Catherine Baird, Ph.D. is an Information Technology executive, specializing in Cloud Solutions, Big Data and IT Managed Services. In 2010, she joined AT&T “start-up” teams within the larger corporation to lead technology selection, platform architecture and product launches for these emergent divisions. Prior to that, she was CIO & COO of an IT Services firm that handled network, software and computing needs for small-to-medium-sized businesses and nonprofits in Atlanta. Her education background is similarly diverse. Catherine holds a Bachelor of Science (honours) degree from University of Toronto and then went on to attain a Master of Arts and Ph.D in Intellectual History, with a focus on Russian thought and French Personalism, from McGill University, Montreal, Canada. She completed her doctorate in 1998. Since then, she has diversified her experience in business and technology, working as a Director, Architect, Vice-President of Operations and CIO.
In 2013, Baird converted her 1997 doctoral thesis into Revolution from Within, a narrative nonfiction released for publication in 2015. A series of related books and articles are also planned.
I am a pragmatic, original thinker who loves to solve problems, and I’ve actually found a natural synergy in these disciplines. History requires the rapid consumption of enormous volumes of information and the analysis of very complex, interrelated activities and events. Computer systems are modeled after people and so they work very much like political, economic, social and other functional organizations. Really, there is nothing we do with technology that we can’t do ourselves. Computers just make the process faster and repeatable, sometimes with a higher degree of precision. Of course that comes with its own mixture of risks and rewards and I’m so appreciative of my training in the Humanities because it gave me a very deep grounding in ethical considerations which, frankly, is much needed in the fields of business and information technology today.
It was such a pleasure to revisit my thesis and associated research some 15 years after completing my doctorate. I had lost track of how relevant the themes of Russian and French spiritual philosophy were to so many of the challenges we are facing today in a world propelled to “think globally, but act locally.” And it was with true, renewed joy that I remembered the passion and commitment of the YMCA service men and women who engaged in their outstanding adventures. This renewal has brought me into contact with so many wonderful people and a host of new experiences and learnings: on how to transform academic writing into narrative, non-fiction; the book creation and publishing process; new revelations from a field I’d lost touch with for many years and a whole host of new viewpoints, insights, and understandings. So many scholars, descendants of ‘The 160’ and just interested people have joined the discussion around this little known chapter in history — filosofskii parokhod (The Philosophers’ Steamer) — since I left academia, and it fascinating to see so many of the puzzles I could only speculate on… answered.
It has been such a rewarding experience, and exciting, that I’ve founded a company From Pyramids to Clouds, LLC to provide a place for incubating and furthering these discussions. It will become a portal to themes of unity consciousness, spiritual philosophies yesterday and today and, of course, cloud computing in the broadest sense of the term. A place for discovering connections as people awaken, embracing unity and awareness; a growing, international movement that encourages people to look within themselves, follow their passions and live in harmony, treating one another in a supportive and sustainable way.
The name “From Pyramids to Clouds” is highly symbolic: A pyramid symbolizes the old top- down, hierarchical system in which the goal of life seems to be trying to climb to the top — rigid, restrictive, repressive. It is an old structure of energy containment and harvesting that somehow no longer seems suitable in our world today. Clouds evoke global, free associations of self-contained individuals in local communities and shared interest groups — dynamic, self-determined, discoverable. They map synergistically to the “new heaven and new earth” that Berdyaev foresaw… a new age of compassion, creativity, and freedom!
I am thrilled to be building the infrastructure and capabilities needed for this ambitious project and hope to meet you there…