conferences, I’m starting to notice more women leading initiatives, programs, and companies in cloud computing technology. This is particularly interesting in the government space, where a few of the notables include:
  • Karen Petraska, service executive for data centers, NASA: Petraska has pioneered the work that NASA has done to consolidate data centers and develop an enterprise service approach to cloud computing.
  • Maria Roat, chief technology officer, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT): As the former director of General Services Administration’s Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (GSA FedRAMP), Roat successfully led the transition of this program from Initial Operating Capability (IOC) to Full Operating Capability (FOC). In her new role, Roat will be leading the transformation to cloud at DOT.
  • Dawn Leaf, chief information officer at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL): When Leaf was at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the cloud computing program she led achieved international recognition. She is currently leading the DOL transformation efforts.

Women in leadership

As the cloud improves an organization’s technical agility, teams must respond with equal business agility to accomplish organizational and customer goals. Let’s take a look at some of the strengths that women bring to this time of transformative change and explore how we might continue to leverage these strengths to fuel innovation and breakthrough in our corporations.

Researchers contend that women leaders seek leadership styles that allow them to be supportive of others. Cooperation and collaboration is important to women. A conclusion might be drawn that women find it more important to create community in an organization. According to the “Toxic Versus Cooperative Behaviors at Work” study published by the International Journal of Leadership Studies (IJLS), organizations that are able to create collegial cultures where employees are part of a cohesive community are more resilient to external threats. These same companies are more agile and able to respond quickly to market threats and opportunities. The creation of this type of culture requires an egalitarian. Although not exclusively the domain of women, this leadership style may come more naturally to women.

One of the barriers for women in technology may well be that, in general, women are not perceived as being as innovative as men, according to a gender and leadership study published by IJLS. However, they are perceived as both consultative and inclusive. Whether driving a new initiative, or sponsoring organizational change, these traits are essential to the creating buy in.

The adoption of cloud computing in an organization often changes everything about a person’s role in the organization and the processes that they follow. Women who are leading these types of change efforts may be viewed as more compassionate and trustworthy actors who are trying to help. They may be more likely to ask questions, and to find answers that enable cooperation. Widely considered to be more relational than men, women may also provide an emotional cushion in those situations where change is charged with feelings of fear or resistance. According to a Gallop Organization study, employees are more likely to feel that they are part of the change if they are valued enough to be consulted and included. And who doesn’t appreciate the co-worker or leader who provides emotional support?


( This post was written as part of the Dell Insight Partners program, which provides news and analysis about the evolving world of tech. To learn more about tech news and analysis visit Tech Page One. Dell sponsored this article, but the opinions are my own and don’t necessarily represent Dell’s positions or strategies.)

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Cloud Musings
( Thank you. If you enjoyed this article, get free updates by email or RSS - © Copyright Kevin L. Jackson 2012)