Friday, March 11, 2016

11 famous speeches by women in engineering & technology

Women are underrepresented in engineering and technology, and when it comes to speaking, often find themselves at conferences with no or few women speakers. That makes these famous speeches by women who have been leaders in technology companies, government agencies, and academic institutions all the more valued. Not surprisingly, most of them tackle gender bias and other kinds of bias head on. They all come from The Eloquent Woman Index of Famous Speeches by Women, and at each link, you'll find a post about that specific speech, with video where available, and tips you can use in your own public speaking:
  1. Former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz told graduates to "embrace failure" in her 2012 commencement address, embracing her own high profile firing to inspire the new grads.
  2. Entrepreneur Cindy Wu used a 3-minute pitch at Y Combinator's Demo Days to net $1.2 million for her project, a crowdfunding site for scientific research that wouldn't otherwise get funding.
  3. Bartz's 2010 keynote at the Grace Hopper Celebration was one of those gripping talks where the speaker tosses her notes at the start, gets personal, and pulls off a masterful speech.
  4. Keila Banks, age 13, gave the keynote at OSCON 2015 and defied the audience to define "undefinable me." She codes, cheerleads, and does much more.
  5. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg got her "lean in" movement started with a commencement speech at Barnard College. Her talk made a point of resonating with all ages of graduates in the audience.
  6. It was up to celebrity interviewer Maria Klawe, Microsoft board member and dean of Harvey Mudd College, to correct Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella when he suggested that women in tech trust in karma rather than go after salary increases. She was interviewing him onstage at a women in computing conference.
  7. Pioneer and engineer Grace Hopper, in later years, started giving demos anyone could understand about nanoseconds. She used lengths of wire to let each audience member get a sense of the new measure, making the foreign more familiar.
  8. Engineer Sheila Widnall, whose focus was aeronautics, told it like it is to women engineers in a frank talk that called out sexist behavior and gender bias. If you've ever wondered how to do that, she puts fierce language to the task.
  9. Dame Stephanie Shirley told the TED conference that you can tell ambitious women by the shape of their heads--flat, from having been patted and patronized. Then she told the audience how she got around, over, and through that to succeed as a tech entrepreneur.
  10. Danielle George gave the Royal Institution's annual Christmas lecture on hacking your home. The radio and microwave communications engineer was only the sixth woman to do so, and claimed two more firsts: She was the first engineer, and the first person to give the lectures while 8 months pregnant.
  11. Carly Fiorina spoke just two weeks after the 9/11 attacks, in a speech on leadership in the knowledge economy which talked about the power of diversity and, at the end, extolled the accomplishments of the Islamic world. Given when she was CEO of Hewlett-Packard, with employees--including Muslim employees--all over the world, it was used against her in her presidential bid this year.
Need more coaching on how to be a better panel moderator? Order the new ebook The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels. At just $3.99 and available in many formats, it's a great back-pocket coach to take on stage with you in your smartphone or tablet. Find more tips on public speaking on The Eloquent Woman blog.

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