Education and good work ethics are essential ingredients for success in life. Dr. Carol Shavers, the former Under Secretary of Commerce for Technology at the United States Department of Commerce during the Bill Clinton Administration, is living proof.
The death of a prostitute in her then South Phoenix apartment block was Shavers’ wake-up call to pursue higher education and strive to achieve her full potential.
“I needed to be qualified and I needed to make sure that I had credentials so that people could not tell me no because I was not qualified,” Shavers, the chief executive officer of Global Smarts Inc., told an audience at City Hall last week. “They would have to tell me no because I am female and I am Black.
“As long as I worked very hard to get the credentials that I needed, I got the opportunity to work with some major companies. I always felt I could do more and I constantly challenged myself. I am a human being with talent.”
Nobody could doubt her confidence when you consider the impressive professional portfolio she has built and the high-profile companies she has been associated with at very senior levels.
While on campus at Arizona State University, Motorola recruited Shavers for a program that exposed recent graduates to the semiconductor industry. After securing her Ph.D. in Solid State Chemistry, she worked at Hewlett-Packard as a process engineer and patent agent.
Inspired to become fully aware of all aspects of the semiconductor business, Shavers went to work for the Wiltron company as a start-up manager in its microelectronics section, Varian Associates, where she was the thin films application manager and Intel Corporation where she managed a $50 million portfolio and was the highest-ranking Black female employee and one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent business leaders.
Shavers joined the U.S. Department of Commerce 11 years ago where she was responsible for helping create federal science and technology policy and programs. She also oversaw the Commerce Department’s Technology administration, the Office of Technology and Policy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Technical Information Service and the Office of Space Commercialization.
“I took that federal position because I felt I could do more for an industry globally than just sitting and feeling good about my $50 million portfolio,” she said. “Technology saved my life because it gave me an opportunity to level the playing field and actually lead with my talent.”
The theme of Shavers’ discussion was “Helping Minority Business Leaders through Trade and Cooperation across the Border: The U.S Model.”
Ontario’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins who, like Shavers, has a keen interest in science having graduated from McMaster University with a B.Sc. degree in Chemistry, highlighted the benefits of the province’s cultural diversity.
“These newcomers bring a skills set and qualifications that can help Ontario compete now and in the future of the global economy,” said Hoskins, a Rhodes Scholar and president of War Child of Canada. “They also carry with them something that perhaps is slightly less tangible but just as priceless a resource and that is their wisdom…They add to our knowledge base, they help us often look at old problems through new eyes and they are without question a valuable talent pool for Ontario’s employers.
“Competing in a diverse economy requires our province’s businesses to develop strategies to recruit, integrate and retain talented newcomers.”