Ada Lovelace Day: Meet Carol Bartz

When we first heard about Suw Charman-Anderson's initiative some months ago, Yahoo! Developer Network took the pledge to participate in Ada Lovelace day, "an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology." We just couldn't decide who we wanted to write about, so we posted three times today.

Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) was the daughter of Lord Byron, though her passions centered more on mathematics than poetry. She wrote the first computer program for programming pioneer Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine. He called her the Enchantress of Numbers. She's lent her name to a programming language, has appeared as character or muse in various fictional works, and remains a role model for many geek girls.

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Image credit: The Ada Picture Gallery

For this final Ada Lovelace Day post, Kirti Velankar, a senior software engineer, and infrastructure lead for Yahoo!'s Women In Tech group, chose to spotlight our new CEO, Carol Bartz, a woman at the forefront of technology leadership. (Robyn Tippins, YDN community manager)

Carol Bartz was one of only a handful of female computer science majors at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, when she graduated in the 1970s. Today, she's one of a handful of prominent women technology CEOs. For those of us working in the tech sector, Carol's ability to not only survive, but thrive, in this male-dominated industry is an inspiration.

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Photo credit: Yodel Anecdotal

Even better, we appreciate the work/life balance she's achieved. All parents struggle to find time for work and family obligations, and when we see anyone who's doing well we stop and take note. I know Carol would be the first to tell you that it's a constant struggle, and I admire and empathize with her ability to pull it all together. She once remarked that "you basically have to catch things before they hit the floor." Carol, I can relate to that!

And, just as important, I'm encouraged by seeing that while she has achieved so much, she still makes the time to mentor and encourage others. In fact, she recently dropped in unannounced on a Yahoo! Women In Tech K-12 outreach event. When asked what a CEO was, Carol pointed out that it meant she was the "big boss" and later told all of us that thirty 5th grade girls now want to be CEOs when they grow up.

I hesitated to write about our CEO, because I wasn't sure how people would react. However, I knew I had to write about someone who inspires me in my career and my personal life. Carol is forthright and plain-speaking. You know where you stand with her. She's fair and honest and I really look up to her. She inspires me to excel, on Ada Lovelace Day, and all the rest of the year.

Kirti Velankar
Senior Software Engineer
International Tiger Team