Jenny Lawton '85, CEO of MakerBot, returns to campus

Publication Date

The value of networking is “off the charts,” particularly for women in the tech field, said Jenny Lawton ’85, CEO of MakerBot, a leading firm in 3D printing, scanning and entertainment.

On campus Monday, Oct. 6, Lawton told a Nott Memorial audience of 150 that two decades ago women executives in tech did not cooperate. “They didn’t give each other a hand,” she said, “They gave each other the heel.”

The landscape has changed, she noted. “Today, there are not a lot of women in the tech field, but now they’re helping each other get a hand up.”

“If you’ve made yourself successful, it’s best to share that because it will help you too,” she said.

Paraphrasing another women tech executive, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of Lean In, Lawton said “If you want to go to the moon, get on the rocket ship.”

Her closing advice to the audience of 150, more than half students: do what you love. “Wake up every day looking forward to what’s in front of you.”

Lawton was recently appointed CEO of MakerBot after three years as the company’s president and chief strategy officer. She has been responsible for the overall strategy and growth of the company, including strategic partnerships, product development and retail. She oversaw the recent merger with MakerBot’s parent company, Stratasys.

Her career as an entrepreneur also includes co-founding Net Deamons, an internet support firm, and owning a bookstore and coffee shop. She is also a board member of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.

She spoke at Union as part of the Alumni Speaker Series.