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Is Necessity the Mother of Invention? Profiles of Women Inspiring Tomorrow’s Innovators

Innovation Times – The Federal blog

Foreword by JR Reagan, posted on May 9, 2014

Principal and Federal Chief Innovation Officer, Deloitte & Touche LLP

Follow JR @IdeaXplorer Connect with JR

 

History is filled with innovative women who’ve done amazing things, even if the history books aren’t.

Many of the world’s most important inventions came from women. Steve Jobs founded Apple, but where would he have been without Ada Lovelace, daughter of the poet Lord Byron and the world’s first computer programmer? And then there was Grace Hopper – also known as “Amazing Grace” –  a US Navy admiral and computer scientist who, among other things, laid the groundwork for the COBOL computer language.

Wikipedia defines “invention” as “a unique or novel device, method, composition or process.” Using this definition, any list of women inventors grows exponentially. From Florence Nightingale, the nurse who pioneered the use of statistics and visualizations in medicine, to Cynthia Brezeal, an MIT robotocist helping to develop socially intelligent robots, a plethora of curious, creative females have changed the world with their ingenuity and daring.

To give them their due, we’re launching “Mothers of Invention,” a series of profile sketches about the contributions of women past and present to the worlds of technology, business, arts and culture, and more. Through interviews and personal writings, pioneering female entrepreneurs and share the secrets of their achievements. We hope their stories will inspire a new generation to dream, to invent, and to reach for the stars.

Mothers of invention

Janet Foutty
Principal and Federal Consulting Leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP
  • What’s your innovation claim to fame
    I was very pleased to be one of the driving forces behind founding US Consulting’s Deloitte Digital service line through Deloitte’s acquisition of Übermind and Banyan Branch. The amount of great work coming out of that group helps us take all our services and offerings to the next level.
  • Who or what inspired you
    My father. He was a senior scientist for 42 years at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and his work ethic, his dedication, and his thoughtful approach to leadership inspires me every day.
  • Best advice ever given to you
    Surround yourself with smart people; listen more than you talk.
  • “Did you know”
    I love to bake: cookies, pies, candy. All of it. I don’t eat much of it – just love to make it and have others enjoy it.
  • Go-to app
    My contrasting apps - Fitbit and Allrecipes (note Allrecipes was originally designed by Ubermind!)


The Hon. Beth McGrath
Director, Deloitte Consulting LLP
  • Who or what inspired you?
    I was (am!) regularly inspired and humbled by the example of the members of our armed services.  Theirs is a culture of selfless dedication and a calling to public service that not everybody hears.
  • What advice do you give your kids or mentorees?
    Education and exercise are your priorities.  They are two things you do for "you.”
  • “Did you know”
    I coached my daughter's basketball teams for many years (until I turned her over to the High School coach!)
  • Currently reading
    Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War
    by Robert M. Gates
  • Go-to app
    Any app that helps me navigate Washington, DC traffic


Dr. Terri Cooper
Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP
Chief Inclusion Officer National Leader, Life Sciences R&D Practice
  • What’s your innovation claim to fame
    Back in 1995, I was instrumental in leading the overall Drug Development Team for Duragesic at Johnson & Johnson which led to the successful launch of the product in the UK for the treatment of chronic cancer. I had over 100 letters from users that personally thanked me for substantially improving their quality of life at the most critical stage of their lives.
  • Who or what inspired you
    I’m totally inspired by the brother of one of our SC’s, a young Captain in the US Army called Greg Galeazzi, who lost both his legs 3 years ago this memorial weekend in Afghanistan.  His will to live, bravery and tenacity to still succeed against a significant personal sacrifice will never cease to make me realize that I have absolutely nothing to feel frustrated or angry about. He truly is MY HERO.
  • Worst advice anyone ever gave you
    Keep your head down, work hard and you will reap the rewards!
  • What advice do you give your kids or mentorees?
    There is no such word as “can’t”. Yes you can! This means living your lives with this key objective in mind “Less Wishbone and More Backbone.”
  • “Did you know”
    I’m a serious equestrian and will be competing at the Prix St George level in dressage this season.


Jessica Kosmowski
Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP
  • What’s your innovation claim to fame
    When I was the Chief Marketing Officer, I created the Deloitte Innovation Center. The Center has been the driving force behind new offerings across several different topic areas including supply chain analytics and sustainability. In 2013, we published a report on global supply chain risk and then held the first-ever Argyle Supply Chain forum.
  • Best advice ever given to you
    The single biggest factor to success is the people you surround yourself with.
  • What advice do you give your kids or mentorees
    When an opportunity presents itself, you have to jump for it, take the risk, and hit the ball out the park.
  • “Did you know”
    Recently I visited Machu Picchu with my family. Our family loves to explore new things and this was the perfect blend of adventure, history and culture.
  • Currently reading
    I am reading two books with my children right now that are keeping me on my toes… the Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan and a classic, From the Mixed-Up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg.


Carmen Medina
Specialist Leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP
  • What’s your innovation claim to fame
    Greenlighting the Intellipedia project in the Intelligence Community (IC). I was approached by someone who had the great idea that the IC could use the Media Wiki software to better manage its knowledge and I said “YES, let’s do it!!”
  • Who or what inspired you
    I had a great teacher in the 6th grade, Mrs. Fisher, who made achieving excellence seem like fun. Almost 40 years later I got in touch to tell her how much her class had meant to me.
  • Worst advice anyone ever gave you
    Don’t tell people what you really think about problems, because if you keep doing that you will ruin a promising career.
  • What advice do you give your kids or mentorees
    I tell young adults starting in the workforce that you have a limited time to make your impact in the world. That’s a lot of time but be deliberate about how you use it because time flies.
  • “Did you know”
    I won Novice National Debate Best Speaker as a College Freshman in 1973.


Lynn Eddy
Specialist Leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP
  • What’s your innovation claim to fame
    Steering the effort to transform the Treasury Department’s HR technology platform into one of the first sanctioned HR Lines of Business.
  • Best advice ever given to you
    Never be good at anything you don’t want to do.
  • What advice do you give your kids or mentoree
    When you don’t have a choice you can still choose your attitude.
  • “Did you know”
    I’m a DC native – I’ve never lived more than 50 miles from where I was born.
  • Currently reading
    I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte & Touche LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

 

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