The number of women entering the engineering profession is decreasing annually, after a brief period of time around the turn of the century when the number was on the increase. The IEEE is the largest organization for professional engineers in our industry. As of December 2009 IEEE had 37,877 female members, down almost 8% from the previous year. Of these 19,048 (over 50%) were students or associate members, and 18,829 were employed in engineering positions or related jobs. The female membership is about 10% of the total IEEE membership. It seems obvious that women are under-represented in the largest professional organization in our industry. This fact is made even starker when one considers that of the 29 honorary members of the Society only one is a woman.
On April 16, The New York Times published an article by Claire Cain Miller entitled "Out of the Loop in Silicon Valley". The article explored the problems faced by women in engineering careers, including those in the EDA industry. The author cites a study by the National Center for Women and Information Technology, that found that 56 percent of women with technical jobs leave their work midway through their careers, double the turnover rate for men. Twenty percent of them leave the work force entirely, and an additional 31 percent take nontechnical jobs -- suggesting that child-rearing isn’t necessarily the primary reason women move on.
Ms. Miller states that "for women who choose to leave their jobs to raise children, returning to technical careers after a leave is harder because technology changes so quickly and skills can become rapidly outdated. Some women also leave promising jobs earlier than men because they discover that the workplaces themselves can be lonely."
Poornima Vijayashanker, an Indian immigrant, is one of the women Ms. Miller interviewed for her article. The article reports that Ms. Vijayashanker said that "she first started to notice women were leaving the field at her first engineering job at Synopsys when the only other two women on her team took jobs that involved interacting personally with customers. It was a pattern she recognized from college, when other women who were engineering majors chose careers in business or medicine instead of technology so they could interact more often with other people."
The EDA industry has been more proactive than most of the other parts of the electronics industry in recognizing the problem and offering tools to support women in engineering. Since 1995, in general during the first full day of the Design Automation Conference (DAC), a workshop is held. The workshop, originally called WWINDA (Workshop on Women in Design Automation) and now called WWED (Workshop for Women in Electronic Design) is dedicated to addressing problems faced by women in our industry and develop solutions or offer suggestions on how a woman can be more effective and more fulfilled in a male dominated industry. The goal of this workshop is to provide men and women in the electronic design industry and academia with a forum to exchange ideas for building successful careers, and to provide an opportunity for peer networking.
This Year's Event
The WWED workshop will be held in conjunction with DAC in the Anaheim Convention Center on Monday, June 14, 2010 from 11:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Pamela Parish, Chair of the workshop said that the theme is: "More Than Core Competence...What it Takes for Your Career to Survive, and Thrive!"
This year, WWED will feature a keynote by Patty Azarello, founder and CEO of Azzarello Group, an interactive panel discussion, and the presentation of the Marie R. Pistilli Women in Electronic Design Automation (EDA) Achievement Award. The workshop will start at 11:30, instead of the usual 9:00 am start time, to allow more women to participate. Its length has also been shorten to two and a half hours to give the partecipants more flexibility within the DAC conference, especially since the exhibit portion of the conference was also shorten to three days from three and a half.
You're invited to join women and men in electronics, EDA and academia for this career building workshop. For the first 100 to register lunch will be included. The mid-day time allows workshop participants to attend DAC Free Monday Exhibits before and after, building a rewarding and full day at DAC.
Holly Stump, Vice President of Marketing at Jasper Design Automation and this year's Vice-Chair of the workshop is enthusiastic about the upcoming event. "I am thrilled that this year's DAC program will be inclusive, for both women and men." said Ms Stump. "In particular," she continued "I look forward to our 'lightning panelists!' I specifically want to thank our sponsors, who include Atrenta, Axiom Design Automation, ClioSoft, EVE, Jasper Design Automation, MP Associates, Mentor Graphics, Real Intent, SpringSoft, and Synopsys, for making this workshop possible. Through their generosity attendance at this year’s workshop will be free with advance registration. Lunch will also be provided to all attendees."
The workshop will include both a keynote speech and a panel discussion. Patty Azarello, the keynote speaker, is among the most sought-after speakers and personal advisors to executives in the country. She has 25 years of experience in high tech and business, including success in running large and small businesses, and significant international management experience. Patty has held leadership roles in general management, marketing, software product development and sales, including as Vice President and General Manager of HP OpenView, Chief Marketing Officer for Siebel Systems, and President and CEO of Euclid Software. At the age of 33, she became the youngest General Manager at HP. She ran a $1B software business at the age of 35 and became a CEO for the first time at the age of 39.
The panelists are: Carol Hallett, VP Sales at Real Intent, Gilda Garreton, Principal Engineer at Oracle Corporation, and Kathryn Kranen, CEO of Jasper Design Automation.
