The Gift of a Name

A few days back I realized that two women in my network should get to know each other, so I sent the folowing email:

To: Fran Allen, Susanna Kass
From: Dave Shields

You two should get to know each other. The nicest present I can give each of you is the name of the other. Enjoy!


Fran is a legendary figure in programming and compiler optimization. She is the “Allen” in “Cocke/Allen” She was IBM’s first woman Fellow (IBM’s most senior technical postion), and has worked for *decades* to encourage women to make careers in science and technology. She is also one of those rare people, like yourself, about whom it is absolutely impossible to say anything bad.


I met Susanna when she was at Palamida. The OSSC did an evaluation of Palamida back in 2006. I spent a week in Tucson working with Storage folks on the evaluation. On her own initiative, Susanna flew from San Fran to Tuscon and brought along the CTO of Palamida to work with our engineers. I have since met with her several times when she wanted to find a way to help folks engage with IBM, notably Scott Collison, CEO of

Scott Tolliver, Palamida’s CEO, said Susanna was in the top 1% of the people he had worked with, and I agree.

I consider you both to be among my mentors, and am very happy that I can say that.


2 Trackbacks

  1. […] The Wayward Word Press WordPress gave me a blog to see how I was going to handle it « The Gift of a Name […]

  2. […] I also take this as further proof that fewer gifts are more precious than The Gift of a Name. […]

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