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12/10/2004
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World View: Widening Possibilities, One Story At A Time

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Linda Dillman attended Wal-Mart's Information Systems Division's Halloween party this year dressed as Frenchy, the beautician wannabe from the show Grease. In fact, as a young girl, Dillman thought she might choose a career as a beautician or perhaps become an administrative assistant. Growing up in northern Indiana, she didn't know many women who held high-level professional jobs and didn't realize that was an option for her. Today, she's determined to help women realize they can take their careers in any direction.

"There were strong female role models in terms of taking care of the family," not as professionals, Dillman says of the women she knew as a girl. "People don't understand what their potential is and what they can achieve. The view of the world we live in sometimes limits what you can see and what is possible."

As a co-founding member of the Northwest Arkansas chapter of the Network of Executive Women, Dillman wants to help create an environment that exposes women in management to successful professional role models, especially in the information-technology field. The perception that technology is boring keeps many young women away from IT, Dillman says. "The lack of women in technology is a concern, and the more people I talk with, it becomes a bigger concern," she says. The chapter's first meeting was held in August at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and attended by about 150 people.

"Part of the reason I tell my story, in particular to other women, is to let them understand that a lot more is achievable than they might think," she says. "And also so they understand technology jobs aren't boring where you sit behind a computer and key in code all day long."

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