Ms. Hallett will speak about "Leadership with Authenticity". In a business world primarily dominated by men, how can a woman bring her authentic self in a leadership position to be effective? Carol brings a wealth of experience in sales, marketing and operational management positions in semiconductor, computer, and EDA industries. Prior to Real Intent, Carol was the Vice President at Tharas, which was acquired by EVE. Prior to Tharas she was at Phoenix Technologies, Mentor Graphics and Tera Systems in sales roles. She was the vice president of Sales for Blue Pearl, TransEDA and RoyoCAD. She began her career at National Semiconductors and Surface Mounted Technology in various technical and operational roles.
The subiect of Ms. Garreton presentation is "Your Mentor: The Competitive Advantage For Your Career”. Ever wonder about the value of having someone outside of your organization for independent advice? Mentoring is a leadership development tool; the key is how to use it. Gilda Garreton ‘s research interests include algorithms, computer-aided design tools, computer graphics algorithms, java, mesh generation, object oriented programming, software and user interfaces. Her education spans a BA Engineering School, Catholic University of Chile; Industrial Civil Engineering, Catholic University of Chile; and a PhD, Swiss Institute of Technology (ETHZ). The Anita Borg Institute and Latinas in Computing, including co-founder Gilda, were honored by CAMINOS at their 10-year anniversary celebration Digital Decade for Latinas. Latinas in Computing received a certificate of honor signed by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in Feb 2009.
"Money Talk: Pay, Compensation and Value" is the subject of Kathryn Kranen's presentation. Diligence is not enough! Too many people are smart, busy and dedicated but the results, the value to their company is not there...or is not observable. Kathryn Kranen is responsible for leading Jasper’s team in successfully bringing the company’s pioneering technology to the mainstream design verification market. She has 20 years EDA industry experience and a proven management track record. While serving as president and CEO of Verisity Design, Inc., US headquarters of Verisity Ltd., Kathryn and the team she built created an entirely new market in design verification. (Verisity later became a public company, and was the top-performing IPO of 2001.) Prior to Verisity, Kathryn was vice president of North American sales at Quickturn Systems. She started her career as a design engineer at Rockwell International, and later joined Daisy Systems, an early EDA company. Kathryn graduated Summa cum Laude from Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. Kathryn is serving her fifth term on the EDA Consortium board of directors, and was elected its vice chairperson. In 2005, Kathryn was recipient of the prestigious Marie R. Pistilli Women in Electronic Design Automation (EDA) Achievement Award.
The Marie R. Pistilli Award
Beginning at the turn of the century, the workshop established the Marie R. Pistilli Award. The award is named after Marie Pistilli who founded the workshop, and was also instrumental in creating DAC and making it the premier conference on electronic design.
Although the award winners do not have to be female, so far they have all been. After all there is only one award and many women in our industry that deserve it. The list of recipients will give you and idea of the professional caliber of the honorees. The list is ordered from the most recent award presented in 2009, to the first recipient in the year 2000.
46th DAC – Telle Whitney, Anita Borg Institute
45th DAC – Louise Trevillyan, IBM Research Center
44th DAC – Jan Willis, Cadence Design Systems, Inc.
43rd DAC – Ellen Yoffa, IBM Research
42nd DAC – Kathryn Kranen, Jasper Design Automation, Inc.
41st DAC – Mary Jane Irwin, Penn State Univ.
40th DAC – Karen Bartleson, Synopsys, Inc.
39th DAC – Ann Rincon, AMI Semiconductor
38th DAC – Deidre Hanford, Synopsys, Inc.
37th DAC – Penny Herscher, Cadence Design Systems, Inc.
A few days ago the committee revealed the name of this year's winner: Mar Hershenson.
Mar Hershenson is currently Vice President of Product Development in the Custom Design Business Unit at Magma Design Automation, in charge of product development for the mixed-signal migration and optimization design tools. She joined Magma through the acquisition of Sabio Labs, where she was the CEO and a co-founder. Sabio Labs offered an equation-based design environment for mixed-signal ICs. Mar was directly involved in developing Sabio’s ground-breaking technology and all core aspects of building the company from financing to sales to engineering.
Prior to Sabio Labs, she was CTO and co-founder of Barcelona Design, where she commercialized her graduate research in the application of convex optimization to analog circuit design. Prior to Barcelona Design, Dr. Hershenson worked at leading Silicon Valley companies such as Linear Technology Corporation and Apple Computer. Her work spans from low level components such as low voltage regulators for microprocessor applications, to systems such as low-power video cards for laptops.
Dr. Hershenson has been awarded eight patents and has several other patents pending. From 2003 until 2009, she was a Consulting Professor at Stanford University, teaching analog circuit design courses. She is planning to join Stanford University again in this role in the 2010-11 school year. Mar has received several awards for her work, among them the prestigious award TR100 Young Investigator from MIT in 2002. She served on the executive committee at ICCAD in 2007 and 2008 and she was a member of the DAC TPC for 2009.
An event such as the WWED enriches DAC and contributes to the variety of networking, information gathering, and professional growth opportunities that contribute to make our industry a key contributor to progress.