Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS)



MS Board Director Maria Klawe, 17th on Fortune's World's 50 Greatest Leaders, Computer Science Association Canada Lifetime Achievement Awardee, shares success tips for #YouthSpark Live

Maria's accomplishments are considerable as noted in this recent speaking event:

"Dr. Klawe is one of the ten members of the board of Microsoft Corporation, a board member of Broadcom Corporation, and of the nonprofit Math for America. She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and a trustee for the Mathematical Sceinces Research Institute in Berkeley. In addition she is a member of the Stanford Engineering Advisory Council, the Advisory Council for the Computer Science Teachers Association, and the Canada Excellence Research Chairs Selection Board. She is the recipient of the 2014 Women of Vision, Anita Borg Institute of Excellence Award for Leadership, and appears on Fortune's 2014 list of the World's 50 Greatest Leaders."

Famed scientist, entrepreneur, CIPS founding fellow, past ACM president and fellow Maria Klawe ranked 17th on the World's 50 Greatest Leaders shares her tips for success.

I asked Maria, "with your incredible success history of many significant international leadership roles and recognitions, from Harvey Mudd presidency, Microsoft and Broadcom board directorships, and most recently in 2015 the CACSAIC (Canadian Association of Computer Science) Lifetime Achievement Award, if you could sum up your life experiences with career tips for our youth audience at YouthSpark Live and the ICT professional, what would be your tips and the reasons behind them?"

Maria shared these great insights:

  • Learn the creative problem solving approaches of computer science… it will help no matter what career or discipline you end up pursuing.
  • Embrace your inner imposter, but don’t let it keep you from aiming high and persisting. People (like me) who often feel like a failure are often successful because the feeling of failure comes from having high expectations for our performance. Moreover, we all learn more from examining what we see as our failures than our successes. The only downside of 'imposteritis' is if it keeps us from taking on challenges and sticking with them until we succeed.
  • Take the time learn something that you are naturally bad at. You learn much better from working on something which is difficult for you.
  • It doesn't matter how successful you become, there is no excuse for not treating others with respect.
  • Be crazy 20 percent of the time (could be less), but don't spend all of your time trying to optimize your career or whatever. Take some time to do something that is totally unrelated.
  • Generally it is very important to get feedback from others about what you are doing. You will actually do better hearing from people who don't like what you are doing than just hearing from people who are your supporters.
  • Don't polarize or depolarize. Tthe world is not black and white, but many shades of grey and the more people realize that and keep an open mind the better off we will all be

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