Our Favorite Geek

Bill Moggridge, Marissa Mayer, Caroline Baumann

This week Cooper-Hewitt trustee Marissa Mayer received a 2010 Matrix Award from New York Women in Communications, a not-for-profit organization that recognizes exceptional women who have made a profound impact in the field of communications. This year’s 2010 Matrix Award honorees and presenters included Sheryl Crow, presented by Mariska Hargitay, Tina Fey, presented by Seth Meyers, and Gayle King, presented by Oprah Winfrey. Past recipients include Arianna Huffington, Katie Couric, Meryl Streep, Nora Ephron, Ann Moore, Toni Morrison, Barbara Walters and Anna Quindlen. The extraordinary awards luncheon and ceremony, hosted by “NBC Nightly News” anchor and managing editor, Brian Williams, was peppered with incredible speeches about extraordinary women who have changed the world and made a significant impact on the communications industry.

Marissa, after being presented by Maria Bartiromo, gave a speech that celebrated geekiness with self-deprecating humor and credited her parents for encouraging her interests and innate abilities. She went on to talk about how important it was to have such a support system that ultimately helped her become one of the most influential women in technology today. Bill Moggridge, Caroline Baumann, our Associate Director, Caroline Payson, Cooper-Hewitt’s Director of Education, and I were thrilled to be present and see Marissa receive this prestigious award.

Marissa leads Google’s product management efforts on search products. She joined Google in 1999 as Google’s first female engineer and led the user interface and web server teams at that time. Her efforts have included designing and developing Google’s search interface, internationalizing the site to more than 100 languages, defining Google News, Gmail, and Orkut, and launching more than 100 features and products on Google.com. Several patents have been filed on her work in artificial intelligence and interface design.

Proceeds from the Matrix Awards Luncheon are used by New York Women in Communications to develop and maintain a full calendar of affordable programs and special events, networking and support systems for the organization’s members and the community at large. Additionally, the New York Women in Communications Foundation awards scholarships and provides educational programs for women, whether just beginning their careers or embarking on a transition in their careers.