Guest Speaker: Stories from the Great Innovator

On July 27, Lisa Seacat DeLuca visited the classroom to share her journey to becoming IBM’s most prolific female inventor. With over 550 patents filed, and 250 granted, DeLuca is the first woman at IBM to have earned the company’s 100th Invention Plateau Award.

Much to the girls’ surprise, DeLuca revealed that she didn’t become the innovator she is by getting perfect grades in college. In fact, while earning her bachelor’s degree in computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, DeLuca was an active participant on the school’s basketball and volleyball teams. These extracurriculars were time-consuming enough that DeLuca simply didn’t have the same amount of time to study as her peers did. Standing in front of the Girls Who Code class, she admitted that she’s glad she challenged herself to persevere – even if it meant sacrificing perfect grades. “I didn’t want to get all A’s,” she said. “I wanted to be happy with my career.”

In her role as a technology strategist at IBM, DeLuca is indeed content with her career. In addition to her job at IBM and her plethora of patents, DeLuca is also the author of two children’s books and a keynote speaker. The latter has helped her fulfill her goal of empowering young women to take risks. DeLuca insists that the girls will achieve success by “being willing to say yes. Challenging yourself and doing something that makes you uncomfortable.”

To cap off her visit, DeLuca reminded the class that there is no limit to what they can create, as long as they’re willing to stretch themselves.