Celebrating Women Technologists at Grace Hopper

Grace Hopper sitting with her computer at a desk in front of a window

“A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are for. Sail out to sea and do new things.”

So said Grace Hopper, a famous American mathematician, a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy, and a pioneer in computer technology development. Just a couple of her accomplishments include helping to devise the first commercial electronic computer (UNIVAC I), as well as naval applications for the COBOL programming language. Among many of her distinguished honors, she was named the first computer science “Man of the Year” by the Data Processing Management Association (1969) and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.

To celebrate her remarkable achievements, AnitaB.org hosts the world’s largest gathering of female technologists known as the annual Grace Hopper Celebration. AnitaB.org’s mission is to sustain an equitable future for women in tech by cultivating a global community that brings together next-generation talent with leading technology innovators and academics the world over.

As this year's virtual event kicked off, AnitaB.org named Capital One as one of its Top Companies for Women Technologists. As a woman who has built a career as a technologist, I can say that it’s a thrill to see that Capital One receive this recognition for our  representation of women in Tech as well as our policies and programs related to hiring, retention and advancement.

At Capital One, diversity, inclusion and belonging are valued at our core. Since 2014, we have partnered with groups like AnitaB.org and Women Who Code to empower women in tech to advance their skills and succeed in their respective careers. Through our Women in Tech business resource group, we’ve increased our targeted recruiting efforts and associate development and career progression for women technologists, including our LeadHership1 program that has accelerated the career journeys of over 100 high-potential women leaders in Tech.

As a way to give back this year, Capital One provided a unique experience for Grace Hopper attendees to join and help impart our mission to change banking for good. We donated more than 1,200 gift cards at $25 each to conference participants in support of women- and minority-owned businesses. That's $30,000 to benefit companies like:

  • Adafruit: Adafruit was founded in 2005 by MIT engineer, Limor "Ladyada" Fried. Her goal was to create the best place online for learning electronics and making the best designed products for makers of all ages and skill levels.
  • Anima Mundi Apothecary: An apothecary devoted to making vibrant and medicinally potent remedies that honor the principles of harmony and ancient formulation that have years of anecdotal and traditional evidence.
  • BLK & Bold: Provides high-quality coffees and teas with 5% of profits pledged to initiatives aligned to sustaining youth programming, enhancing workforce development, and eradicating youth homelessness.
  • Naked Bar Soap Company: Artisan soaps made with nourishing ingredients such as olive oil, coconut oil, and sustainable palm oil combined with dollops of creamy  Shea, rich Cocoa, and exotic Kokum butter scented with pure essential oils.

In addition to visiting virtual booths, Grace Hopper attendees participated in 200+ sessions and heard from 250+ speakers, including keynotes from Serena Wiliams and Megan Rapinoe. This year, nine women from across Capital One’s lines of business spoke in poster sessions, presentations and panels throughout the virtual event. Their presentations covered topics ranging from AI and Machine Learning to fighting fraud to exploring intersectionality across dimensions of Race, Gender and Ability. 

We are incredibly thankful to all of those who planned, supported and attended this year’s Grace Hopper Celebration. We hope everyone walked away with some amazing learnings and memories.

Melanie Frank, Managing Vice President, PowerUp Technology

As a Managing Vice President in PowerUp Technology at Capital One, Melanie Frank leads Associate Experience Technology for the enterprise. Her teams innovate boldly to securely empower our associates with the digital freedom to do great work every day. They effortlessly deliver solutions that allow our Associates secure and precise access when they need it and only as long as they need it. Her team obsesses over excellence because they understand that every minute matters to our Associates. Melanie has been with Capital One for over 20 years in roles of increasing responsibility within Technology. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering, and has a Masters in Systems Engineering from the University of Maryland College Park. Prior to joining Capital One in 2000, Melanie worked at Honeywell on a government contract at NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center where she tested software that conducted the scheduling, command, and control for Space Network communications satellites.

DISCLOSURE STATEMENT: © 2020 Capital One. Opinions are those of the individual author. Unless noted otherwise in this post, Capital One is not affiliated with, nor endorsed by, any of the companies mentioned. All trademarks and other intellectual property used or displayed are property of their respective owners.

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