The women inspiring Eniac
By Tim Young, Founding General Partner
For too long women have not received the recognition they deserved for discovering, inventing, building, inspiring across all industries and sectors. We know the stories of Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart, Joan of Arc, Margaret Sanger and Rosa Parks, but there still remain millions of women who have been instrumental to shaping the world whose stories are untold.
In celebration of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, the Eniac team wanted to honor the women in our lives who inspire us daily and the two women from history that were the inspiration behind one of our designs.
If you visit our new website or offices, you will recognize her as Rosie the Riveter in her famous pose. But if you look closer, you’ll see she is rendered in the first computer program code that was written by Ada Lovelace more than 100 years ago — the early foundation of most of our code today.
We chose Rosie the Riveter because she is a cultural icon for the women who joined the workforce during WWII. Even 50 years later, her anthem of “We Can Do It” empowers women across the country. Many think of her as a fictional character, but there was a real woman behind the image. Misidentified for many years, it was not until 2015 that Naomi Parker Fraley became known for the woman behind Rosie. While her name was not recognized for most of her life, her legacy will live on.
It’s only been in recent years that Ada Lovelace’s legacy to computer science has become mainstream. A scholarly mathematician, Ada worked alongside the famous mechanical engineer, Charles Babbage, when she recognized that his designs for the Analytical Engine, an early mechanical computer, could be applied to more than just basic calculation. In 1848, she published what is now known as the first computer program. Her genius was ahead of her time, no one else published another computer program for the next century. While the project was never completed in her lifetime, her code has since been proven to work.
Together, these two women are a symbol of the impact and contributions of all women in the workplace.
Today, the team and I wanted to celebrate the stories of the special women in our lives who inspire us.
Tim Young: My mother and grandmother are two of the strongest people I have met and inspire me every day. My grandmother was an orphan during the great depression and became one of the 1st hundred women to join the U.S. Navy, serving as an Intelligence Officer during WWII. My mother, a software engineer, worked hard coding every day while raising my sister and me. She taught me to code when I was 10-years old.
Hadley Harris: I have always been inspired by my mother. As the daughter of Portuguese immigrants, Rita Harris studied hard to earned a full scholarship to Salve Regina College. After her two sons were born, she began an entry-level position at a prestigious advertising agency, Hill Holliday. Working her way up, she retired as the Executive Vice President. She was passionate about her work, but still found time to support her family. Inspired by her son Traves, she successfully led a lawsuit against the Boston Public School system for failing to meet the needs of intellectually disabled students.
Vic Singh: My grandmother raised my 5 siblings and me in Guyana and died at age 59, months after we came to America. She was the definition of strength. My mother became a mom as a teenager and bootstrapped herself, working hard to build a life as a seamstress and cake decorator until just a few years ago all while raising 6 children. My sisters helped raise me and their own families, and are always there for me. My wife is my rock, my biggest confidant, supporter, best friend, love of my life and an amazing mom — we met at age 17.
All of these women inspire me to be a better man each day. I’m grateful for my daughter Layla who stands on the shoulders of these incredible women.
Nihal Mehta: I am beyond lucky to have been surrounded by three incredibly strong women throughout my entire life: My wife Reshma, my mother Sheil, and my sister Nitasha. My mother raised me with integrity and a strong work ethic, my sister taught me how to treat women with respect, and my wife is a constant inspiration to me (and to hundreds of thousands of girls through her non-profit Girls Who Code) with her ambition, bravery, and service.