Lucy Simon Rakov has had a lifelong passion for mathematics, winning awards for math in high school and going on to obtain a math degree from Wellesley College. In 1960, one year after her graduation, she took a job with IBM as a member of the NASA Project Mercury Space Computing Team. This team of 100 mathematicians (eleven of whom were women) created the first flight tracking system that used real-time data from a space capsule to calculate a flight pattern and manage a space mission.
Rakov worked on other space missions with IBM, including the NASA Apollo project, before going back to school at the MIT Sloan School of Management. She then founded her own information technology business, Lucy Systems, Inc. (LSI), which she ran for 27 years. LSI provided information management consulting services for small businesses in the knowledge-based services sector. Rakov appreciated the flexibility of entrepreneurship, which allowed her to make time for both her family and her career.