Karen O'Connor Karen O’Conner acquired her wanderlust after she joined IBM. Back then, she says wryly, the world was in such dire need of programmers that firms were hiring even Spanish teachers (like her) for the job. IBM took Karen out of Pittsburgh and sent her partway ’round the world; her posts included Australia and Houston, where she worked on the Apollo Space Project and the Space Shuttle. After retiring 16 years ago, she’s been free to do even more exploring.