The visibility of the gender issue in the technology sector has skyrocketed and as the power of women in tech rises, so does their responsibility to lead change from within. To celebrate these important female movers and shakers in the technology sector, here are 5 of the most influential women in tech to follow in 2020. Let us look at their journeys and accomplishments.
1. Ginni Rometty – Former CEO, IBM
Virginia M. (Ginni) Rometty is the Executive Chairman of IBM. She was previously Chairman, President and CEO. She was succeeded by Arvind Krishna, an Indian-American business executive. Rometty graduated from Northwestern University in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and electrical engineering. In 1979 she went to work for General Motors Institute and then in 1981 went on to join IBM in Detroit as a systems engineer. Since then she has held a series of leadership positions, most recently as senior vice president and group executive, IBM sales, marketing, and strategy.
She championed the purchase of the big business consulting firm- PricewaterhouseCoopers consulting, as well as becoming senior vice president for sales, marketing, and strategy. In 2011, she became the company’s next president and CEO.
As CEO of a venerable name in technology, she has garnered significant notice, including being named among Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business, Time’s 20 Most Important People in Tech, and Forbes’ America’s Top 50 Women In Tech.
2. Susan Wojcicki – CEO, YouTube
Susan Wojcicki has been CEO of YouTube since February 2014. She advocated for Google’s $1.65 billion acquisition of YouTube in 2006. It is now worth an estimated $90 billion. As Google’s 16th employee, hired in 1999, she started as the search firm’s first marketing manager and later headed all marketing and commerce. Her name appears on numerous lists, including Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and Time’s 20 Most Important People in Tech, and the 2018 Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.
Wojcicki grew up on the Stanford University campus as her father was a professor there. She then attended Harvard University studying history and literature and went onto receiving her Masters of Science in economics from the University of California.
The huge success of Susan Wojcicki shows how influential women in tech can be for the world’s biggest companies.
3. Safra Catz – Co-CEO, Oracle
Safra Catz, an Israeli-born American business leader is co-CEO of Oracle Corporation and is responsible for global operations. Previously, she served as Executive Vice President and Senior Vice President. She has been a member of Oracle’s Board of Directors since October 2001. In April 2011 she was named co-president and CFO, reporting to founder/CTO Larry Ellison. On September 18, 2014, Larry Ellison stepped down as CEO. With immediate effect, Mark Hurd and Safra Catz were appointed as the new CEOs.
Catz attended the University of Pennsylvania and their Law School, as well as Harvard Law School. She currently serves on Oracle Corporation’s Executive Management Committee.
4. Sheryl Sandberg – COO, Facebook
An activist and tech executive, Sheryl Sandberg is a Harvard graduate. Mark Zuckerberg and his leadership team approached her for the role of COO at Facebook HQ in 2008. In 2012, she became the 8th and first-ever female member of the social giant’s board of directors. Previously, as the VP of Sales and Ops at Google, she was instrumental in the launch of Google’s philanthropic arm google.org. She also ranks in several “Most Powerful Women in Business” lists. An advocator/ speaker of Women’s Rights, she is the author and founder of LeanIn, a bestselling book, and website intended to support and coach professional women.
Sandberg is also the founder of OptionB.Org which provides individuals with resources that help resilience in the face of adversity. At TEDWomen in 2010 Sandberg made the bold decision to talk about the experience of being one of very few women at the C-level of business.
5. Gwynne Shotwell – President, SpaceX
Well known as SpaceX’s president and COO, Shotwell joined SpaceX as its eleventh employee. She’s on Forbes America’s Top 50 Women in Tech and on its 2018 list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. Shotwell was also one of the first employees of the company and has seen it grow to a valuation of over $30 billion.
Bloomberg Businessweek named Shotwell the “SpaceX’s secret weapon,” as her success has driven the company. Moreover, the development of some of the most exciting tech to come out of aeronautics in the last century.
Shotwell’s story is noteworthy as women are scarce in the field of aerospace.
Will the gender gap be a thing of the past in technology companies? These five women are clear examples of how influential women in tech can be. As decision-makers, they are certainly leading the way.
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