Alumni Achievers

F. Jo Goodson (B.S. 1975)

Alumna Shares Thoughts on Succeeding at 2003 Diploma Ceremony

Computer science alumna Jo Goodson A native of the Charlotte, NC, area, Jo Goodson can officially call herself a 'New Yorker' now. "It's hard to believe that I have now lived and worked in the New York City area longer than I lived in North Carolina!" she says.

After graduating from NC State University in 1975, Goodson left for the Northeast, where she got her master's degree in computer science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She has remained there ever since.

During her outstanding career, Goodson has emerged as a leader in the fields of information security, technology audit, and applications development. She currently works in an executive capacity for BNX Systems, a leader in the development of secure identity management solutions for centrally managing authentication and sign-on processes. When interviewed in 2002, she was coordinating the largest rollout to date of a biometric-based system for single sign-on authentication in the financial industry. Prior to joining BNX Systems, Goodson was vice president of information security at Goldman, Sachs and Co.

While a long time resident of New York City, Goodson has maintained a close and supportive relationship with NC State. She serves as a member of the computer science department's Strategic Advisory Board, a dynamic group of industry leaders who provide input and guidance critical to the department's strategic planning efforts. Goodson also holds the distinction of initiating one of the first Wall Street recruiting efforts here at NC State University.

She recalls, "Goldman Sachs originally asked me to recruit from the computer science department at UNC-Chapel Hill. I told them they were focusing on the wrong school…that they needed to be targeting NC State! We quickly fixed that problem."

Many things have changed on campus and in the department since Goodson graduated, yet there are familiar faces and places that she takes comfort in.

Speaking to well over 1,000 graduates, family and friends in attendance at the department's Spring 2003 diploma ceremony at the Raleigh Civic Center, she said, "My graduating class in 1975 was so small we had our diploma ceremony in the basement of Dabney Hall. But, Dr. Tharp was in attendance both then and today!"

One change she would like to see is an increase in the number of females graduating with degrees in computer science. She says, "Like most schools, we're much better at attracting females than we are at retaining them." Goodson, who serves as a tremendous role model to young women in computer science, says "I just want young women to know there are limitless opportunities in the world for them in this field if they simply take advantage of them."

In addition to her time and presence, she has also given generously to support the university financially. In the spring of 2003, Goodson and her husband, John Tiedeman, were inducted into the Leonidas Lafayette Polk Society. Named for North Carolina's first commissioner of agriculture and founder of The Progressive Farmer, the Polk Society recognizes lifetime gift support of $50,000 or more in outright gifts or irrevocable planned gifts of $75,000 or more. In addition, Goodson and her husband have made a leadership commitment to the university's comprehensive fundraising campaign, making a $15,000 multi-year pledge to launch the 'Goodson-Tiedeman Endowment Fund' to support undergraduate student scholarships.

In a message that transcends the generations, Goodson left our "Class of 2003" with these inspiring words of wisdom. She told of a time when she was feeling a bit down and needed the reassurance that spouses are so great for, asking: "John, do you think I am successful?" He replied, "Jo, you are indeed succeeding."

The challenge that we all have is to understand and value the subtle yet critically important difference between being successful and succeeding. Jo invited all of us to work toward succeeding together.

- posted 2003 - Ken Tate -

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