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Employee becomes first woman at AT&T to receive 100 patents

The first woman at AT&T to receive 100 patents – that is an impressive title and honor that goes to Marian Croak, a vice president in AT&T Labs.

Marian recently celebrated 100 patents for her leading work in integrated voice and data communications. The first woman at the company to reach this milestone, she inspires many others in her field.

Marian remembers a time when women did not work outside the home. As a young child, she would follow the electricians and repairmen around the house. She was awed by how they made things work. Encouraged by her father, she took an interest in science and earned a doctorate in social psychology and quantitative analysis. Yet, Marian remains humble and reserved when it comes to her accomplishments. Her quiet confidence lets her work speak for itself. This includes her extensive research in bringing telephony and internet technology together.  Surpassing 100 patents, Marian has another 100 more still under review by the U.S. Patent Office.

From the moment she joined the company in 1982, she felt at home. Of course, there have been changes at the company, but this is what made things interesting. Marian remembers writing five or six patents on weekends when internet telephony first got started. The new ideas kept coming. She felt fortunate to be surrounded by people who think in different ways.

When Marian is not brainstorming for the next big ideas, she enjoys long distance running and mentoring, especially young adults ready to take on the world. 

“My hope is with young girls growing up now, they feel that they can choose to pursue sciences and technology,” she explains while reflecting on her own journey. “When I mentor women in this field, I encourage them keep their personalities and contribute as much as they can – I want to help them find their voice.”

Marian’s voice is loud and clear, as we celebrate her 100 patents and more along the way.

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