Mainframe Blog

Women in Mainframe: The Legacy of Innovation Continues

2 minute read
John McKenny

The mainframe has a long history of female trailblazers, with a legacy that continues through to today. Several women played a crucial role in the development of COBOL. Rear Admiral Grace Hopper’s championing of a computer language based on English words led to the creation of the FLOW-MATIC language, leading to her service as a technical consultant to the committee that defined COBOL in 1959. The sub-committee which created most of the new language’s specifications included both Gertrude Tierney of IBM and Jean E. Sammet of Sylvania.

At BMC, we’re proud of our history of continuous innovation and, as Women’s History Month winds down, it’s a great opportunity to reflect on the women who have carried on the legacy of Grace Hopper, Gertrude Tierney, Jean Sammet, and others by receiving patents for the innovations they contributed to BMC’s solutions.

Being recognized for unique and groundbreaking contributions is quite an honor and a source of pride for the rest of one’s career. Senior Product Manager Irene Ford received patents in 2007 and 2010 for solutions that enable customers to mask sensitive data without writing custom programs. Reflecting on the experience, Irene says, “As I look back on this today, I am proud to have been able to work so closely with our amazing development team not only on these patents but also on the work we do every day to make our tools better for our customers.”

Twelve women have been granted patents for their mainframe innovations at BMC:

Linda S. Ball (2001, 2006 & 2010)
Carla C. Birk (1997 & 2001)
Donna M Di Carlo (2012)
Linda C. Elliott (2000)
Irene Ford (2007 & 2010)
Carol Harper (1988, 1989 & 1992)
Roxanne Kallman (2020)
Karen Nelson-Katt (1998)
Lisa S. Keeler (2000)
Annette B. McCall (1995)
Melody Vos (2005, 2006, 2007, 2012, 2015)
Lori Walbeck (2020)

Also of note, there are currently pending patent applications for Catherine Drummond, Roxanne Kallman, Lori Walbeck, and Wenjie Zhu.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to recognize our colleagues from other business units who have received patents:

Tamar Admon (2013)
Kalpa Ashhar (2016 & 2018)
Jiani Chen (2015, 2017, 2019 & 2020)
Kanika Dhyani (2015, 2016 & 2020)
Priyanka Jain (2020)
Nitsan Daniel Lavie (2019, 2020)
Donna S. Lowe-Cleveland (2005)
Pallavi Phadke (2018 & 2019)
Soumee Phatak (2020)
Carol Rathrock (1998)
Komal K. Shah (2014)
Annie Shum (2008)
Jeyashree Sivasubramanian (2016, 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021)
Cynthia L. Sturgeon (2006, 2014, 2017)

Patent filings for Nitsan Daniel Lavie, Gwendolyn Curlee and Maribeth Carpenter are currently pending.

At BMC, we’re proud of our history of innovation and of the role that our female employees have played in making that innovation possible. We look forward to continuing to create solutions that serve our customers and move the industry forward with contributions from both current employees and future generations.

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These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

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About the author

John McKenny

As SVP and General Manager of Intelligent Z Optimization and Transformation at BMC Software, John leads the R&D, Product Management and Solutions Marketing teams to innovate the mainframe to meet the needs of today’s evolving digital economy. John has over 25 years of management experience at BMC alone and, prior to joining, he led various IT management teams and strategies for 15 years in the transportation and insurance industries.