Difference between revisions of "Telle Whitney"

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Revision as of 21:13, 26 March 2020

Telle Whitney
Telle Whitney
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Honorary member of IEEE in 2019
ACM Distinguished Service Award in 2008
An honorary doctorate from CMU)


Telle Whitney was the former CEO and President of the non-profit organization, Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology from 2002 to 2017. Whitney has spent her career paving the road for women in tech fields. She cofounded, with computer scientist Anita Borg, the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference in 1994. This event with considered the world’s largest gathering of women in tech with nearly 18,000 attendees in 2017. As CEO, the Institute was able to broaden its reach nationally and internationally, perhaps best represented by holding its Grace Hopper Celebration in India in 2010. She became president of Silicon Compilers, VP of Engineering in Malleable Technologies and was the Vice President of the Canadian company PMC-Sierra.

Born in 1956 in Salt Lake City, Utah, Whitney came from a long line of Mormons. Whitney’s father was a lawyer and her mother, a housewife, became a history teacher later in her life. Whitney’s stepmother was a piano teacher and a musician. Telle Whitney had several siblings including a stepbrother, two stepsisters, a half-sister, and two sisters.

While initially unsure where go in life while in college, Whitney decide to take COBOL class where she discovered her passion for computer technology. Whitney earned her Bachelors in Computer Science from the University of Utah in 1978. After taking a year off after graduating, Whitney spent time working for UNIVAC before attending California Institute of Technology where they were creating a computer science department. Students at Caltech were programming in Simula and MAINSAIL. Whitney worked on CAD project for integrated circuits for her Master’s thesis. She received her Ph.D in 1985 for her thesis on the CAD representation for chips. After graduating from Caltech she moved to Silicon Valley to design computer chips where she met Barbara Simons and Anita Borg. She began working at Schlumberger Palo Alto Research Center in 1986 but shortly left for Actel, a chip company she held senior technical management positions in.

Before founding the Grace Hopper celebration with Anita Borg, Whitney also help her create the Systers network to build local communities of women technologists. Beyond that Whitney co-founded NCWIT (National Center for Women and Information Technology), and co-founded the BRAID (Building Recruiting and Inclusion for Diversity) project. BRAID works with computer science departments across the United States to help increase the participation of women and people of color in their undergraduate majors.

Whitney has won numerous awards: She was named one of Fast Company’s “Most Influential Women in Technology.” She received a ACM Distinguished Service Award in 2008, an honorary doctorate from CMU, and was made an honorary member of IEEE in 2019.