IEEE webinar features Dean Jelena Kovačević

Dean Jelena Kovacevic on "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly of Connecting your inner engineer to your inner leader" with IEEE

Dean Jelena Kovačević participated in the IEEE Women in Engineering Webinar series

When it comes to connecting your inner engineer with your inner leader, it would be hard to imagine anyone more qualified to speak on the subject than Dean Jelena Kovačević, the first woman to head the NYU Tandon School of Engineering since its founding in 1854.

That was the topic of a webinar she gave earlier this month under the auspices of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Women in Engineering group. 

The Dean shared personal stories of her own journey — from math-loving student in Belgrade to Bell Labs researcher, Head of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon, and beyond to Brooklyn. She reminisced about her late father, who encouraged her to take risks: he was fond of reminding her that the worst that might happen is that it wouldn’t work out and she’d have to try something else. 

She’s been guided by that principle ever since — as well as by the desire to be of service to others. And while she has an enviable track record of research rigor and patent-producing invention, it’s those more intangible qualities that make her not just a great engineer but a great leader.

Some key takeaways:

  • Be compassionate—to yourself and others
  • Get comfortable with discomfort around making decisions with incomplete or imperfect information
  • Pursue progress over perfection
  • Show humility
  • Build relationships with unexpected people
  • Empower others
  • Value and reward collaboration

Register to view her entire presentation at