Inspirational Women in Tech
If you’re a woman in the tech industry, hats off to you! You’re a part of a wave of women who, despite the severe shortage of female talent in the tech industry, are smashing glass ceilings, bringing new perspectives and paving the way for gender equality within a rapidly expanding industry. Here’s our pick of inspirational women in technology:
Marcela Sapone, Hello Alfred, co-founder @MsSapone
Marcela co-founded Hello Alfred in 2014 with fellow Harvard Business School alum Jessica Beck. Hello Alfred is an on-demand butler service that syncs mobile apps with manpower to save you time. Don’t have time to do your grocery shopping or to iron your work shirts? Hello Alfred will sort it out for you. Hello Alfred has raised $12.5 million in Venture Capital, and in 2014 Sapone and Beck were the first women to win the TechCrunch Disrupt SF startup competition on the mainstage. Sapone told Forbes “Women start businesses that seem cute on the surface but that’s when you should be really afraid. What we’re doing is really meaningful and is going to change how people live.”
Padmasree Warrior, NextEv USA, CEO @padmasree
Padmasree dubbed “Queen of the electric car” by Fortune magazine is the CEO of NextEv USA, a an electrical car startup. She is also the Chief Technology and Strategy Officer (CTO) with Cisco, and was the former CTO with Motorola. Warrior mentors other women in the tech industry, and is an active user on twitter with more than 1.6 million followers. Warrior says of being a woman in tech “When I took my first job, I was among only a handful of women. It was isolating at times. My love for technology kept me going, and I got to where I am today driven by my passion and self confidence.” In 2015 Forbes considered her to be one of the world’s most powerful women.
Tracy Chou, Pinterest, @triketora
Tracy is a software engineer at Pinterest, and has previously worked at Quora. She’s most famous for raising the low profile of women in tech, when in 2013 Tracy crowdsourced a survey about women working in tech in Silicon Valley. This placed pressure on tech companies to be transparent about the composition of their workforce, and the result is we now have regular diversity reports from major tech companies. Her advice is “Don’t get caught up in living out other people’s dreams. You have your own path to take and you’ll find success in your own ways.”
Weili Dai, Marvell Technology Group, President and co-founder
Weili is considered to be on of the most successful female entrepreneurs. She studied computer science at Berkley before working as a software developer, before becoming the only female co-founder of Marcell Technology Group, which specializes in semiconductors. Weili is particularly interested in eco-friendly technologies and providing access to technologies in developing countries. Weili said at theAPEC Women in the Economic Summit in 2011 “…the role of women has changed dramatically, moving beyond traditional roles of mothers and wives into successful leaders… the key to boosting economic growth and productivity is removing barriers to women.”
Sabrina Parsons, Palo Alto Software, CEO @mommyceo
Sabrina has been at the helm of Palo Alto Software since 2007. She oversaw the launch and development of the business planning and management tool, LivePlan.
Although her background isn’t strictly tech, she has a strong marketing background and is considered an expert of the internet having working for several software companies, including co-founding Lighting Out Consulting, a company that delves into online marketing tools. She regularly mentors young entrepreneurs, speakers at conferences and also judges in business competitions. Her advice for anyone going into business is to “Be focused, work hard, and don’t be afraid to do your own things. People always try at that age  to get you to be “responsible” and get a job. I wish I had started a business sooner than I did.”
Adi Tatarko, Houzz, Co-Founder and CEO @aditatarko
Adi and her husband Alon, began Houzz in 2009 after realizing that renovations can be a financial and logistical nightmare. The aim of Houzz is to connect homeowners and contractors for their renovation projects. The business has quickly expanded from their circle of family and friends, to 20 million unique website visits per month and 400,000 contractors onboard. Her advice is “It’s important to choose something that you truly believe in and that you love. It’s going to be hard, but because you’ve picked something you’re passionate about, you’re going to enjoy the journey.”
Susan Wojcicki, YouTube, CEO @susanwojcicki
Susan has been with Google from the get-go when founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin set up their first Google office in her garage in 1998. She became Google’s first marketing manager in 1999 and is the mastermind behind Google AdSense, which became Google’s second largest source of revenue. In 2006 she handled the acquisition of YouTube for Google, and in 2014 became the CEO of YouTube. Time Magazine placed her on their list of the top 100 influential people in 2015, and later named her the most powerful woman on the internet.
Wojcicki actively promotes gender equality in the tech industry, stating that “If women don’t participate in tech, they are losing the chance to influence the largest economic and social shift of this century.”
Although the percentage of women in tech is worse than in parliament, women continue to make inroads into a notoriously male dominated industry. The future for women in technology looks bright with role models like Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook and Safra Catz from Oracle, smashing glass ceilings and paving the way for future generations.
Tell us who your picks are for women in tech in the comments below.