Marian R. Croak is a prolific inventor in the voice and data communication fields, with over 200 patents to her name. She is best known for developing Voice Over Internet Protocols (VoIP), technology that converts your voice into a digital signal, allowing you to make a call directly from a computer or other digital device.  

Marian Croak was born in 1955 and raised in New York City.  In a Women’s Tech Summit from 2017, she talked about being enamored with plumbers, electricians, and other workers who would come into her house when things broke.  This childhood fascination laid the groundwork for her wanting to have the ability to “fix things” or make things better. Early role models such as her high school math and science teachers and her father, who built her a home chemistry set, inspired her to pursue a STEM career. Croak received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University and her doctorate in social psychology and quantitative analysis from the University of Southern California.  

Croak’s career took off in 1982 when she joined AT&T Bell Laboratories. There, she served in various positions in voice and data communication for over three decades. Predicting that the Internet would take over wire technology, Croak felt compelled to develop technology that would “transform the internet.” She succeeded by establishing the fundamentals for what is now called VoIP.  While climbing the ladder at AT&T Labs, Croak furthered technology in areas such as voice and text messaging on cellular phones. She invented the technology that allows people to send text-based donations to charity. 

Method and apparatus for providing voice control for accessing teleconference services
Sketch of the method and apparatus for providing voice control for accessing teleconference services

Before leaving AT&T in 2014, Croak held the title of Senior Vice President of Applications and Services Infrastructure. In this position, she supervised over 2,000 computer scientists and engineers and managed over 500 programs. Marian Croak currently works for Google as a Vice President in the engineering group. In this role, Croak is responsible for expanding what the Internet is capable of doing around the world and increasing access to the Internet in the developing world.   

In addition to receiving over 200 patents, Croak has won a number of awards, including the 2013 and 2014 Edison Patent Awards. In 2013, Croak was inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame. She is also a board member of the Holocaust and Human Rights Educational Center and serves on the Corporate Advisory Board for the University of Southern California. Croak has three grown children and enjoys long distance running.