Janet Y. Spears

Janet Y. Spears was selected as the Alumnus of the Year by the School of Engineering and Computer Science. She will be honored at a banquet later this semester.

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Janet Y. Spears ’86 Honored by School of Engineering and Computer Science

Jan 30, 2012

Janet Y. Spears, a 1986 Pacific graduate, this month was named the 2012 Distinguished Alumnus for The School of Engineering and Computer Science. Spears graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering and completed her master's degree at Purdue University in 1988.  In 2000 she received an Executive Management Certificate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with emphasis in marketing, finance, operations and human resources.

She had a successful 21-year career at AT&T, where she served as an executive director in AT&T Marketing and vice president in Strategic Sales, Engineering and Operations.  Spears led a national sales team of 75 professionals who were responsible for business development and design of complex systems. Her direct leadership served managers whose client base represented over $4 billion in revenue.  As executive sales lead for AT&T eContact Solutions, the teams she led sold an average of $20 million in annual call center solutions.

Since 2008, Spears has been working for the East Bay Community Foundation and was recently appointed chief operating officer.  In this new role, she is responsible for the Foundation's asset development, donor services, marketing, communications, community investments, public and private partnerships.  The Foundation serves the communities of Alameda and Contra Costa counties and its 2.5 million residents through programs, organizations, and grants to support activities that have the positive effect on the lives of the community residents. She previously was managing director of Development and External Relations, where she managed strategies and systems supporting the Foundation's marketing, development of financial assets, and services to donors.

She lives in the Bay Area and is an active community member and volunteer for several community organizations. Dean Ravi Jain said that "Janet's leadership at the School of Engineering and Computer Science Dean's Council has been exceptional and has served as a source of inspiration for me personally."

While at Pacific, Spears was active with many on campus activities including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and the Society of Women Engineers.  Her leadership roles in these activities complemented her cooperative education experiences with Hughes Aircraft Company and Mobil Oil Company where she worked in multi-functional environments and on multi-disciplined teams.   Her classroom education at SOECS prepared her to complete an advanced degree in engineering.   As a student at Pacific, Spears  said the co-op and senior project were the  most valuable and rewarding experiences as a student.   She also said access to stellar faculty was invaluable in her progression and singled out three professors- Dr. Andres Rodriguez, Dr. George Schroeder, and Dr. Richard Turpin-as having made a unique contribution to her development as an engineer.

Spear's ongoing connection with the School continues to benefit both graduates and current students. Along with serving as a member of the Dean's Council, she was part of the campaign to name the Kemet Conference Room in the John T. Chambers Technology Center, honoring and defining a sense of place for black alumni of the School. Recognized as a dynamic speaker, she has spoken at various organizations and at School events, including sharing her working experience at the School's first Alumni and Student Career Symposium in fall of 2011.

Spears will be officially recognized for her accomplishments as well as her continued support for the students and the engineering and computer science programs at the University during the annual Senior Banquet on April 28.