As the Senior Vice President, Information Technology, Cora Carmody provides leadership for Jacobs’ mission-critical IT Systems including Enterprise Resources systems such as HR, Financial, Operational support systems such as project control, engineering/design and collaboration, infrastructure systems and services such as networks, servers, desktops and web/social and collaborative systems. During her career Cora has accomplished many notable achievements and received widespread industry recognition. Highlights of her achievements include:
- Recipient of NASA’s Manned Flight Honoree Award for work on Space Station Freedom Software Build Process, 1991
- Named a ComputerWorld’s “Premier 100”, Top IT Leaders of 2002
- IT group recognized in ComputerWorld’s “Top 100 Places to Work in IT”, 2000 and 2005
- Led Litton/PRC to CMM Level 3; then supported maturity increase to CMM Level 5, crystallizing PRC’s culture of continuous improvement
- She is a life-time member of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America and is the founder of Technology Goddesses, a Girl Scout oriented program to mentor girls of all ages in all manner of information technology.
Cora’s insights on technology and STEM are frequently sought, and her work has been included in Work included in 25th edition of “the Leadership Challenge”, Kouzes and Posner, 2013 and “the US Technology Skill Gap”, Beach, 2013
Cora has an M.S. degree in Computer Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University (1985) and B.A. and M.A. degrees in Mathematics from the Johns Hopkins University (1978). She and her husband, Colonel Kevin O. Carmody USMC retired, live in Southern California and have 4 children.
In an effort to address the continuing issue of low numbers of women in technology-related college degrees and careers, Jacobs Engineering CIO Cora Carmody founded the Technology Goddesses™ program in 2002. The program focuses on providing Girl Scouts of all ages with exposure to the vast range of technology-related disciplines. One key component of the program brings the older girls into mentorship positions with elementary school-aged girls. This provides a sustaining chain of mentorship that many STEM programs lack; our 3rd graders look up to the 5th graders, our 5th graders are influenced by 7th graders who think technology is cool, and our high school students believe it is natural to pursue technological majors and careers, and to continue involvement as adult volunteers during college and afterwards. In short, this program takes the long view of developing future STEM employees by sustaining interest and involvement in technology from an early age (preschool at our summer camp); many corporate-sponsored programs wait until high school to engage students, but by that point your chances of engagement have radically decreased.
We integrate aspects of program management and leadership into Technology Goddesses™ – without labeling those principles, yet seeing the positive impact on retention, especially during late junior high and high school, where many youth-oriented programs see a drop in enrollment. This has the impact of imbuing a sense of belonging and technical confidence; a support community which reinforces the Jacobs Culture of Caring, as well as the societal value of technology. In fact, many of our girls continue with the program as adult volunteers during college, allowing us to continue to mentor and assist in internship and career placement. Two of the very first Technology Goddesses™ who were in 7th grade when the program was started, have worked in Jacobs IT since they graduated from college 3 years ago.
We communicate the richness, variety, fulfillment and economic attractiveness of IT and engineering careers, through both career panels and field trips to places such as NASA JPL and Qualcomm, and local offices of companies such as Microsoft and Google.
Our program provides safe, fun, technologically current, useful and widely varied activities and exercises, such as cloud-based access to shared files and applications, use of open-source software for graphic design and web design, audio visual production, programming desktop publishing, animation, smart phone/tablet usage, robots, geocaching/GPS technology and social media – supporting attendees of multiple skill levels and encouraging non-structured time to explore specific technologies. Teaching technology solely within a school setting is often very structured and inflexible, which can mean some students are left behind, and some are not challenged enough. Keeping up with changing technologies is also a challenge for some educational institutions, both due to the slow change of curriculum, and the cost to upskill staff and procure new technologies. Having volunteers who work with technology and emerging technology daily makes for a credible program that can move beyond the abstract utility of technology and show real-world applications. We’ve structured Technology Goddesses™ so that there is give and take and equality among participants, regardless of age or position – the ideas of individual girls can impact the program with an agility not often seen in conventional class rooms.
Improving diversity and inclusion motivates Jacobs in both hiring practices and internal programs. In an effort to balance the age diversity of our workforce, we provide internships to hundreds of students around the world, with a mutual hope of future employment. Our recruiters are active at many of the world’s engineering schools.
Jacobs has an internal social network called JacobsConnect, on which the many formal and informal affinity groups have spaces and can share ideas with the global Jacobs community. Our established Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), such as the Women’s Network and JacobsFuture (for new grads), have spaces, as do groups of people with common interests, such as “Engaging Youth in STEM” group. This space is for inviting involvement, promoting activities, and sharing ideas and educational resources for our STEM volunteers around the world. Many of the clients we support are pleased and often impressed by the volunteer work we do around the world, as their desire to show corporate social responsibility aligns with ours.
Mentoring is fundamental to our growth as professionals, and we believe mentoring benefits both the mentor and the protégé. The support we provide to STEM education programs is a natural extension of this philosophy. We have both formal and informal mentoring programs, including giving some of our millennials the opportunity to be executive interns for two year assignments. Our Global IT function has a group mentoring construct in place called Cross Functional IT Mentoring teams – teams that meet together (virtually, as participants are from all over the world) for one hour a month for either 6 months or 12 months, following a scripted set of meetings to help them to get to know themselves and each other and grow in their careers. Global IT also has a monthly series called “Leadership in Work and Life”, a mentoring series that covers technical, business or self-enrichment topics, including Town Halls with executives such as the Chairman and the CEO.
At Jacobs, we truly believe that people are our greatest asset, and are always looking to retain and attract current and future employees.
Jacobs is one of the world’s largest and most diverse providers of engineering professional services; in fact the disciplines we apply to our customers’ projects represent an extremely wide coverage of STEM disciplines, from environment engineering, aeronautical engineering, pharma-bio, etc. We provide STEM educational opportunities and activities that interest students in the possibilities of future careers with our company. We are involved in multiple interactive approaches to interest young people in all aspects of STEM; ranging from K-12 students, to internships, apprentice programs, and Jacobs “STEM ambassadors”. One of the programs is the Technology GoddessesTM, a unique program that builds upon the work of the Girl Scouts of the USA. Internally, our Jacobs Future Network targets our younger employees, providing a strong platform for professional networking and development of early career skills. The combination of these initiatives resulted in our 2013 recognition with ComputerWorld’s “Engaging Youth in IT” Award.