Diversity Woman Magazine

FAL 2017

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: https://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/876458

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d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m Fa l l 2 0 1 7 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 25 We Mean Business > Growing up in Ghana, virtual reality entrepre- neur Mary Spio learned that technology can be not only mind-blowing but also mind-expanding At Boeing, she developed a way to dis- tribute feature films digitally via satellite. And in 2005, she launched her first start- up, Gen2Media, an online video plat- form used by the Coca-Cola Company, Microsoft Xbox, and the Tribune News Company. Her current company, CEEK, creates and distributes virtual reality experiences using its patented virtual reality (VR) streaming technologies. She hopes VR will expand people's minds, much as TV once did for her. Diversity Woman spoke with Spio about gender bias in tech, the importance of embracing your difference, and what it takes to launch a game-changing tech- nology start-up. Diversity Woman: How did you first get into VR? What business potential did you see there? Mary Spio: Every decade or so, a new technology disrupts the old and we leap forward. When I tried on Oculus Rift at Facebook about three years ago, I knew instantly that tech had turned a corner. I was profoundly moved by the ability of the headset to put you inside the content. It didn't feel like you were surrounded by content; it felt like you were in a different time and place. I instantly saw so much potential for every aspect of lifeā€”from education to entertainment and beyond. DW: Do you feel there's a connection between your early experiences with TV and your VR work now? MS: Absolutely. People don't realize the importance of content creation. ey think, oh, it's just a movie. Movies show us what is possible and how we see ourselves. e fact that minorities are the biggest consumers of content, yet so few of us are creators of content, is such a tragedy. It is a personal crusade for me to create content that is reflec- tive of our experiences and to paint new images of possibility for others like me. MARY SPIO The Joy of Disruption By Apr il Kilcrease W hen Mary Spio was growing up in Ghana, members of the military took over the govern- ment. "Some of my schoolmates' parents were shot to death by firing squad, and my own dad was tortured," she says. A dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed, and Spio's family sometimes went days with- out food. During this time, the family's little black-and-white TV became her "magic box." "Television was the place where we escaped," says Spio. "at's what got me to think of greater possibili- ties beyond our existence." Spio, age 44, moved to the United States on her own when she was 16 and eventually became a deep space engineer. But her heart always belonged to media. CEO Woman

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