Telle Whitney

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Telle Whitney
Telle Whitney at Anita Borg event.jpg
Telle Whitney in 2010
Alma mater

BS in Computer Science from the University of Utah,

Ph.D. in Computer Science from Caltech
Occupation CEO and President of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology

Telle Whitney is CEO and President of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. A computer scientist by training, she cofounded the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing with Anita Borg in 1994 and joined the Anita Borg Institute in 2002.

Early life[edit]

Telle Whitney was born in 1956 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Raised in a Mormon family descended from Brigham Young, she moved to Southern California when she was 7, and then back to Utah when she was 15 after her mother died.[1] Her father was a lawyer and her mother was a housewife who returned to school to be a history teacher.

Education and early career[edit]

Whitney received a bachelor's degree in computer science from the University of Utah in 1978 and a Ph.D. in computer science from Caltech in 1985. She moved to Silicon Valley to work in the chip industry, creating chips and the software that supports them.[2] She held senior technical management positions at Actel and Malleable Technologies, as well as senior roles at several startup technology companies.[3]

Founding of the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing[edit]

In 1994, Whitney and Anita Borg founded the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference, which is the largest gathering of women in computing in the world. With simply the initial idea of creating a conference by and for women computer scientists, Borg and Whitney met over dinner, with a blank sheet of paper, having no idea how to start a conference, and started to plan out their vision. The first Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing was held in Washington, D.C., in June 1994, and brought together 500 technical women.[4] Telle Whitney described walking into the conference and being surrounded by 500 technical women as “life-changing.”[2]

Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology[edit]

In 2002, Whitney became President and CEO of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, then known as the Institute for Women and Technology. This was originally intended to be a temporary situation, while the organization searched for a replacement for Anita Borg, but ended up being a turning into a permanent role for Whitney.[5]

Under Whitney’s leadership, the Anita Borg Institute has expanded its size and programs. Since 2003, six Grace Hopper Celebrations have been held, and in 2010, the first Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing India was organized.[6][7] In addition to the Anita Borg Institute Women of Vision Awards, a new awards program has been established to recognize companies that support technical women, the Anita Borg Top Company for Technical Women Award.[8]

Other activities[edit]

In 2004, Telle Whitney co-founded the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) with Lucy Sanders and Robert Schnabel.[9] She has served as Secretary/Treasurer of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and is co-chair of the ACM Distinguished member committee. She was a member of the National Science Foundation CEOSE and CISE advisory committees, and she serves on the advisory boards of Caltech’s Information Science and Technology (IST), California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, and Illuminate Ventures. She is also a member of the Forbes Executive Women’s Board.[3][10]


In 2008, Telle Whitney received the Women’s Venture Fund Highest Leaf Award.[11] Telle Whitney received the ACM Distinguished Service Award in 2009.[12] She received the Marie Pistilli Women in Electronic Design Automation (EDA) Achievement Award in 2009.[13] In 2009, she was named one of San Jose Business Journal’s Top 100 Women of Influence.[14] In 2011, she was named to Fast Company’s Most Influential Women in Technology list.[15]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "Telle Whitney and Greg Papadopoulis Interview pt1". Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. 30 May 2008. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Telle Whitney". ACM-W. ACM. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  4. ^ "Anita Borg Celebration: Changing the World for Women and Technology". Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. YouTube. 30 June 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  5. ^ Anderson, Melissa J. (11 May 2011). "Voice of Experience: Telle Whitney, CEO and President, Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology". Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  6. ^ Colborn, Kate (Winter 2010 – Spring 2011). "Grace Hopper Celebration sells out in Atlanta". Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Colborn, Kate (December 2008 – January 2009). "2008 Grace Hopper Celebration: "We build a better world"". Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  8. ^ Barrett, Jerri (26 May 2011). "Anita Borg Institute Women of Vision Awards: Inspiration for All". ValleyZen. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  9. ^ Cohoon, J. McGrath (March 2011). "NCWIT Offers Community, Resources, and Results". Computing Research News. Computing Research Association. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  10. ^ "Who We Are: Telle Whitney". Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  11. ^ Titlebaum, Jessica (24 July 2008). "Highest Leaf Awards Expand to Chicago". The Glass Hammer. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  12. ^ Moshe Y. Vardi, ed. (June 2009). "Whitney recognized for distinguished service". Communications of the ACM. 14: Association for Computing Machinery. 52 (6): 106. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  13. ^ Taylor, Emily (1 June 2009). "Dr. Telle Whitney Receives Marie R. Pistilli Award for Contributions to the Advancement of Women in EDA" (PDF). Design Automation Conference. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  14. ^ "Silicon Valley Women of Influence recognized". Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal. American City Business Journals, LLC. 19 March 2009. 
  15. ^ Schwartz, Ariel (2011). "Telle Whitney". Retrieved 30 June 2011.