Global Leadership Award

Justyna Zander, D.Eng.

Ford Motor Company

For unparalleled technical expertise and leadership influencing automotive software worldwide; for intellect matched by drive and enthusiasm; and for inspiring peers and teams to do their best work.

Justyna Zander, D.Eng. served as the director of simulation for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) at Ford Motor Company for almost a year. She worked on scaling automated driving, simulation, and validation efforts to enable a safe, modern fleet deployment. She was dedicated to building quality assurance means for software deployed in nearly 4 million vehicles per year.

At present, she serves as the founder and CEO of an artificial intelligence startup located in Silicon Valley, which is operating in stealth mode.

Previously, she worked at NVIDIA Autonomous Vehicles, where she had a global technology impact by scaling the ecosystem of mapping solutions in America, Europe, Japan, and China. She also influenced the design and application of the high-fidelity, autonomous-driving simulator used for verification and validation purposes. Prior to that, while researching, she served in global leadership roles with Intel, MathWorks, and the Fraunhofer Institute. She also co-founded three startups.

Dr. Zander has been in the workforce for two decades with globally relevant responsibilities. She holds three citizenships — in Poland, Germany, and the United States — and speaks five languages. She is a frequent keynote speaker and panelist. She has filed for nearly 40 patents, published three books, co-authored 40 science publications, and reviewed thousands of academic papers on simulation, testing, and embedded systems design.

Dr. Zander has served as a technical committee member for more than 50 journals and conferences, and has served on multiple steering committees for various conferences. She has also advised on government strategy and research road maps at the invitation of the National Science Foundation and the European Union Commission. Locally, Dr. Zander has served as a mentor to high school girls and, at nearby universities, has mentored students in producing their theses and conducted a lecture series.

Dr. Zander received the Society of Women Engineers Emerging Leader Award in 2017 for her breakthrough work in computer science and engineering. Her contributions have been featured in major popular science media, including IEEE Spectrum and Scientific Computing, and in mass media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, and Forbes, among others. She has received more than 20 global awards for scientific and leadership excellence.

As the lead of the Smart Emergency Response System — featured at the White House in its SmartAmerica and Global City challenges, and described by then-U.S. chief technology officer Todd Park as an “exemplary achievement” — Dr. Zander directed a team from nine organizations across the globe (2013-2014). In 2014, she received the Leadership Award from The Society for Modeling and Simulation International, while serving as general chair of the Summer Simulation Multi-Conference.

Dr. Zander earned a B.S. and an M.S. in computer science, a B.S. in environmental science, and a D.Eng. in computer science and electrical engineering at Technical University Berlin, followed by postdoctoral work at Harvard University. She also graduated from the exponential technologies graduate and executive leadership programs at the University of California, Berkeley.

In her spare time, Dr. Zander enjoys practicing music and dance with her family.