4. Who has been the most influential person in your life? Why?
In order to protect the privacy of the most influential person in my life, I won't mention this person by name. However, this person assisted me in overcoming some excruciatingly difficult personal circumstances - which had I not overcome these challenges, were destined to consume me emotionally, personally, and professionally. In order to be successful professionally, it is very important to have one's personal life in order. This is one reason why companies should encourage their employees to put family first. An employee who puts their family first almost always produces at a higher level than someone who doesn't.
5. What lessons have you learned that would be valuable to women beginning their careers in technology?
Probably the most important lesson that I would give to any woman beginning a career today is to believe in herself. There will be many people along the way who will tell you that your ideas are bad ones, you don't have the talent, and you'll never amount to anything. It takes a strong person, and also somewhat of a stubborn person, to not let these negative forces influence you and get the best of you. Early in my career I once had a supervisor tell me that I was not cut out for a technology career and might want to think about becoming a secretary. The next supervisor I had told me that I was an outstanding technologist. It's very important not to let yourself get seduced by the negative thoughts of others. Negative people try to suck you into their world of gloom and often resent successes you make. You have to notice negativity when it's happening so that it doesn't get the best of you.
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 that the most impressive new technologies that we will see in the years ahead are in biotechnology. There are so many medical problems that can now be solved by electro-mechanical and electro-magnetic devices and diagnostic equipment that I believe we are on the forefront of an unprecedented health renaissance of sorts.
Technology will always be used for subversive purposes. I believe it won't be long before we start seeing terrorist Web sites with active destructive technologies built into them, i.e. "Click here to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Moscow." It is unfortunate, but is bound to happen sooner or later.
Laura Taylor 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?