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Ode to Marilyn Pratt: Honoring the Advocate on Ada Lovelace Day

Of course I’ve known Marilyn Pratt, self-described in her Twitter bio as “SAP Community Advocate working to be a sustainable citizen of the world,” for many years, and yet we only just met this week. I’d never even so much as exchanged email with her until this year, but we’ve had a hearty online relationship. She’s been a big advocate for me – for my blog content (both personal and on the SAP Community Network) and on Twitter. If you’ve been active on the SAP Community Network she’s probably been an advocate for you too. She has been omnipresent and synonymous with online community at SAP, and so it was both stunning and unsurprising when I met her in person to find just how much more she is.  Did you know, for example, her first computer language was Assembler, or that she directed IT for a kibbutz? Have you heard about her husband and five children, who are obviously as dedicated to her as she is to them? Did you know she came to SAP, in a roundabout way, as an escape from a truly (literally) toxic situation?

The second I found out Marilyn was visiting Palo Alto from her hometown New Jersey during Ada Lovelace Day, my schedule turned upside-down. She arranged for me to participate in an awesome interview with Marge Breya. She set aside precious time to meet me — out of so many on her schedule — and, most profoundly, she let me show her my home.

I was honored to be able to drive down the road with her, introduce my family to her, take her to the top of my city San Francisco, dine with her, get a chance to sit and share with her, and follow her in her (tireless, and often sleepless) work dedicated to advocating for others — indeed, to “amplifying the voice of the disenfranchised.” She would find spotlighting herself the least worthy cause of all, and it was only under great collective pressure that she finally cracked and allowed me to allow her to — although she would not say so herself — let her tell it the best.

Ergo — in honor of Ada Lovelace Day 2010, I dedicate this to Marilyn Pratt, a true technology heroine who honors us all and makes advocating for the community her (dare I say our) core business. Without further ado: Marilyn Pratt


Bonus Video — Catch Marilyn as she visited Palo Alto this week to record and tell stories of other technical heroines at SAP:

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  • >>>you’ve been active on the SAP Community Network she’s probably been an advocate for you too.

    that is sooo true 🙂

    thanks Marilyn !! 🙂

    Michal Krawczyk

  • Moya, what a nice blog, and I couldn’t agree more on the impact Marilyn has had for the SAP Community, and its contributors from customers and partners!
  • Moya,
    Thanks for putting into words what many of us have experienced working with Marilyn. I have watched her apply her secret sauce of community evangelism, have learned from her the strong legacy of community building, and have learned the subtle art that must be balanced with the science of doing the work we love. I watched her patience in training others on these concepts. I am also celebrating Marilyn Pratt day (happy to say I am in a session with her most of the day!)
  • No praise can be enough when we talk/think about Marilyn. Personally, without Marilyn’s involvement – I would have never been an active(?) blogger on SDN.
  • Good job would be able to relate to it, only when you met Marilyn. She, kinda plays the role of an agony aunt and has loads of patience to listen to you for hours together.
  • Marilyn is a one-of-a-kind who really lives and breathe the love for people and the love for the sdn community. Exchanging ideas with her is always a warm welcome and embracing of enthusiasm. I wish her all the best and keep inspiring all of us!

    cheers Holger

  • thanks everyone — a beautiful celebration of marilyn.  and for every eight people who take the time to comment, there are probably eight thousand more who appreciate what is here but can’t always get to the time to say it.

    my deepest appreciation.