May 28, 2009

National Center for Women & Information Technology Award Recognizes Women IT Entrepreneurs

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) today announced the winner of its first annual NCWIT Symons Innovator Award, Anousheh Ansari.

Ms. 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 formerly 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 and drive commercialization of the space industry.

The NCWIT Symons Innovator Award honors an outstanding woman who has successfully grown and funded an IT business.  The Award is named in memory of Jeanette Symons, founder of Industrious Kid, Zhone Technologies, and Ascend Communications. An award ceremony recognizing Anousheh Ansari and honoring Jeanette Symons will take place on May 11, 2009, in Atherton, California.

“By recognizing successful IT entrepreneurs who happen to be women, we hope to inspire more women to pursue entrepreneurship in IT,” said Lucy Sanders, NCWIT Co-founder and CEO.

In addition to the NCWIT Symons Innovator Award, NCWIT publicizes outstanding IT entrepreneurship through “Entrepreneurial Heroes,” a podcast series featuring interviews with notable women IT entrepreneurs (available free at iTunes). “Heroes” profiled in the interview series include Jessica Jackley, Co-founder of Kiva; Judy Estrin, President and CEO of Packet Design, LLC; Ping Fu, President and CEO of Geomagic; Heidi Roizen, CEO of Skinny Songs; Selina Tobaccowala, Co-founder of Evite; Kim Polese, CEO of SpikeSource, Inc.; Donna Auguste, Founder of Freshwater Software; Helen Greiner, Co-founder of iRobot Corp.; Elaine Wherry, Co-founder of; and many more.


NCWIT is the National Center for Women & Information Technology, a non-profit coalition of over 170 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and nonprofits working to improve U.S. innovation, competitiveness, and workforce sustainability by increasing women's participation in IT. NCWIT's work spans K-12 and higher education through industry and academic careers. NCWIT members include ACM, Anita Borg Institute, AT&T, Avaya, Bank of America, Boehringer Ingelheim, Catalyst, Carnegie Mellon, Cisco, CRA,  Dillard, Girl Scouts of the USA, Georgia Tech, Google, Harvey Mudd, HP, Intel, IBM, Kauffman Foundation, Marriott, MIT, Microsoft, Motorola, NSF, University of Texas at El Paso, Pfizer, Princeton, Qualcomm, Society of Women Engineers, Spelman College, Stanford University, Sun Microsystems, University of Colorado, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Irvine, University of Washington, Virginia Tech, Wal-Mart, and many more. Find out more at