Dinny Stearns Taylor
Dinny graduated from Connecticut College in 1968 with a B.A. in psychology. Soon after, she got married and moved to Boston to teach elementary school while pursuing her master's degree in education. In 1973, when her first child was nine months old, she and her family moved to Williamstown, Massachusetts, where her husband began teaching at Williams College. Apart from occasional short-term work, Dinny stayed home with her two children for the next ten years. "I had no overall plan for what life was going to look like, work or no work." However, recalling how she felt inspired by a computer programming class she took in college, she enrolled in some courses and explored the field by talking to local companies about their hiring needs and goals.
During her husband's sabbatical, the family moved temporarily to North Carolina, where Dinny landed her first programming job. Returning to Williamstown, she leveraged this experience into a full-time introductory programming analyst position at Williams. Dinny loved the work and the challenges it presented. "Four of us were working on this big project together and no one was stepping up to the plate to lead [it], so I stepped up. Motherhood is one of the best preparations for project management. You need skills in communication, organization, time management, and managing different personalities." This leadership experience led to more and more senior roles, and over time she found that her combination of technical and administrative management skills made her unique among her peers. "As openings came along, my administrative skills made me a clear candidate. Williams conducted searches for all these positions, but I was able to come out on top and get the job."
Only in hindsight did Dinny view the arc of her numerous programming jobs - dating back to 1983-as a full-fledged career. About the role her self-confidence played as she moved up in seniority, she commented, "My initial success increased my confidence as I was going along, and that enabled me to do more things. Once I was working, I realized I had these leadership skills as well as technical skills. When I began leading projects, I discovered a skill set I didn't even know I had." In August 2001, Dinny was appointed Chief Technology Officer of Williams College, having already served in that position in an interim capacity for nearly two years. As CTO, she oversees a team of 40 people across diverse technology initiatives on campus.
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