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Mary Lou Jepsen

Chief Technology Officer
One Laptop per Child
Country of origin: USA

Mary Lou JepsenWhat I do.
I led the design of the $100 laptop and co-founded the One Laptop per Child organization. It's the first fundamental revisit of the personal computer architecture in 25 years.

What I find exciting.
The chance to give children in the developing world, with little or no opportunity, a way out. While the technology has been key, this isn't a technology project - it's a project to give the poorest children in the world more opportunity, and in so doing, work on the big problems of the world: peace, poverty, the environment.

What I wish someone had told me.
I think that it all boils down to confidence. It's important to understand that when testosterone is flowing in the room, a girl or woman needs to act more confident than perhaps they are, so that their voice can be heard and they get the resources for their project, if merited. I worked on side or niche projects early on in my career to avoid conflicts and competition, but I wish I'd tried to tackle the big problems of the world sooner. I think I'm making up for lost time now.