DC74 was pleased to host the Charlotte Regional Technology Executives Council (CRTEC) meeting in September. Paula Paul was the guest speaker, and her topic was “Beyond Brogramming: Adventures in Diversity, Tech, and Twitter”. A diverse audience of over 40 people were in attendance, and you can watch a 3 minute video summarizing the event here.
Paula is a technology executive, teacher, and software developer. She refers to herself as a FSEITW: Female Software Engineer In The Wild – a new acronym for most in the room! While currently consulting and teaching, she has previous corporate experience, most recently with Polypore and Scottish Re. Paula has an undergraduate degree from Penn State, and a MBA from UNCC.
Paula explained that studies show products designed by non-diverse groups of people tend to be flawed. Cited examples included early designs for airbags, heart valves, and voice-recognition systems, which were geared towards the male. She challenged the audience by asking: “Are we abdicating technology and design decisions to a non-diverse group of people?” Silicon Valley has been challenged with this question as well, and companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, and Twitter reported their diversity data for 2014.
Grace Hopper, creator of the COBOL language and compiler, is one of Paula’s role models. Margaret Hamilton, former Director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, was cited as another great role model. The audience learned that the 6 primary programmers of ENIAC were women. Paula went on to say that diverse candidates often have non-traditional resumes, but they have a lot to offer. To view the Prezi that Paula used for her presentation click here.
The CRTEC event was well attended and had a high level of engagement. Paula feels that CRTEC is a great group of people and a diverse set of executives. Plus CRTEC grants scholarships for local deserving students to attend UNCC!
DC74 is proud to support CRTEC and their programs supporting the technology sector in the region. We agree with Paula on the value of the CRTEC organization and encourage interested parties to join.