Please join us in congratulating the winner of the first annual NCWIT Symons Innovator Award, Anousheh Ansari.
The NCWIT Symons Innovator Award honors an outstanding woman who has successfully grown and funded an IT business. This new Award, created by the NCWIT Entrepreneurial Alliance, was designed to honor and promote women in IT entrepreneurship. It is named in memory of Jeanette Symons: founder of Industrious Kid, Zhone Technologies, and Ascend Communications.
Anousheh Ansari is Chair, CEO, and Co-founder of Prodea Systems, a company addressing the challenges of complex digital home and small-business environments. Prior to founding Prodea Systems, Ms. Ansari served as Co-founder, Chair, and CEO of Telecom Technologies, Inc., which in 2001 successfully merged with Sonus Networks, Inc., in a deal worth approximately $750M. Ms. Ansari also is the first woman private explorer in space and the first astronaut of Iranian descent. The Ansari family provided title sponsorship for the Ansari X Prize, a $10 million award to inspire the first non-governmental, manned spacecraft, driving the commercialization of the space industry.
The art for the NCWIT Symons Innovator Award was created through a harmonious mash-up of high-tech and low-tech. We used Wordle, a Java-based web application, to create a word cloud using text from interview transcripts of the NCWIT Entrepreneurial Heroes podcast series, in which both Anousheh and Jeanette participated. The Wordle design was then hand-colored and hand-printed on a traditional Platen letterpress by Allison Bozeman (pictured above) of Bird Dog Press, who works with post-consumer recycled paper from her wind-powered studio in Lyons, Colorado. Allison blogged beautifully about the experience of creating the Award art, here.
For guests of the award ceremony on May 11, we’ve also commissioned commemorative wine from Bookcliff Vineyards, a Boulder, Colorado-based winery that blends tradition with technology. Husband-and-wife team John and Ulla Mertz bring an engineering background and a PhD in computer science to the blending of grapes in a Colorado region where wine has been cultivated since the turn of the century. We’re excited to shine a spotlight on women tech entrepreneurs with the NCWIT Symons Innovator Award, and so pleased with the incredible local artists who helped us make the award a beautiful merger of art and technology.