Kristin Johnson Karp

With Karp leading the way, Hotwire scored many a victory during the past 12 months. Not the least of those came in May, when Hotwire overwhelmingly was approved to lease the municipally owned Fibrant network in Salisbury, NC. That move alone was set to bring $1.5 million to the city. Karp is constantly looking for opportunities to encourage the next generation of women, mentoring young girls through coding programs and redesigning work hour structures to accommodate the needs of mothers. For those still hesitant to welcome women into the boardroom, Karp has a compelling message: “Women make up one-half of the population, and if you take one-half of the good ideas off the table, you’ll just be losing so much brain power and talent.”

What’s a recent example of a step forward for women in the media industry?
Today, women hold more than 50% of the jobs in America, but only 12% are engineers (source: American Association of University Women). We need more women to fill those STEM positions and roles within companies. I am committed to hiring female engineers and giving new or recently graduated college students the opportunity to become technology leaders through internships and job opportunities. At Hotwire, we are pursuing programs to seek out female engineers and aiming for at least 30% of a female-tech workforce. Diverse gender businesses produce better economic outcomes. The Kaufman Foundation and other research has shown that women-run businesses, produce 35-50% more return on investment. So it’s just not charity and public good to get more women involved, it’s actually economically good for businesses.”

Women make up one-half of the population, and if you take one-half of the good ideas off the table, you’ll just be losing so much brain power and talent. I think in the coming years, there’s four times the amount of tech jobs than other industries, so we really need to get more women involved in technology so we can fix the most challenging problems that are facing our country today.

Who is an inspirational woman you admire, and why?
If it weren’t for researchers and technologists in this space, I wouldn’t have a company today. One of the first female engineers, Dr. Shirley Jackson, was an inventor and her research helped develop caller-ID, fax machines and fiber optics, which is the entire basis of our company. I think it’s super critical. Hedy Lamarr and other female engineers developed the technology behind Wi-Fi. Another woman developed closed captioning TV, which became security systems. Just speaking from a personal basis, I wouldn’t be running a company today if it weren’t for these engineers.

What’s been the most dramatic change in your sector of the business today vs. three years ago?
As consumer demand continues to grow year after year, fiber optics can provide the foundation for smart city initiatives. By connecting with local governments, we’re able to jumpstart these initiatives that will ultimately impact entire communities and improve the overall quality of life. Our partners include the City of Miami Beach, whose LED smart lighting installations will become a model of efficiency and public safety, and the City of North Miami Beach whose gigabit data infrastructure will allow seamless communications between government facilities on a fully redundant, secure fiber ring. As time goes on, smart cities will become an integral part of our society, and fiber optics remain the best key to unlocking the potential of these ever-evolving ideas.

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