The 4 C’s & Anne
Curious: Curiosity drives me as a persistent problem solver.
As a profession, engineering has provided me ample opportunities to fulfill my intellectual curiosity. Asking questions lies at the foundation of curious people. How is it done? Why did that occur? What can we do differently? Who is the best source of knowledge? Where can I learn more? When can we have it done?
When my first job showed me the intricacies of integrated circuit manufacturing, I became fascinated by defects. That passion has buoyed me throughout my career in the semiconductor industry.
My colleagues share, “You always ask good questions.” In some situations, it’s probing deeper. In others it’s the healthy skepticism essential in a design review- “did you consider ….” On other occasions I ask my management tough questions. Then there are the questions that check in with colleagues “Hey, how are your other projects going?” or “What fun thing did you do over the weekend?”
Connect: Connect engineers to knowledge, seemingly disparate ideas to each other, engineers to engineers.
Creativity comes from the bumping of facts and ideas. With a remarkable memory and a slightly ADD mind I connect facts, ideas and people. Hearing a concept and then recognizing how another seemingly disparate fact may relate can lead to solving the problem. Listening to an engineer describe their work can trigger a recollection that they should check out a paper or talk to another engineer. Making these connections contributes to community.
Confident: Confident working with the ambiguity that comes with new technologies and new people to create solutions.
While people remark upon my confidence working with new technologies, I think of it as being comfortable with uncertainty. It took time to develop a calmness when working in new areas. Experience has let my mistakes increase my tolerance for ambiguity and failure. Technology roadmaps look like a straight line; yet, typically engineers achieve those milestones with side paths, detours and false starts. Such work requires a persistent problem solver which I have demonstrated by consistently bringing solutions to silicon. As an engineer I recognize that to reach the destination you need to be comfortable with the discomforts of traveling on a technology roadmap.
Care: Care about the quality of work and Care for the people I work with.
I care about the quality of my work; this requires the craftsmanship of a cabinetmaker, a watchmaker, a goldsmith. This translates to the high standards to which I hold myself and my colleagues. Such care though needs to recognize when we have reached a sufficient solution to move the project forward. In technology we need to strive for progress not perfection and quality does not require perfection.
Engineering remains a team sport. In leading teams, I care about the quality of our working relationships. My care comes in creating an environment that values everyone’s voice, respects their efforts and recognizes their talent. This ethos manifests in effective meetings for all. A manager once shared “Anne, I require this one engineer to attend your working group meeting, yet I notice that my other engineers always attend.” I took that as one of the highest compliments that I have received as a technical leader. In a work environment with too many meetings, they found value in attending our meeting.