Renee Harbers Liddell
As one of the few female engineering students in her UMass Amherst graduating class, Renee went on to a successful career at Microsoft and became an inspiration for women in a male-dominated field.
When I graduated from UMass, unemployment was about 10%, but I had an engineering degree. So at graduation, I had about five job offers in my pocket and I got a job at Wang Laboratories, who at that time was the market leader in stand-alone word processing units. That experience gave me connections in the manufacturing process simulation software industry. I then moved to Seattle and got a job at a small company called Microsoft. I started there in 1988. There were roughly 2,000 employees. It was a magical experience. We were young and passionate about the idea of a computer on every desktop and in every home. thirty years ago in the engineering department at the University of Massachusetts when I was there, the undergraduate population of engineering students was only 15% women. If you look at the top-paying undergraduate degrees in the United States, 10 out of 10 end in the word "engineering." Why should that opportunity be only available to men? My UMass education means potential and opportunity to me. From that springboard, I worked for one of the major marvels of technological innovation, I've seen the world, and I've had impact beyond what I've ever imagined. My name is Renee Harbers. I'm founder and CEO of Harbers Family Foundation. I stand for women in engineering, and I stand for UMass.