When I first became aware of Ada Lovelace Day and decided to join the effort to highlight “women in technology,” I realized it was not going to be easy to select just one or two. Over the course of my career as a writer (technical writer, that is), translator, and editor, I’ve had the pleasure of working with dozens of talented women who excel in the fields of technology and science. In my personal life, as well, I’ve been surrounded by many technology-focused women: for example, I regularly ride with a motorcycle group that includes Emily Stemmerich, a UNIX guru, and I am long-time friends with Laurie Johnston, who studied artificial intelligence at UC Irvine and went on to work on the NASA space program in her career at Boeing (formerly McDonnel-Douglas).
But while I could write pages and pages about all of the women who have crossed my path over the years, I want to highlight two in particular here — one I’ve known all of her life: my younger sister Chris Bergen, and one I met and worked with during my time here at SAP: Margret Klein-Magar. One began her studies and career on a non-technical path, then found herself working in the field of technology overseas. The other started with a more technical education, and with drive and accomplishment has achieved a role in upper level management at our global software company.
My sister Chris graduated with a degree in women’s studies from the University of Virginia. While at the university, she worked part-time in the library helping support the PCs. That little sidebar wound up leading to her current career path: Today, Chris is the Information Services Officer at the American Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia, part of a group of foreign service specialists who support over 250 Embassies and Consulates overseas. Chris manages a team of systems administrators who maintain the unclassified network inside the Embassy. Belgrade has approximately 250 users, and Chris and her team strive to ensure that the systems are running as well as possible, with “systems” often meaning older technology (“ I just got permission yesterday to roll out IE7 to everyone at the Embassy… go figure!”). Chris is responsible for keeping the communications between the Embassy and the Department of State back in Washington, DC constant and always up, a job that can be intimidating, let alone challenging.
Margret Klein-Magar began her trip down the technology path with a degree in Information Science from the University of Saarbrücken, Germany. Her career path out of college started in documentation development at SAP, where she developed all information material for the R/3 Data Dictionary and remodeled the user interface of the Data Dictionary from a software-ergonomics standpoint.
From there, with a few stops in between, Margret moved into Product Management, starting as product manager and rollout manager for “EnjoySAP” in 1998, then in 2000 joining the product management team for SAP NetWeaver, in the role of Vice President of “PM Integration Platform” and Product Management Operations. In 2007, still in the NetWeaver space, Margret became Vice President of Knowledge Management & Enablement, leading an international organization of more than 70 people in Germany, India, Bulgaria, and Israel.
Margret’s role changed again in 2008, when she took on her current position as Vice President of Transformation and Change Management in the SAP board area of Products & Solutions. In this role, Margret supports and facilitates the transformation of the Business Solutions & Technology Group from a change management perspective, helping project leads identify and address key barriers and success factors, as well as and understand challenges to change. Margret is simultaneously the Chairwoman of the spokespersons’ committee of senior managers of SAP AG in Germany. And in her little spare time, this dynamic woman rides a BMW F650 (here is a photo from a day ride she and I took to the Voghes region in France several years ago).
I stand in awe at the accomplishments of both my sibling and my colleague, both women of technology, and I am proud to be able to call both of them friends.