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Technology is in her DNA

We are sitting here together or virtually together 3 women in Telepresence Rooms a few thousand miles apart.  Here, for those of you that haven’t experienced a Telepresence room, is the next best thing to being in a meeting room with others through the “magic” of a giant screen which makes you feel like you are in the same physical space.  It’s also the way our SAP board members save carbon footprint and can meet with one another and even sit at the same virtual round table.

The we is Marge Breya, Executive Vice President & General Manager of Solutions, SAP and Moya Watson, an SAP Technology Evangelist and Online Community Strategist in the SAP BST Innovation Center (The Business Solutions & Technology Innovation Center), which takes a more grass-roots approach to innovation and where ideas with community support are considered for prototyping.

I begin our chat by pointing out how fitting that we are sitting in a telepresence room from the perspective of the technology we are using and also because we are improvising “grass roots style” capturing some of this conversation on video.  I personally am excited to be doing this because, way back in 1964, as a young child in the New York’s World fair I experimented with using what I believe was something like a picture phone and I am sure it was there that my love affair with technology and especially with communication technology began. (there is an audible gasp from Marge)

I think this might be a very good segue to something fascinating I had heard about Marge and her Grandfather who invented the very same Picture Phone I had seen in my childhood as I glimpsed the future of telecommunication.

Video One: Introduction

Video One: Introduction  Intro to Ada Lovelace Day – Marge and Moya talking about how they got into technology

Video 2: Marge Breya’s High School Math Experiences 

Breya spoke very candidly about her own academic background and delighted us with how she was one of a very small handful of young women studying in an “all boys school”.

Video 2: Marge Breya’s High School Math Experiences

Video 3: Women in Tech Events

Last fall I heard murmurs of admiration when Marge Breya stepped on to the SAP TechEd 2009 Vienna Keynote stage and invited another woman executive Nayaki Nayyar, enterprise architect of Valero Energy Corporation, a $120bn+ refining company to join her. Nayaki explained that their IT costs were 10 times less than the industry standard, thanks to their approach to reusable information services and self-service access to information..  I think we cannot under-estimate the material impact of seeing such female role models on the stage.

Video 3: Marge and Moya discuss the presence of women in Tech events

Video 4: Role Models

Video 4: Role Models Marge Breya describes Role Models – one heroine and one hero

When asked of her own role models Marge speaks of Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi , chairperson and CEO of Pepsico who, in Marge’s words, is “Making it completely normal that we have really passionate human beings who are very smart of any gender leading a company”.  Also in this clip: A quick reference to Marge’s new Ipad and hints of things to come

Video 5: My Grandfather, My Inspiration

When Penny Lockwood, an assistant professor of psychology at the
University of Toronto ran two studies on how students respond to role models she found that women need to see female role models more than men need to see male role models.

“Outstanding women can function as inspirational examples of success, illustrating the kinds of achievements that are possible for women around them. They demonstrate that it is possible to overcome traditional gender barriers, indicating to other women that high levels of success are indeed attainable”, Lockwood concluded. 

Marge describes the people who she was exposed to in her academic career: father, grandfather, advisors, professors and described how she never felt she was a “corner case”.  I loved how she quoted her grandfather, the inventor of the first picture phone: “He didn’t call me Marge, he called me Genius”.  With such positive nurturing and self-image anything is possible.

Video 5: My Grandfather, My Inspiration

To be continued…. 

In the next blog in this series I’ll share an interview with Anne Hardy, who external to her day job at SAP makes it her business to empower young teenage women so that they also feel: any is possible as they “Dare 2B Digital”.

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3 Comments

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  1. Cory Coley-Christakos
    Hi Marilyn,

    I enjoyed all this rich video coverage, especially the idea of video of a video conference.  What a great way to get to know one of our outstanding executives.

    Thanks for the Canadian shout-out as well 🙂

    Now get some sleep!
    Cory

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  2. Moya Watson
    marilyn,
    “With such positive nurturing and self-image anything is possible” — great message that shines through all your work.  what an honor to get to participate in this series and to get to work with you; i hold it like a treasure.
    (0) 

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