Check out the inspiring video series with Meg Whitman on Makers!
By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)
Best known as eBay’s veteran CEO – she joined the company when it had only 30 employees in 1998 – Meg ran eBay as CEO for 10 years and scaled the company to over 15,000 employees and $8 billion in revenue. She took the company public and currently sits on the board of directors at Proctor & Gamble, Teach for America, Zipcar and Hewlett-Packard, where she is now the CEO.
She won me over with her quotable quotes at Makers regarding technology, entrepreneurship and women. Perhaps Meg Whitman will become the next prominent woman in technology champion whose quotable quotes make the rounds in the office and wind up in every woman in tech’s Facebook feed. Yes, we are hungry for more role models, more Sheryl Sandbergs, Marissa Mayers and visible women leaders in technology speaking up for women.
“I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about as a woman how I would manage differently – I was just happy to be managing. In some ways it was a blessing because I didn’t second-guess myself, I didn’t add that factor into my leadership style.
I was just focused on how can I lead this young company the most effective way I can, and you know what I also over my career finally thought about is – you know there are lots of things I can change but my gender is not one of them, and so it is kind of what it is. I have to lead according to my personality, according to what I think is necessary under any set of circumstances.”
“Most of the entrepreneurs in technology companies in Silicon Valley are guys. This phenomenon of very few women entrepreneurs I think is not confined to but particularly prevalent in technology. But you look in California – the biggest group of people starting new businesses broadly in California – retail, restaurants, you know whatever – is actually Latinas.
You’re seeing women starting new businesses like crazy. Now, they may not be technology businesses or internet businesses, but they are starting businesses – to help support their families and to in some cases to be the major breadwinner in their families.”
“If you have a daughter, she should go be an engineer because it’s still a rarity. It comes back to maybe expectations – dial all the way back to my mother’s year, girls were not as encouraged to be science, math, and technology.
That’s changing but it’s slow change and generational change. And it’s going to take more work and it’s going to take the engineering schools and the math departments and the physics departments to be extra encouraging to help entice women into these fields which have historically been male-dominated.
On opportunity today and in the United States (watch the video):
“I don’t know that feminism is a dirty word. I guess I prefer the word pioneer, change agent, expanding of world views of what you can do… But I think we’re all very grateful for having been born when we were born. Because we had opportunities that my mother’s generation didn’t have, that my grandmother’s generation certainly didn’t have.
All that is I think wrapped up in feminism and I think it’s been good for America and I think it’s been good for the world. When we get discouraged, just have to glance around to other parts of the world and feel pretty lucky that we have the opportunities that we have in America. My story is only possible in America.”
Whether the HP company can be turned around at all, my money’s on Meg Whitman to make the needed changes. In the meantime, let’s hope she keeps making us proud and taking these speaking engagements that circle the Internet and inspire the next generation of women leaders, engineers, innovators, builders, movers and shakers!
Thanks Meg for the sound bytes, I look forward to many more.
About the writer: Angie Chang co-founded Women 2.0 in 2006. She currently serves as Editor-In-Chief of Women 2.0 and is working to mainstream women in high-growth, high-tech entrepreneurship. Previously, Angie held roles in product management and web UI design. In 2008, Angie launched Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners, asking that guys come as the “+1” for once. Angie holds a B.A. in English and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter at @thisgirlangie.