Judith Estrin, CEO of JLABS, LLC (Menlo Park, Calif.)
A conversation with EE Times
CEO, JLABS, LLC
: What is the greatest accomplishment, pride in your career?
Judy Estrin: I have been fortunate to have a career full of interesting endeavors including co-founding multiple companies, being CTO at Cisco during the height of the growth of the Internet, sitting on the board of directors of several large corporations and writing a book about innovation. I would have to say that the two highlights were starting our first company, Bridge Communications and writing my book, Closing the Innovation Gap.
EE Times: You are what we call a "Woman of Vision". Can you describe the "vision" that has motivated your professional decisions and choices? Are you still implementing it or have you changed direction?
Estrin: I would not say that I have been driven by a single vision, but that each company was motivated by a passion. In each case we had a vision, seeing the potential to help people or companies to improve the way they operated through use of new technology. Writing the book was driven by a similar passion - the desire to communicate challenges we face and how they can be addressed.
EE Times: Would you say that the visibility of women in technological fields has been improving, albeit slowly?
Estrin: I do think it is improving slowly, but partly because of a shift of emphasis to life sciences and consumer technology, both of which are fields that have attracted more woman that traditional IT.
EE Times: What should be done to encourage more women to become masters of technology and science and take on greater roles in tech in general?
Estrin: I believe that it starts with changing our education system, keeping girls engaged and excited about science and technology. We need to make sure that we communicate how important science and technology is to our quality of life - that it really makes a difference.
Judy Estrin is CEO of JLABS, LLC, formerly known as Packet Design Management Company, LLC. She is the author of Closing the Innovation Gap, published in September, 2008.
Prior to co-founding Packet Design, in May 2000, Estrin was chief technology officer for Cisco Systems. Beginning in 1981 Estrin co-founded three other successful technology companies: Bridge Communications, Network Computing Devices, and Precept Software. In 1998 Cisco Systems acquired Precept, and she became Cisco's chief technology officer until April 2000.
Estrin has been named three times to Fortune Magazine's list of the 50 most powerful women in American business. She sits on the boards of directors of The Walt Disney Company and FedEx Corporation as well as the privately held Packet Design, Inc. She also sits on the advisory councils of Stanford's School of Engineering and Stanford's Bio-X initiative.
She holds a B.S. degree in math and computer science from UCLA, and an M.S. in electrical engineering from Stanford University.