There were a few things about me in my 20s that remain true today:

  • I think outside the box and am a visionary
  • I hate paperwork

This presented a unique situation for me as I started my corporate career at IBM. I entered that world in a very unconventional way, starting with a summer job as a security guard. But, being the visionary that I am, I didn’t really see myself in that role, even though that IS what I was hired to do. Instead, I had a more professional view of myself and showed up to work that first day wearing a dress and heels. To say the security department manager was shocked was an understatement. He reluctantly sent me out to the parking lots to give tickets. The next day I dressed the same and this time that had me fill in as receptionist. Day three I became the assistant to the manager. Plan working.

It was working well except for one little detail: I was a lousy secretary. I couldn’t type and loathed filing. And paperwork in general. Thankfully that visionary trait kept me going and got me all the way to being the secretary to the site general manager. While there, transcribing a dictated letter one day (oh yes, I once told a boss I didn’t do dictation…), I had an idea. Why do you need me as a middle person? Why not just talk to your computer and have IT transcribe it? Mind you, this was 1982 and there were not even PCs yet. So, after doing some copying in the copy room with the other secretaries, I marched down to the engineering department to see the father of a guy I was dating. I told him my idea and asked him if it was possible to design a chip (that was what he did) to do that. He smiled at me and assured me that no, that is not possible today. Dejected, I went back to my typewriter and plotted my next move.

Rest assured, nearly 20-year career at IBM did not include much more of the administrative ranks. And I went on to start a work/life balance initiative in the mid-90s, then left IBM to found a women’s center and co-working space in the mid 2000s and now am prophesizing about the concept of women being the SUPERB beings that will change this world.

My ideas may not all come to fruition, but why not dream? Change does not come from staying the same or being afraid to take risks. Change starts with maybe an annoyance and a thought of “does it have to be this way?” Change starts with YOU.

Too bad I didn’t patent that voice translation thing.