We talk to Intel’s first Irish female vice-president, Ann Kelleher. Appointed vice-president in 2011, Kelleher is responsible for Intel’s Technology and Manufacturing Group and is co-general manager of Fab Sort Manufacturing, where she is responsible for seven Intel plants and a workforce of 13,500 in Ireland, the US, China and Israel.
The Macroom, Co Cork, native graduated from UCC in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and she completed a master’s degree in 1989. In 1993, she became the first ever female to receive a PhD from the NMRC (now the Tyndall Institute) at UCC.
Kelleher lives in New Mexico but spends most of her time in the air, shuttling between the various Intel manufacturing plants.
She joined Intel in Leixlip, Co Kildare, in 1996 as a process engineer.
Kelleher shares responsibility for Intel’s manufacturing facilities around the world with Steve Megli, her co-general manager. They manage around 13,500 people and a lot of Kelleher’s daily business involves travelling to individual sites in Ireland, China, Israel, New Mexico, Arizona, Hudson and Portland.
In an interview with Siliconrepublic.com, Kelleher said: “A lot of my time is spent planning for the future, planning what the business needs of our group will be for the future, looking at things from an efficiency perspective and how on a day-to-day basis we can build on our strength of knowledge that tomorrow will be better. Even though we have excellent manufacturing processes today, you can never stop improving it,” Kelleher said.
For Intel, which on 16 April reported first-quarter revenues of US$12.6bn, preparing for the future is essential. The very idea of computing is shifting from the personal computers on desks at work to portable smartphones and tablets, all of which drink down their knowledge from an intricate tapestry of data centres, known as the cloud. It is Intel’s intention to have its chips in every device along the way, from the smartphones to the tablets and the servers in the data centres.
“If you look at our road map over the next 10 years, it is absolutely full of options in terms of staying with Moore’s Law. We are currently running at 22nm technology and 14nm is on track to arrive at the end of 2013. We are absolutely on track and we have a full pipeline of innovation on the way.”
Women leading the tech industry
As a female in an industry perceived to be male-dominated, Kelleher believes women professionals need to be more positive and apply for senior positions; echoing the sentiment expressed by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and author of Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead.
Kelleher said: “Often women tend to put psychological roadblocks in front of themselves and maybe don’t always see opportunities.
“The key is realising that the roadblocks may not be real and helping women to realise that opportunities are available for everyone.
“Sometimes I think women in our industry tend to stand back and say ‘sure, I wouldn’t get the job anyway’ rather than thinking ‘you know what, I may actually be the best person for this job.’
“I think women, particularly in the technology industry, need to be more positive in terms of putting their hats in the ring and just going for it.” Clearly Kelleher has proven her own thesis.
Part 1 of video interview with Intel’s first Irish female vice-president, Ann Kelleher
Part 2 of video interview with Intel’s first Irish female vice-president, Ann Kelleher
Women Invent Tomorrow is Silicon Republic’s year-long campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths