Joel Callen


Wed, 4 Mar, 2015

Meet the 91-year-old woman working as a tech designer in Silicon Valley

Meet the 91-year-old woman working as a tech designer in Silicon Valley

At the age of 91, Barbara Beskind is working as a tech designer in California’s Silicon Valley. After high school, Barbara had wanted to be an inventor, but was told that women weren’t accepted into engineering schools. So she joined the army and became an occupational therapist instead.

In 2013, Barbara saw an interview with the founder of design firm IDEO, David Kelley, in which he spoke about diversity’s importance on a design team. Inspired, Barbara decided to apply to work at IDEO.

Barbara spent about two months writing her resume, bringing it down from nine pages. When she was done, she wrote an accompanying letter, and posted it off.

Now Barbara is a much-loved member of IDEO, offering her feedback to designers who are working on products designed for the elderly. She also receives feedback on her own prototypes.

Barbara refuses to let macular degeneration slow her down. Nor the modified ski poles she uses to help her walk. “Age is not a barrier to performance.” Barbara told “Live life as an adventure, and expect change and endorse it, embrace it.” 

Related links: 

This Parramatta woman is a tireless champion of gay rights at the age of 86

This 90-year-old woman with no family was adopted by her community 

This Aussie father and son team are making millions from their beekeeping invention