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GirlGeek of the Week
January 2001

Elaine Chandler

Liz Clark

While serving in the US Army in West Germany in the mid-70s, Liz Clark interfaced with a mainframe to do her job in military intelligence and ended up teaching co-workers how to use the system. From then on, every job Liz had involved computers, training others, and trying new applications. She left the Army and become a Navy government employee, where she established a Training Division for the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA in the late 80s. Her work was very much focused on computer training and computer applications.

The emergence of the Web allowed Liz to combine her creative and organizational talents. After a few years of building sites most of her work friends were other geeks. Eventually, Liz transferred to the IT division and created sites for offices all over the base. All along she knew she needed to move to San Jose to pursue her career more seriously. When a close friend was hired for intranet web development at Cisco, Liz took the plunge, applied, and left the government after 20 years to take a job at Cisco.

When did you first discover your love and/or obsession with computers and technology?

I was on active duty in the US Army, working as a Russian Intercept Operator at a base in West Germany in the mid-70s. We did our military intelligence reporting work on a mainframe, where I discovered an affinity and love for working with computers and teaching others to work with them.

How do you earn a living?

The traditional answer is that I'm a web developer/technical writer at Cisco Systems. The real answer is that I keep gravitating to new areas of interest, combining the new interests with old ones (such as combining web development with my former career as a trainer) so that each new job/career folds naturally into and enhances the next one. I wonder what I'll be doing in 5 years?

Do you consider yourself a Geek?

But of course!

What is your favorite Website? I always find what I need through their search engine and they don't clutter up their site with junk or ads!

What do you do when you are not working?

Play guitar and sing, attend theater and concerts, ride my bike, watch movies, ski, cook, read, hike, garden, visit with family and friends, play with my two birds, and best of all, talk, laugh, play and relax with my wonderful boyfriend (who I found on-line, of course!).

What's your motto?

Follow your passion in your work and your life; you may learn some hard lessons but you won't wonder "what if?"

Who would play you in a movie about your life?

My sister Laura, who followed her dreams to be a singer/actress in NYC.

What would be the title of your autobiography?

LifeSongs From the Heart

Who is the person you most admire?

Anyone who dares to follow their dreams.

When and where were you the happiest?

Right now I feel I'm at my strongest and happiest. More specifically, playing my guitar and singing folk songs around a campfire in Yosemite over Labor Day this year.

If you could have one super power what would it be?

Is needing less sleep a super-power? That would be handy!


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