It’s no secret that the tech industry features more men than women in positions of leadership, as well as on the whole. It is one of the most visible and active debates in the tech industry today with multiple reasons being given as the source of the problem. There are even more ideas out there concerning ways to solve it.
But I don’t want to talk about what’s theoretically possible. As someone who closely follows the tech industry and the way it’s represented in the media, I wanted to find examples of women who are already making a name for themselves in the midst of this furious ongoing discussion. It seems to me that it’s worthwhile to focus on women who, through their own success, are the best evidence that companies will suffer if they overlook talented women. It also seems, that when talking about the tech industry, there is no better position to look at than that of CTO, which is the most technically demanding role in any company.
So here are five female CTOs who are making a big impression in the highly competitive tech sector.
With Webydo from the very beginning, Dvora oversees the design platform’s research and development as CTO. With a degree from Bar-llan University in computer science and math, she’s well-equipped to handle the demands of quick-changing technology in the startup scene.
With Dvora as Webydo’s CTO, the startup has only gotten bigger and attracted increasing attention from various, big-name publications.
All told, she has 15 years of work experience in the tech sector, first starting out as a senior programmer with French company Netposition and then gradually working her way up to senior software developer with AKT Human Capital Solutions.
She’s a strong example of female presence in the tech sector.
As CTO of Activity Hero, a company that makes it super-easy for parents and educators to find, plan and then book kids’ activities, Shilpa has a solid tech resume. Boasting more than 15 years of development and design experience in the client-server web environment, she’s been involved in a whole host of IT projects, making her extremely familiar with trends in the industry.
Interestingly, her startup was born after she took time off to have children. When she realized that it was hard to find good activities to book for her kids, she began Activity Hero to help out new parents. The rest is history.
Liz is the CTO at Birchbox, which is a beauty subscription service that’s run out of New York. She’s been with this startup since 2011, just a year after it launched. A serial entrepreneur, she’s chalked up years and years worth of experience as CTO of various companies such as Aprizi (now defunct) and Crono LLC, which she also co-founded.
Originally from Australia, Liz had all the makings of a CTO relatively early on in her adult life. She studied computer science in her undergraduate career at the University of Sydney, and she even earned a PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University.
Due to successfully juggling an entrepreneurial career with her studies, she’s a veritable double threat.
Padmasree has had a couple of successful stints as the CTO of big tech companies, which has really raised her profile over the last 10 years or so. She’s currently the CTO of Cisco Systems, the manufacturer and seller of networking equipment, but she also used to be the CTO of Motorola several years back.
One of her biggest causes is to push more females to enter the tech sector and pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers.
She also sits on the board of various, well-known companies and universities such as the Gap and Cornell University.
With a surname like Warrior, you know she means business.
Elissa is the CTO of GoDaddy, the world-famous webhosting company. She’s been with the company for just two years, yet that doesn’t tell the whole story. She’s been involved in the tech sector for 15 years, working in such fields as predictive analytics, big data and even global-scale platforms.
Before becoming CTO of GoDaddy, Elissa already had a impressive job with Yahoo, where she was the vice president of engineering for cloud services and Hadoop.
Her impressive resume goes beyond even GoDaddy and Yahoo. Prior to both companies, she worked at Microsoft and Symantec.
This CTO has had a rich and exclusive career in the tech sector.
Of course this is just a small glimpse of the amazing female professionals, developers, and programers who are shaping the future of the tech industry. Whatever comes from this debate, it’s clear that the industry as a whole can look to these CTOs not only to shed light on how more women can rise to these top level positions, but also as examples of professionals who are helping their companies to succeed. That’s something worth paying attention to regardless of all the other issues.