Many of our community members know the name Coleman Furr, and they know that he is the namesake of our institution. However, what you may not know is that our university was co-founded by a woman. Louis Furr was a visionary in the same way that her husband was, and she too saw a future for technology that included everyone with a passion to learn. In her memory, and the memory of all the women that we have taught since 1963, Coleman has been an avid proponent of diversity in the STEM fields. We continue to look for ways to engage the community around this important topic, especially in regards to encouraging more women to establish a career in technology. During Women’s History month, we sponsored and hosted the California Diversity Council for their Women in Leadership: Women Blazing Trails symposium which took place on March 14th. Female leaders from all over Southern California were on our campus discussing their personal experience with adversity and challenges in their careers.
The panel of speakers included Stacie Herring, Vice President of Consumer Services Experience at Intuit, Angelica Espinoza, Vice President of Compliance and Governance and Corporate Secretary at Sempra Energy, Sadie Stern, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at 3D Systems, Judy Wright. Vice President of Human Resources for Valley View Casino & Hotel, Denise Brucker, Vice President of Compliance, Labor & Employment for Cubic Corporation, and Dr. Ilkay Altintas, the Chief Data Officer for the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego. Leading the panel as moderator was Dr. Merrilyn Datta, the Head of Business Operations at Illumina, who engaged the audience with her own stories of her experiences and engaging attendees in a powerful discussion. Some of the main points of discussion that came to light were the importance of speaking your mind, being unafraid to ask for more resources, and taking risks in expanding your horizons.
From culturally conscious leadership, to swimming with sharks and building a value for your personal brand, the panelists covered important topics and invited attendees to ask questions. Many members of the audience had the opportunity to establish important networking connections, and learn more about resources available to them in San Diego. The National Diversity Council will be hosting many more events like this one here in California, if you are interested in attending please visit the events page on their website.