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News Release

IEEE Students, Young Professionals Learn Valuable Lessons, Have Great Time at First IEEE-USA Future Leaders Forum

WASHINGTON (1 August 2016) -- IEEE Student Members and Young Professionals heard from one of the original creators of the Internet and learned that it's OK to fail at the inaugural IEEE-USA Future Leaders Forum.

Staged Thursday night through Saturday at Tulane University, the event attracted more than 285 IEEE members and others from around the world. Its major themes were inspire, solve, empower, adapt, lead and connect.

Dr. Vinton Cerf, a Google vice president and chief Internet evangelist, sent a buzz through the crowd as opening plenary speaker. Being a principal Internet architect, the IEEE Fellow had everyone's attention. He shared that one of his bosses at Google won't let him leave.

"I was told by Eric Schmidt that I'm not allowed to retire," Cerf related. "I said, 'Why not?' He said, 'Because you're only half done. Only 50 percent of the world is online. You have another 50 percent to go.'"

IEEE-USA President Pete Eckstein was pleased with the interplay between presenters and audience.

"I was very impressed, not just with the speakers but with the quality of the attendees. They were really terrific," Eckstein said. "They were very attentive, really absorbing the material. Several of them came up to thank me as a representative of the conference organizers for putting on the program.

"All the comments I heard were positive."

The Future Leaders Forum began with a dinner cruise on the Steamboat Natchez. Friday night featured dinner at Mardi Gras World. The Chris Washburne Ragtime Band entertained event participants with jazz music.

Bandleader and trombonist Dr. Chris Washburne is associate professor of music and founding director of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program at New York's Columbia University.

He explained how jazz originated in the United States from the creative minds and souls of freed slaves. He added that his band doesn't practice together because jazz performances are completely original. Band members feed off the audience and one another during a show and adapt accordingly.

Washburne's key message was that it's OK to fail. "I would like to see a resume of failures rather than one of achievement," he said. "We learn a lot more by failing than by succeeding."

Washburne's pronouncement echoed that of Nancy Martin's. She is manager, technical development at the GE Global Research Center in Niskayuna, N.Y. GE employs more than 55,000 technologists.

"I agree with the message of it being OK when you fail," said Paulina Barreto, a rising sophomore industrial engineering major at Louisiana State University. "I really like Nancy Martin, how she said, 'I'm a recovering perfectionist.'

"I could really relate to that."

IEEE-USA will likely stage a Future Leaders Workshop in 2017 followed by the second Future Leaders Forum in 2018. Many longtime IEEE-USA meeting attendees think the New Orleans forum was perhaps the finest event the organization has ever produced.

"Hopefully a lot of these people will come back and continue to enhance their careers," Eckstein said. "I'd like to see a whole bunch of new faces in two years."

IEEE-USA serves the public good and promotes the careers and public policy interests of nearly 200,000 engineering, computing and technology professionals who are U.S. members of IEEE.

Contact: Chris McManes
IEEE-USA Public Relations Manager





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