Men of Zeno Reflect on Impactful Women Leaders in Their Lives

In honor of Women’s History Month, we asked men across the Zeno network to reveal one of the most influential women in history or in their own lives. The only caveats? Can’t pick mom or a Zeno colleague. The women the selected were intriguing, inspiring and international.

MURILLO OLIVEIRA, ZENO BRAZIL

I have two inspiring women in my life whose are Hortência Macari and ‘Magic’ Paula. The duo are former Brazilian basketball players and arguably two of the bests who ever played the game. They won gold at the 1991 Pan American Games where they engaged in a great and controversial moment with Fidel Castro, the 1994 FIBA Women’s World Championship and only lost the 1996 Summer Olympics Finals to the host country, the USA.

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KENNY MCGILVARY, ZENO AUSTRALIA

A woman in leadership that has inspired me is Aung San Suu Kyi.

Aung San Suu Kyi led the National League for Democracy (NLD) to a majority win in Myanmar’s (Burma) first openly contested election in 25 years in November 2015. The win came five years to the day since she was released from 15 years of house arrest.

The 70-year-old spent almost all of 1989-2010 in some form of detention because of her efforts to bring democracy to junta-ruled Myanmar, which has made her an international symbol of peaceful resistance in the face of oppression.

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In 1991, “The Lady” as she’s known, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and the committee chairman called her “an outstanding example of the power of the powerless”. Having traveled through Burma while she was under house arrest and gotten a sense of the difficulties she faced there has made her achievement all the more impressive in my eyes.

ERËMAL NELA – ZENO NEW YORK  

Malala Youzafzai is a teenage activist from Pakistan, an inspiration to the world, who has encouraged us to stand up for our beliefs in order to make a difference in our communities and demand action from our leaders. Malala has been an advocate for providing education to girls in Pakistan and across the world. Her activism has drawn international attention and has persuaded world leaders to listen and take action. Her tenacity motivates me to be better every day and contribute to my community.

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GUILHERME SCARABELIN, ZENO BRAZIL

I have two women who inspire me, each of them for a different reason. Patricia Catalane was my co-worker during my first job teaching English. She really supported me and taught me a lot. It always amazed me how she was smiling all the time, even when things were bad. Her devotion to the profession, her charisma and her advice are lessons I will always take with me.

The second one is Margaret Thatcher, one of my greatest inspirations. I just can’t help but admire the values she stood for throughout her lifetime. She was an independent, successful and fearless person. I will always look up to her as an endless source of persistence and leadership.

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GREG WOOD – ZENO CALIFORNIA

Teresa H. Meng – Reid Weaver Dennis Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Professor of Computer Science, Emerita at Stanford University

Teresa founded Atheros Communications, Inc. in May 1998. Atheros is one of a few companies that played a significant role in bringing Wi-Fi to the masses. The company was acquired by Qualcomm in January 2011 for a valuation of $3.7 billion. When I started working with Atheros in the early 2000s, I had the opportunity to develop an executive thought leadership campaign for Teresa. She is one of the smartest people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in Silicon Valley. Teresa is coachable and personable, which is a rarity.

Her greatest lesson that she bestowed upon me was that she wanted the media and others to view her as an electrical engineer not a woman electrical engineer or tech leader not a woman tech leader. She believes in evaluating people based on their knowledge and merits not their gender. Teresa was not one to placate media requests that wanted to focus on her being a woman. I learned a lot from Teresa that even in Silicon Valley there are biases and that it’s on all of us to fight it.

MATTHEW OVERINGTON, ZENO AUSTRALIA

From air traffic control to Pacemakers to Facebook, the whole world runs on software today. Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (more commonly known as Ada Lovelace) was the world’s first computer programmer and as such, she has had an incredibly profound influence on the shape of the modern world. As a shamelessly proud Dad to two daughters, I admire Ada’s pursuit of her passion for mathematics and engineering – a domain almost exclusively dominated by men during the mid-19th century.

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JEFF KAPLAN, ZENO AUSTRALIA

Hedy Lamarr was one of the biggest and most glamorous Hollywood stars of the 1940s.  In addition to her film accomplishments, Lamarr, along with composer George Antheil developed a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes, which used spread spectrum and frequency hopping technology to defeat the threat of jamming by the Axis powers.

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Though the US Navy did not adopt the technology until the 1960s, the principles of their work are now incorporated into modern Wi-FiCDMA and Bluetooth technology, and this work led to their being inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.

JOHN KERR – ZENO ASIA

When I first arrived in England, my second ever boss was Christine Tacon – today a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) and the United Kingdom’s Groceries Code Adjudicator. She had also recently joined as Marketing Director of Wang UK (a traditional mid–range technology company) from consumer giant Mars. Christine constantly drilled me hard about whether I really understood the customer as a person, or as a research statistic. Early in my career, she forced me to walk in the shoes of a person you seek to build a relationship with and communicate with – to ensure what they see/receive is authentic and value-added. Authentic and value-added is the qualification lens that I try my best to ensure in everything I do, every day.

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