Telle Whitney Receives ACM Distinguished Service Award and Marie R. Pistilli Award

Originally Printed in the Summer/Fall 2009 Newsletter

Telle Whitney, Anita Borg Institute for Women and Information Technology (ABI) CEO and former CRA-W Board member received two prestigious awards this year. The first award is the ACM Distinguished Service Award,
which she received at the June 2009 ACM Awards Banquet. Telle received the award for her profound impact on the participation and success of women in computing, and thus, on the entire computing community, through her roles in the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (Hopper) conference series, her leadership of the ABI, and her co-founding of the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT). Telle has made many other valuable service contributions to the field including serving as Secretary-Treasurer of ACM and member of the Queue Advisory Board, the CRA Committee on the Status of Women (CRA-W), the advisory board of MentorNet, and a variety of NSF committees in-cluding the Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering and the CISE Advisory Committee.

In her acceptance of the award, Telle said “It is an honor to receive this award. For me, it is recognition of the importance of the work of the Anita Borg Institute, and its impact on its community, many of whom are in the room today.  I’d like to recognize ACM for its commitment to increasing the participation and impact of women, particularly John White and Pat Ryan from ACM Headquarters, as well as Wendy Hall, and all of her immediate ACM President predecessors, who have shown their commitment to women in computing not only through words but through actions. At ABI, we have a vision in which women are equally represented in creating the technology of this next century.  With the help of all of you in this room, and through out our community, we can and will change the world.”

This award is given on the basis of value and degree of ser-vices to the computing community, includes activities in other computer organizations, and emphasizes contributions to the computing community at large. The second award is the  10th annual Marie R. Pistilli Women in Electronic Design Automation (EDA) Achievement Award, which was presented at the Work-shop for Women in Design Automation (WWINDA), which was held during the annual Design Automation Conference (DAC) in July 2009.

In the announcement of the award, Karla Reynolds, 2009 WWINDA Committee Chair, stated that  “Throughout her career, Telle has made significant contributions to help advance other women, and it is an honor to present her with this award.  Men and women working in EDA have benefited tremendously from her energy and commitment to all she does.”

In addition to her many service activities and leadership in many organizations, Telle has served as a role model during her more than 20 years in the semiconductor and telecommunications industries Telle took over the leadership of the Institute for Women and Technology (IWT), which had been founded by Anita Borg, when Anita’s health declined. Under her leadership this institute, which was renamed the Anita Borg Institute in honor of Anita, has initiated several programs to attract and retain women in technology careers and focus the attention of technology on the needs of women. Example initiatives include the TechLeaders series of workshops and the Women of Vision recognition events.

Telle said of the ABI “We’ve grown substantially over these seven years. Today, we have 17 companies who are actively involved in the Institute, plus additional tens of companies and academic institutions contributing in some fashion or another. I’m pleased to be able to say that people continue to see how important it is to support us, even in these difficult economic times.”

This award was created to honor individuals who have contributed to the advancement of women in the EDA industry.