Known for her work on Voice Over Internet Protocol, Marian Croak holds over 200 patents and was recently inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. After a long career leading the transformation of the telecommunications landscape, Croak now works on artificial intelligence research.
Growing up in New York City, Marian Croak was always fascinated with learning “how things work.” After graduating from Princeton and obtaining a PhD in statistical analysis and social psychology from the University of Southern California, Croak began a highly successful three decades at AT&T’s Bell Laboratories. At Bell Labs, she managed 2,000 engineers and was a key force behind the development of our modern communications infrastructure.
Building a Trusted Future
Recognizing the potential presented by the new digital networks developed for the Internet, Croak was responsible for pushing AT&T to move away from relying solely on traditional phone lines to run its voice communications network. At Bell Labs, she oversaw efforts to experiment with packetizing voice so it could be run over an IP connection like other types of digital data. These efforts led directly to the development of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, the basis for many of the Internet-based communication platforms that so many rely on today.
In response to Hurricane Katrina, Croak also oversaw the development of the text-to-donate system, which allowed the public to securely donate $130,000 to relief organizations. Five years later, when an earthquake devastated Haiti, text-to-donate technology facilitated donations of more than $43 million. The technology continues to be used by many charitable organizations today.
It’s fine to be the only one – but you don’t want to remain in that position – you want others to come along. I make sure that the generation behind me can climb the ladder as well.