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The DOLS Website

Welcome to the DOLS website! We're the professional organization that helps women who work in the business of education help one another. We've created this website so that you have current information about other DOLS, can post job opportunities, update us on news items, start discussions about topics of interest to you, and use your profile to allow others to know more about who you are and what you do.


The idea for the DOLS grew over a period of several years in the late 1980s when “microcomputer” technology was less than 10 years old and the ed tech world was attracting many interesting, high-energy women with great hopes for the future of education. Some of us were worried about glass ceilings and the possibility that an "old boys' network" would take hold here as it had in other industries. Others were simply excited about the great new women they were meeting professionally and aware of an opportunity to grow a new industry together -- learning from one another while making new friends.

Marylyn Rosenblum gets credit for officially dubbing the new all-female network the DOLS – for "dirty old ladies of software." No, we weren't all in the software industry but, at the time, most of us were affiliated in some way with the Software Publishers' Association (SPA, now SIIA) as "regular" members, hardware partners, or members of the press covering the industry. Today the DYLS (dirty young ladies …) outnumber the older members of the group and – as so often happens with institutional names – the original meaning behind the acronym is mostly irrelevant. But the name has stuck. Aside from the gender requirement, the DOLS network is open to all in the world of educational technology who wish to join, regardless of age or job title.

From the start, the DOLS have been involved in informal get-togethers taking place before, during and after key educational conferences. Ellen Bialo -- recognized to this day as our leader and mother figure -- teamed up with Mary Claire Scanlon to organize the first dinners and spread the word about the DOLS. Since then, we’ve seen several regional off-shoots in which smaller groups of women organize their own local DOLS events.  With help from the DOLS get-togethers (and the website that grew out of them) we've supported each other through the tribulations of expanding, shrinking, and merging companies; delighted in marriages, babies, grandchildren and a wide array of job advancements and triumphs; comforted one another during hard personal times; and shared hours of healing, exuberant laughter.

Valerie Chernek sums it up as follows: “There are no membership fees, only the cost of dinner. We meet to share experiences, to improve education for our schools and kids, and to have fun. Through this powerful network, jobs are found, introductions are made, advice is given, rooms are shared, partnerships are formed, leaders are born, and women are nurtured. There are no boardrooms, but definitely avenues to get things done quickly and well. It's all the female energy, coming together, that makes it happen!”


The original DOLS website was the idea of Jeanne Hayes, whose son, Colin, developed it for us for free. Linda Winter of The Winter Group and Elaine Tannenbaum of Elaine Tannenbaum Design contributed their wonderful design talent. More recently, fundraising through Kickstarter has allowed us to actually hire a webmaster to expand on the options available to members.