Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Arianna Huffington: Women Leaders Need To Do Things Differently

Posted by Tom Foremski - May 13, 2010

Women leaders need to take a new approach because the current leadership of the nation is not working, said Arianna Huffington, speaking last night at the awards ceremony for "Women of Vision" organized by the Anita Borg Institute.

"There is not of enough wisdom around, your job as a leader is to do things differently." She said that the financial crisis, the oil spill in the Gulf, and other events should have been better handled yet few saw the possibility of those events happening.

She said women leaders are good at imagining what could go wrong and to make sure protective measures are taken.

About 700 people gathered at the Santa Clara Convention Center Wednesday evening to celebrate the Anita Borg Institutes' Women of Vision awards. The Anita Borg Institute works to promote the careers of women professionals within the tech industry. It builds on the work of Grace Hopper, a pioneer computer scientist and US naval officer.

The three winners were:

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

Social Impact Award:
Lila Ibrahim, General Manager, Emerging Markets Platform Group, Intel Corporation

Leadership Award:
Kristina M. Johnson, Ph.D., Under Secretary for Energy at the Department of Energy

Ms. Huffington spoke for a long time, dispensing lots of advice. She spoke about her latest book: On Becoming Fearless.... in Love, Work, and Life. She said she wrote it for her two daughters to encourage them to take risks and not be fearful of failure.

Here is some more advice from Ms. Huffington:

- I always tell my children about my failures rather than my successes.

- Be bold, chutzpah is rewarded.

- Avoid guilt and feelings of inadequacy, deal with naysayers.

- Multitasking is not productive.

- Get plenty of sleep, 4 hours a day is not enough, we live in a sleep deprived culture and that affects our decisions.

- She quoted Michel de Montaigne:"My life has been full of terrible misfortunes most of which never happened."

- Turn off your gadgets, your Blackberries, spend some time away from them and never place them close to where you sleep.

I spoke with Ms Huffington earlier in the evening and asked her how she feels about being a role model. She said that she doesn't think of herself as a role model but she can't control how others see her.

She said that the number of women executives and entrepreneurs appeared to be increasing and that the movement was in the right direction.

I also spoke with one of the award winners, Lila Ibrahim from Intel. She runs the 'one laptop per child' program that has already placed more than 2 million Classmate laptops around the world.

Ms. Ibrahim has a team of 130 people at Intel. The group is a for profit social enterprise. (More to come in a future post.)

Justin Rattner, CTO at Intel and on the board of the Anita Borg Institute, said that there were now three women Intel Technology Fellows from none three years ago.

Jerri Barrett, VP of Marketing at the Anita Borg Institute said that the organization had managed to survive the financial crisis. There was concern that companies would hold back funds but the Institute had managed to grow over the past two years.

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More info on the Anita Borg Institute:

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Past Women of Vision Winners
2009
2008
2007

Here is a Pearltree about the event and also about women in tech:


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