Women in Technology: New Zealander Brydie Meinung at the 2013 America’s Cup

Every day of the Americas Cup, Virtual Eye's Brydie Meinung came into our homes through the 2D graphics superimposed onto the TV footage.

Brydie Meinung, services coordinator at Virtual Eye, is 22. Every day of the Americas Cup and the Louis Vuitton racing, she came into our homes through the 2D graphics superimposed onto the TV footage.

We caught up with Brydie after America’s Cup Race 11 in the vast camp of shipping containers and porta-cabins tucked away in Shed 29 on the San Francisco waterfront, where she explained and demonstrated what was involved in keeping the race graphics updated, current and relevant.

“Each day before racing we would have technical rehearsals. This involved the TV Director and Producer, my colleagues John Rendall and Paul Sharp, who were running the 3D Virtual Eye, the guys from the Liveline team and a myriad of others. We would consider timing; weather; tides and all the other factors that could impact the way the race would go. It was our job to prepare as much as possible in advance and then be ready to deal with the unexpected. ”

“Our 2D graphics stream has pre-programmed tags and signs but it requires split second decision making on which graphics go up and when, then keeping the info updated and current. Sometimes the director would ask for a graphic but wherever possible my job was to pre-empt and decide what was right for the moment. The experience of doing this job during the Louis Vuitton Cup was invaluable in giving me an idea of what data was likely to be of most interest to the global TV audience.”

“My toughest task throughout the whole race series, was having to put up on screen the countdown clock showing the end of race 13. I really didn’t want to be the one to tell New Zealand that time was running out, but that was my job.”

Shipping containers are not known to be spacious but Brydie’s technology space was also stacked up with paper. Brydie is studying Psychology at Massey as an extra-mural student. On the day we visited she had been busy essay-writing before the racing started. Her passion for, and fascination with psychology, was kindled at school in 2009 where she was video schooled from Murchison in the South Island by psychology teacher Liz Hannah.

Juggling work commitments in Valencia then San Francisco has proven challenging but Brydie is firmly of the view that the discipline of study and in particular the study of psychology, has vastly increased her focus, brain dexterity and ability to multitask.

“Full on 40 minute focus during the AC races was easy after the experience of the AC45s in the previous year, where races could easily last much longer.”

Doug Hughes, vice president - applications product management – Japan and Asia Pacific at Oracle Corporation, commented at Oracle OpenWorld last month: “the trend away from infrastructure investment and towards cloud capability, along with increasingly business-ready and customer friendly applications presents massive opportunities for women who are interested in technology. Business skills, people skills and customer experience savvy are now as important to people in IT roles, as technology smarts. This opens the field right up.”

Read more: CIO Blog: The Wind of Change at Oracle: Thoughts on ‘transformational leadership'

Brydie is a seriously impressive young woman who has seized the opportunities presented to her and worked out how to juggle life, work, study and keeping the pace with technology. She clearly sees being a woman in that role as a positive and is enthusiastic about the opportunities for young women who have the courage to step into technology roles and new roles which are being defined each day they are being performed.

“Women have a valuable part to play in technology and my time in San Francisco in that world leading technology hub, has shown me that anything is possible if we are not intimidated by the barriers. Our natural intuition gives us an edge in the place where business, entertainment and technology meet. I am hoping that by the time the Cup is contested again we will have many more women working in this fascinating and ever evolving field.”

Anyone worried about being stuck in one job, career or field for life should consider technology as the means for an ever changing and constantly exciting career and life.

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