Eileen Kessler

Tell us your story.

I was drawn to technology in grade school in the 1950s–yes, a long time ago! My father was an avid 8mm filmmaker and I would show movies of his trips to Europe to my 4th grade class. I knew how to operate the projector and always felt comfortable with the technical side of communications. In college, I gained tech skills working on the daily newspaper at the University of Maryland. We set type digitally…just out of the stone ages of hot type…and this was my training ground for tech production in printing. I started my design firm in the late 70’s and was one of the first companies to accept text via telephone transmission…before the internet… and the fax machine. We invested heavily in graphics equipment, both for typography and photo work, then moved into digital printing and web design. I have always been inspired by the end result..how to make a beautiful product, and putting a good team together to do it. I’m still captivated by the interplay between design and technology. And I will always think of our work as a craft, one that improves over time. For me, the magical quality— seeing an idea take shape and the effect it has in the world— are key motivators. I see technology as a tool to achieve good things. No matter whether the tool is analog or digital, you need people who are creative and intentional to use these tools to transform ideas into worthwhile products.

What do you most want other women and young girls to know about being a woman in our digital culture?

Follow your passion. If you love what you do, work will seem more like play and you will look forward to every day. It’s always possible to develop your knowledge and skills if you have a driving interest to express yourself and create, whether you are an artist or a scientist. As Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Be open to new ideas, people, and follow your intuition. Put your time in developing relationships with people who support your vision and will help you grow. Think of everything you do as a stepping stone to the next level of knowledge.

Pass it on! Who has inspired you, and who do you hope to inspire?

I would like to inspire creative people around me to do their best work. I’ve been very inspired by our customers who are doing fantastic work in non-profits and government to bring change throughout society. Witnessing the changes in human rights, the environment, and the transformation of our city over the past 40 years has been most inspiring to me. Hardworking, imaginative and positive people lead the way.

The Women in Tech campaign exists to help redefine what women in technology means in the 21st century. Started independently by a group of professional women who, after many impassioned discussions about women in tech knew we wanted to expand this definition beyond ‘traditional’ technology skills. To us, it includes most every current, emerging or evolving role within an organization. By featuring leaders and emerging leaders across industries who embody this we hope to collectively ‘stand up’, be proud of our place in the digital world and inspire young women or those new to the ‘tech space’ to get involved.

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