PALO ALTO, CA--(Marketwire - May 23, 2011) - The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI) hosted its sixth annual Anita Borg Institute Women of Vision Awards Banquet on May 19th to honor the inaugural Anita Borg Top Company for Technical Women Award winner, IBM, and the three Women of Vision Award winners, Chieko Asakawa, Mary Lou Jepsen and Karen Panetta, highlighting their accomplishments and contributions in three areas: Innovation, Leadership and Social Impact.

The Anita Borg Top Company for Technical Women Award was accepted by Brenda L. Dietrich, IBM Fellow and Vice President IBM Research. She highlighted diversity as part of IBM's success over its 100 year history. "One of the reasons that IBM has been able to reinvent itself and effect such change within business and society is its long-term view of leadership development and diversity. Reinvention requires new ideas, new insight, and diverse perspectives. Diversity accelerates innovation, and it is good for business," said Dietrich.

Social Impact award winner Karen Panetta also spoke about the need for diversity. "Diversity in our educational institutions and workplace is the right thing to do. For years people asked me, why should we care if women and underrepresented groups of individuals don't want to be in math, science or engineering careers?... The perspective individuals bring to design creates innovation and reliability." Panetta is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Director of the Simulation Research Laboratory at Tufts University.

Leadership award winner Chieko Asakawa was recognized for her leadership in the field of accessibility. Her speech about overcoming challenges inspired everyone in the audience. "The world is filled with challenges. We can't solve all of them, but we can make a difference. The world has so many people who lack certain abilities. We can't help all of them, but we should never give up working to empower people with technology, one by one, more and more. The accumulation of empowered people will strengthen our economies and advance our societies to the next level," she said as part of her acceptance speech. Chieko Asakawa is IBM Fellow and Chief Technology Officer of Accessibility Research and Technology, IBM Research.

Mary Lou Jepsen, CEO of Pixel Qi and co-founder of One Laptop per Child, who received the innovation award, spoke about the need for women to have the confidence to pursue their dreams. She encouraged the audience to embrace their passion, learn deeply with confidence and to never quit, work is hard so keep going. When she spoke about the challenge of creating display technology for the revolutionary One Laptop Per Child laptop, she said, "I didn't know it was impossible I suppose." The laptop she developed is now in the Museum of Modern Art and has been distributed to over 2.5 million children worldwide.

Keynote speaker Anousheh Ansari, First Female Private Space Explorer and First Space Ambassador, inspired the audience with her discussion of the importance of taking inspiration from everywhere and how you can turn dreams into reality with passion.

The 770 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 2011 Women of Vision Awards was supported by dinner host Lockheed Martin. The Gold Sponsors were Huawei and NetApp. Silver sponsors were Cisco, IBM, and Symantec. Bronze Sponsors were Adobe, Career Action Center, 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 Award Winners


IBM is the Anita Borg Top Company for Technical Women Award Winner. IBM exemplifies many of the acknowledged best practices in the creation of a diverse and vibrant technical workforce. These include having a strong pipeline of technical women from entry to executive level. Women have significant roles in the technical management, executive level and individual contributor career tracks, which lead to strong role models at the top and allows for the significant benefits of diversity in innovation at the highest level. IBM's mentoring culture is tightly integrated into its advancement requirements.

Chieko Asakawa, IBM Fellow and Chief Technology Officer of Accessibility Research and Technology, IBM Research

Chieko Asakawa is the Women of Vision Award winner in the Leadership category. She is recognized for her work as a leader in the field of accessibility. Her work at IBM has led to breakthrough technologies including Japan's first computer network based Braille library system and Home Page Reader which has enabled the visually impaired to easily surf websites. Another innovation, aDesigner, is used by Web designers today across the globe to help them build pages that are accessible to those with poor sight. aDesigner has been donated to the Eclipse Foundation, an open source community. Chieko Asakawa was named an IBM Fellow in 2009.

Mary Lou Jepsen, CEO of Pixel Qi

Mary Lou Jepsen is the Women of Vision Award winner in the Innovation category. She is honored for her technical successes in innovative design of computer displays over several iterations including most recently as CEO of Pixel Qi, her leadership of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project to accomplish its ambitious goals, and in the impact of OLPC's work on accessibility of digital technology to enable children in all nations to use the digital tools of the modern world, and use them collaboratively.

Karen Panetta, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of the Simulation Research Laboratory at Tufts University

Karen Panetta is the Women of Vision Award winner in the Social Impact category. She is recognized not only for her contributions in both academia and industry but also as one of the United States' leading experts in innovating successful low-cost methods for disseminating engineering and science to youth, parents, educators and the general public to help recruit young women to the STEM disciplines. Her Nerd Girls international program has inspired young women by teaching them engineers and scientists create innovations for the benefit of humanity.

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 Top Company for Technical Women Award

The Anita Borg Top Company for Technical Women Award recognizes an organization that has demonstrated measurable results in the recruitment, retention, and advancement of technical women at all levels. Grounded in organizational research and based on quantitative data, the award measures the current representation of technical women as well as improvement in women's representation over time. The Top Company is widely recognized as a leader in leveraging diverse talent for greater innovation.

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, HP, Microsoft, CA Technologies, Cisco, Facebook, First Republic Bank, IBM, Intel, Intuit, Lockheed Martin, National Science Foundation, National Security Agency, NetApp, SAP, Symantec, Thomson Reuters, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Amazon, Broadcom, Motorola Foundation, Raytheon, Salesforce, and Yahoo! For more information, visit

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