[an error occurred while processing this directive]

About WITI
Young Women's Center
Research & Statistics
WITI Museum
Regional Chapters
Santa Clara

Empowering Women Through Technology
WITI Wire WITI Center WITI 4Hire WITI Wealth WITI Health WITI Magazines WITI Connections

Conferences | Archives | Channels for Change '95 | Keynotes

'95 Keynote Speakers

Gloria Steinem received an enthusiastic standing ovation before she started speaking - it was clear that her audience was impressed by her super intellect, her warmth and her life-long commitment to helping women. "Having been an admirer of Gloria Steinem for close to 30 years, I was overwhelmed by her spirituality and dedicated commitment to helping women move to a higher level of consciousness," said Carolyn Leighton, Founding Executive Director of WITI.

Other keynote speakers included Jackie Streeter, a senior vice president at Apple Computer, who generously stepped in to replace Dr. M.R.C. Greenwood (having been called to Washington at the last minute), and Susan Larson, vice president of Dell whose breakfast keynote included some very interesting statistics about women in technology.

Gloria Steinem

Special thanks to the Xerox Corporation for filming Steinem's keynote, Compaq for hosting the keynote luncheon and Silicon Graphics for hosting Steinem's visit.
"Consider a larger definition of technology that sees it as a continuum and understands that the mentality that created the digging stick, the underground oven, dams, huts and so on, is the same mentality that creates computers and space travel." -- Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem held her audience spellbound as she spoke about her trip to Africa earlier in the month of June. Living amongst the Bush people for two weeks, and experiencing the sophisticated use of natural processes, made Steinem realize that women have always been the leaders in technology. Steinem stated "For 95 percent of human history on this earth, women were the people who developed the ways in which nature was dealt with."

Steinem urged everyone to look at the work we are doing in technology within the context of how (and if) it will positively affect society and the world. "Look at the reality of the past and realize that technology is morally neutral, it depends on who controls it, who invented it, who profits from it and how it is used."

Prior to implementing any changes, she challenged the audience to seek a new definition. "What we need to do is, in addition to knocking on the doors, making clear that we (women) fit the current definitions, that we can integrate, be liked, play the same game, compete, excel and do all of this .... we need to change the definitions of the game because technology has been defined in a way that keeps women of all races out of it."

"By redefining the definition of technology and choosing the means that best reflect the ends we want, we have a chance to multiply the change".

In closing, Steinem stated, "The flap of a butterfly wing here can change the weather a thousand miles away, and it seems to me that the women in the room - with the support of the men in this room - make one hell of a butterfly."

Following her speech, Steinem invited the conference attendees to ask questions, and share comments and suggestions. It was an open forum for all to enjoy. Several attendees shared the affect Steinem had upon their lives, others asked questions about feminism while some attendees commented on their personal experiences.

Jackie Streeter

Jackie Streeter, a senior vice president at Apple Computer, shared her perspective on balancing a career and managing a home life. With more and more companies offering alternative work programs, such as flex time, job sharing and telecommuting, Jackie stated women have an opportunity to pursue careers which they previously may not have been able to explore.

The following excerpt from Streeter's speech emulates the philosophy behind Channels for Change.

"And this brings me to the centerpiece of my presentations..what you can do to personally increase your sphere of influence and success....I have a few suggestions that you might find helpful:

1. Communications

2. Working Smart

3. Taking Risks

The first one has to do with communication skills. I believe it's necessary for everyone, not just women and minorities, to learn how to share ideas in a mutually-supportive style.

This is an era highly dependent on information exchange and it will become even more so. While technology rushes to support global thinking, it seems that the art of discussion on line becomes even more important. Yet problems will not be solved unless we learn to negotiate. In my view, the importance of negotiating can't be overemphasized. And along with that comes measuring effectiveness in terms of exposing other quality ideas, building relationships and sharing information.

Communicate your ideas with efficiency and with clarity. Help others to articulate their ideas by asking quality questions and you'll be amazed at the turn of events. Don't go after what you want with a do or die attitude tactics but remember the win/win.

After communications...what then? Well, most of you have heard the expression "working smart" but may not know what it really means. Over the years, I've observed capable people overlooked for recognition and promotion. They work hard...often harder than others...but they did not work smart. Working smart means being clear on the results you want and achieving them.

By now, I've learned to set my work priorities to support the goals and strategies my boss has set in place. Often in casual discussion ... at meetings or over lunch... I determine those goals and priorities are...and adjust my priorities to support them.

Another skill in this list of working smart... is to stay aware of how your current manager measures success. Sometimes I ask him directly...."How will you know when I've succeeded on this project?" Too often we expect a new manager's measurements to be the same as the manager before him. Staying aware of the terrain and being flexible is the smoothest way down a steep snowy ski slope and the fastest way up the ladder of recognition and success.

Next on the list ...the willingness to take risks. Chuck Berger, the CEO of Radius Technologies, says that anyone who never makes a mistake is a person whose work will stay at the mediocre level...not someone he would invest in.

Breaking boundaries is what it's about...going after the assignment that crosses divisional lines. That's what holds a potential for making a mistake, but also holds the potential for much greater exposure and positive recognition.

And last but not least... a few words about mentors. Most women were mentored into success by a man who valued their capabilities. However, the time has come for us women to become the mentors too.....to help others grow and find their way into the epicenter of their careers and realize their own definition of success.

Consider mentoring others, as a way of making you stronger, making you more visible, and being perceived as more knowledgeable. Mentoring can be a growing experience for both protege and mentor.

Another is team based collaborative style of working, that emphasizes communications skills. This further supports my premise about the value of communication.

A few years ago, there was a Harvard Business Review article on the methods of women as business leaders. The author commented that the first female executives adhered to many of the rules of conduct that spelled success for men. But what she called "the second wave" of women reaching top management, are getting there by "drawing on the skills and attitudes they developed from their shared experience as women."

As the collaborative styles of management come to be more widely seen as desirable, candidates for executive roles will come to be judged on their success in working with a collaborative style.

We all exist in an era of continually remarkable developments...and technology that allows us to make more choices in our lifestyles. As you return to your organizations, I encourage you to reflect on some of the business realities we see today:

- the need for collaboration

- for smart working

- and risk-taking

Ideally this will prompt you to think about the choices you have today and how technology can play a role both as a career choice and as a lifestyle choice.

Thank your for inviting me here today. It was a great pleasure to share my thoughts with you and experience the wonderful energy surrounding us here in this conference."

- Jackie Streeter
WITI Channels for Change Conference, 1995
"Technology and Women"

Copyright© 1989 - 2000 WITI
All rights reserved.