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Anita Borg Institute Honors Three Top Women in Technology at Women of Vision Awards Banquet with Keynote Speaker Arianna Huffington


The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI) hosted its fifth annual Women of Vision Awards banquet on May 12th to honor three leaders in technology. The evening highlighted the winners’ accomplishments and contributions in three areas: Innovation, Leadership and Social Impact.

Keynote speaker Arianna Huffington kicked off the evening with an address titled, “How to Be Fearless in Uncertain Times.” Huffington discussed how the importance of facing our fears and taking risks is more critical than ever when our instincts tell us to play it safe. By doing so, we can turn difficult times into an opportunity for growth: “What stops women is the fear of failure yet, the most successful men and women’s lives involve failures,” she said. “The most significant thing is moving from despair to hope through action, and doing it all with more grace and more balance and more joy than others have done before us.”

Leadership award winner Kristina Johnson was recognized for her leadership in academia and industry and her appointment as the Under Secretary of Energy with the Obama administration. “I could not refuse the opportunity to apply my engineering skills in service to others,” she said in her speech. Responsible for a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 83 percent by 2050, Johnson continued that, “Change is a challenge – together we can make a big difference. I am optimistic because we, as a nation, have always risen to the challenge and provided global leadership in the darkest of times.”

Kathleen McKeown, who received the innovation award, commented that, “Not taking ‘no’ as an answer has been part of my life from the beginning. I heard ‘no’ many times but saw that it didn’t always have to happen that way. It was good training for the realities of research.” McKeown acknowledged that she’s aware she serves as a role model now for young women studying computer science, saying that “I want them to see through my example that it is possible to be a woman and succeed in academics.” McKeown is a Henry and Gertrude Rothschild Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University.

Social Impact award winner Lila Ibrahim, spoke about the need to persevere when “pioneering (to change the world) can be lonely and frustrating.” She continued that, “It’s not just about developing the greatest technology. It’s about getting the right technology into the right hands with the right training. That’s the best guarantee that you can make a difference. But when you’re truly passionate about something and really care, wonderful things can be accomplished.” Ibrahim is General Manager of the Emerging Markets Platform Group at Intel Corporation.

The evening concluded with the introduction of the Anita Borg Top Company for Technical Women Award, a new award established to recognize those organizations who have demonstrated measurable results in the recruitment, retention and advancement of technical women at all levels. See full press release at

The 700 attendees included industry and academic professionals, college and high school women. More than 150 students attended the event, their attendance sponsored by technology companies and local universities.

The 2010 Women of Vision Awards was supported by dinner host Lockheed Martin. The Gold Sponsor was Intel. Silver sponsors were Cisco, Google, NetApp, and Symantec. Bronze Sponsors were Adobe, Career Action Center, SAP, StraTerra Partners and Thomson Reuters. The growth of this event over last year marks an increase in both financial support and recognition of the importance of the Anita Borg Institute’s mission.

About the Women of Vision Award Winners

Kristina M. Johnson Under Secretary for Energy, Department of Energy

Kristina M. Johnson is the Women of Vision Award winner in the Leadership category. Kristina Johnson was the first woman to receive the Fritz Medal, considered the highest award in the engineering profession. As Under Secretary of Energy, Kristina Johnson is responsible for developing and coordinating a strategic portfolio approach across energy technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and grow the clean energy economy. Before serving as Provost of Johns Hopkins University, Kristina Johnson was Dean of Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering where she significantly expanded the School including overseeing the planning, funding and construction of the 322,000-square-foot Fitzpatrick Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine and Applied Sciences. Kristina Johnson’s research has resulted in 129 US and International Patents and 140 refereed papers.

Kathleen R. McKeown, Henry and Gertrude Rothschild Professor of Computer Science, Columbia University

Kathleen R. McKeown is the Women of Vision Award winner in the Innovation category. Kathleen McKeown has made seminal contributions to the natural language processing (NLP) area, also called Computational Linguistics (CL), within the general areas of artificial intelligence, information extraction, and human machine interaction. More specifically, McKeown has made pioneering contributions to natural language generation; this field of research focuses on enabling computers to effectively utilize natural language.

Lila Ibrahim, General Manager, Emerging Markets Platform Group, Intel Corporation

Lila Ibrahim is the Women of Vision Award winner in the Social Impact category. Ibrahim is responsible for leading the research, definition, development, and marketing of technologies that are specifically designed for education worldwide. The Emerging Markets Platform Group operates as a social enterprise responsible for pioneering new markets and business models while having a positive impact on sustainable economic development. Previously, she served as Chief of Staff to Intel Chairman Craig Barrett where she led the Digital Village Initiative to deliver technology projects which advanced Education, Health, and e-Governance from the Amazon to Africa. Lila Ibrahim also established two computer facilities at the Druze Orphanage in Abey, Lebanon.

About the Women of Vision Awards

The three Women of Vision award winners were selected from a field of more than 65 nominees, all of whom are engaged in technology professions in industry, academia, NGOs or government chosen by a selection committee of industry and academic leaders. Videos about the three winners are posted on the ABIWT channel on YouTube.

About the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI)

The Anita Borg Institute provides resources and programs to help industry, academia, and government recruit, retain, and develop women leaders in high-tech fields, resulting in higher levels of technological innovation. ABI programs serve high-tech women by creating a community and providing tools to help them develop their careers. ABI is a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 charitable organization. ABI Partners include: Google, Microsoft, HP, Cisco, First Republic Bank, IBM, Intel, National Science Foundation, NetApp, SAP, Sun Microsystems, Symantec, Lockheed Martin, Thomson Reuters, CA, Intuit, Wilson Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, Yahoo, Amazon, Facebook, and Raytheon. For more information, visit

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:

Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology
Jerri Barrett, 650-857-6095

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