4. Who has been the most influential person in your life? Why?
The most influential people in my life have been
- My mother, Joanne Corney, as a role model of a strong woman,
- My father, Blair Corney, for his encouragement in all my non-traditional (for a woman) endeavors, and
- My husband, Garry Ackerman, for keeping my outlook positive and balanced.
5. What lessons have you learned that would be valuable to women beginning their careers in technology?
Take the initiative. Let your supervisors know you are interested in more responsibility and what your long-term career goals are. When a position opens up that you want, put your name in the hat. Don't wait until you get asked - you may get overlooked because they assume you wouldn't be interested.
Volunteer for special assignments or tasks outside your normal day-to-day job. This will expand your sphere of visibility, grow your skills, and let you establish a larger network of contacts. You need to get noticed and stand out from the crowd. You also need to be known outside your immediate group.
Establish your presence. Treat yourself and everyone around you as equals. You'll get more respect for your ideas and contributions and you'll get more cooperation and teamwork from your supervisors, peers and subordinates.
Act, sit, walk and talk with confidence. When you enter a room full of people you don't know, take stock of what's going on, then walk up to a group and introduce yourself. You can't network if you're a wallflower.
Hone your communications skills. You must be a good listener in addition to speaking and writing well. Be open and honest so people want to talk with you.
Persevere and be patient. Timing is everything. Get the right skills required for your next job before
you need them - then you'll be positioned when the time is right. Recognize that it takes time to gain the experience to get to and perform at the top. You won't be there five years after you get out of school.
Attitude is the key. Exhibit a "can-do and will-do whatever it takes to get the job done" attitude whether you are making your own copies or briefing the CEO. Keep a positive perspective and look for the good things in any situation. Be confident but not cocky. There's a fine line between the two.
Performance matters. Nothing else matters if you don't do a good job, but doing a good job is not enough to separate you from the pack. Lots of people do a good job. Don't expect fantastic rewards for doing the job as well as everyone else, it takes more.
6. What new technology do you believe will have the most positive impact on the world in the next 20 years? The most negative impact?
I think the technology that will have the most positive impact will be information organization. With the internet, we have access to more information than we ever thought possible. As the amount of information grows, the need to have more refined search, access, and organization capabilities to specific data will grow. The downside is that we must be careful that we don't allow abuse of or with the data. Technology is evolving so fast that changes in our culture may not keep up with issues as they arise.
Janne Ackerman answers these questions:
1. What was your first job in technology?
2. Who has been your most significant mentor? Why?
3. What has been your greatest challenge and what strategies
did you use to overcome obstacles?
4. Who has been the most influential person in your life?
5. What lessons have you learned that would be valuable to
women beginning their careers in technology?
6. What new technology do you believe will have the most positive
impact on the world in the next 20 years? The most negative impact?
On the lighter side:
1. If you could have dinner with any 2 people (living or not),
who would they be?
2. What was the last book you read? What books do you love to recommend?
3. If you couldn't do what you are doing now, what profession would you choose?
4. What is your definition of success?