By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director
“Embrace change,” “dream big” and “pursue innovation” was the advice serial entrepreneur and alumna Carol Realini offered the Department of Computer Science Convocation May 25 at the Music Concert Hall.
An expert in financial service innovation who has worked with including MasterCard and Citi, Realini assured grads (and their parents!) that the tech industry’s future remains vibrant, even in a down economy.
“Today there are 6.4 billion wireless connections in the world reaching 80 percent of the total population of 7 billion,” she said. Over two billion “people have access to the internet, and this is increasing rapidly with the proliferation of smartphones in the developing world. I expect within five years, 80 percent of the world’s population will have internet access — primarily through smart mobile connections.”
Realini, who graduated from SJSU in 1976 with a master’s in computer science, went on to describe her affinity with SJSU students. “Like many of you, I was the first in my family to embark on a career in high tech. My parents thought the best thing was for me to be a teacher. But my passion was with technology — so I went a different way.”
So what path does she recommend? She encouraged grads to “leverage the valley,” “learn to be disciplined — and undisciplined,” “don’t let anyone say you’re not good enough” and “seek the bigger prize” by helping others.” Realini is a leading advocate of expanding mobile banking and payments to create financial inclusion in developing countries.
You can read her speech on her blog.