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THE MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY 2010 – Sam Reich-Dagnen

Cofounder of Braincandy

THE MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY 2010 – Sam Reich-Dagnen

“Technology is one of those areas where it’s not about your degree,” says Sam Reich-Dagnen. “It’s about having good ideas and trying to solve problems.” Reich-Dagnen worked in the movie business for a decade before landing at Disney Imagineering, where she created some of the first interactive media for Disney theme parks. Then she was off to a strange land for a film school grad–Microsoft. “My first five years there they used all these acronyms in meetings and I had no idea what they were talking about,” she recalls, “I just winged it.”

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After nearly a decade at the company–and with 3-year-old twins–Reich-Dagnen cashed in her Microsoft stock options, and she and her film editor husband started Braincandy, an entertainment DVD series for toddlers that’s educational but not mind numbing. Now Reich-Dagnen, 44, is consulting for Microsofts Partners In Learning $500-million-educational-grant program and plotting her second startup, this time pairing up with other entrepreneurs and academics to tackle the global K-12 education problem. “Part of the challenge is getting school leaders to buy into transformation and change, and part of it is motivating teachers and empowering them with tools,” says Reich-Dagnen. “But the nut we haven’t cracked is how do you make it really entertaining? How do you engage kids?”

About the author

Danielle Sacks is an award-winning journalist and a former senior writer at Fast Company magazine. She's chronicled some of the most provocative people in business, with seven cover stories that included profiles on J.Crew's Jenna Lyons, Malcolm Gladwell, and Chelsea Clinton.

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