Kimberly “Kim” Stevenson is corporate vice president and Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Intel Corporation. Her IT organization capitalizes on information technology to accelerate Intel’s quest to bring smart, connected devices to every person on Earth. More than 6,000 worldwide IT professionals are protecting Intel’s assets, driving competitive advantage, and providing IT solutions under Stevenson’s leadership.
Stevenson currently leads the Intel Network of Executive Women (INEW) as the Subcommittee Chair for External Thought Leadership and Outreach to channel her passion for engaging girls and women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and speaks on the topic both internally and externally. She was recognized by STEMconnector® as 100 Diverse Corporate Leader, who is actively contributing to incorporate more diverse STEM professionals and changing the pipeline based on strong STEM education.
Previously, Stevenson held the position of vice president and general manager of Intel’s Global IT Operations and Services, where she led both the strategic and tactical support of Intel’s worldwide infrastructure components, including data centers, network and telecommunications, enterprise application support, client computing and a 24×7 internal service desk.
Prior to joining Intel, Stevenson spent seven years at the former EDS, now HP enterprise services, holding a variety of positions including vice president of Worldwide Communications, Media and Entertainment (CM&E) Industry Practice, as well as the vice president of Enterprise Service Management, where she oversaw the global development and delivery of enterprise services. Before joining EDS, Stevenson spent 18 years at IBM in several executive positions including vice president of Marketing and Operations of the eServer iSeries division.
In 2014, Stevenson won numerous awards including Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Best CIO, an Evanta Top 10 Breakaway Leader, Huffington Post’s Most Social CIO as well as the CIO 100 award by CIO.com for four years in a row.
Stevenson earned a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University and holds a master’s degree in business administration from Cornell University. She serves on the board of directors of Cloudera.
By 2020, there will be more than 1.4 million computing-related job openings in the U.S. At current rates, we can only fill 30 percent of those jobs with qualified U.S. candidates, and only five to six percent of those candidates will be women.1 Understanding the reasons for this deficit of women in tech is a hot research topic, and a serious contributing factor appears to be a “leaky pipe.” Meaning, the problem starts early.
Research shows that as girl’s progress through school, their interest in math and science diminishes, while the opposite is true for boys. Specifically, 55 percent of girls between the ages of 15 to 18 are attracted to engineering, which is about even with their male counterparts. But that number drops to 46 percent of women between the ages of 23 to 25, who are attracted to engineering, compared to 62 percent of men.2
Women actively pursue higher education; and they are the major purchasers of consumer electronics. But not enough of them are creating technology. Case in point, Forty-eight percent of global college grads are women, however, only 18 percent of engineering grads are women.3 Even more puzzling, while 18 percent of engineering degrees are awarded to women, only 13 percent pursue an engineering career.4
Here begins the problem referred to as the leaky pipeline. At each step of personal decisions and career advancement, more women than men fall off the technical career track.
That’s not to say women don’t have a proud history of creating break-through technology; they absolutely do! Fran Allen pioneered the field of optimizing compliers. Dr. Shirley Jackson created the break through that enabled touch tone phones, caller ID and call waiting. Radia Perlman created the spanning tree protocol fundamental to network bridges. Sophie Wilson designed the Acorn Micro-Computer, and I could go on.
At Intel we’re investing to build a pipeline of underrepresented engineers and computer scientists, all the while fostering the hiring and inclusion for women and underrepresented minorities within the company. We’re funding programs to stop this leaking pipeline and to get more women on the technical career track.
For example, In March 2015, Intel, Rebecca Minkoff, and UN Women announced an effort to expand the pipeline of female engineers, support positive representations of opportunities for women in technology, and connect women around the world to opportunities to learn and lead through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and careers.
Intel also invests in a wide range of STEM initiatives, including Intel’s science fairs (Intel Science Talent Search and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair), maker faires, and the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network. Intel has also partnered with organizations such as Girls Who Code, TechGYRLS @ TechShop, and NCWIT Aspire that are providing fully immersive experiences for girls with hands-on projects that they choose to work on and find personally relevant and meaningful. These programs also do an excellent job of incorporating peer and “near-peer” role models with exposure to real professionals excelling in these careers.
Efforts to bring more women into technology doesn’t just benefit them individually, it’s also smart business. Teams with both women and men are more profitable and innovative. Studies have found that mixed-gender teams produced information technology patents that are cited 26 percent to 42 percent more often than the norm, according to NCWIT. In his 2013 annual letter to shareholders, Warren buffet wrote, “Imagine what will happen when we go full blast with 100 percent. It’s incumbent on everybody to try to help people achieve their potential. And women have every bit the potential men do.”
However, big companies cannot solve this alone. All of us need to pitch in and provide early positive experiences with computing activities by getting involved with organizations like Girls Who Code – a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in the technology and engineering sectors or participating in events like the Maker Faires.
The technology industry has demonstrated courage by stepping up to this issue and taking action. We’re trying new things and learning as we go. Some things will work, others may not, but success can only come from trying. Just look at the courageous example of Malala Yousafzai who risked her life to promote education for girls in her country and, in doing so, ignited a global movement and won her the Nobel Peace Prize. If a teenager like Malala can make a difference, we can too.