Anita Borg influenced my life in an unexpected way. She organized a conference, “The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women and Computing,” which I attended in 1997.

I thought I had overcome the feeling of being an alien in the workplace. Perhaps you know what it is like, to look around the room at a meeting and feel alone in a roomful of people. Or to talk seriously to someone and then realize that they were only talking to your haircut.

This conference was unique. It wasn’t just a women’s conference. It was a technical conference. Over a few days, I listened to more women speak publicly about gory technical details than I had in my lifetime.

I caught myself thinking… I could do that. And I thought that it had never occurred to me that I couldn’t.

Anita Borg died last week. You can read more about her on the pages of the Institute for Women and Technology.