Technology is no longer just about ‘digital strategy’, or the hardware and software a company uses. Now more than ever, we see the role of tech as horizontal across organisations and industries, as all departments transform their capabilities and learn from other industries in the process. Each of the women listed below serve as influential figures for young girls to aspire to, as they have become inspirational leaders in the technology industry.
If you would like to learn more, read the Top 100 Women in Technology.
10. Gwynne Shotwell, President & COO, SpaceX
As President and COO of SpaceX, Shotwell is responsible for day- to-day operations and managing customer and strategic relations to support company growth. She joined SpaceX in 2002 as Vice President of Business Development and built the Falcon vehicle family manifest to nearly 50 launches, representing US$5 billion in revenue.
Prior to joining SpaceX, she spent more than 10 years at the Aerospace Corporation. There she held positions in Space Systems Engineering & Technology as well as Project Management. She managed a landmark study for the Federal Aviation Administration on commercial space transportation, and extensive analysis of space policy for NASA's future investment in space transportation.
• Responsible for the day-to-day operations and company growth of SpaceX
• BSc in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University
• In 1998, she became the Director of the Space Systems Division at Microcosm Inc
• She joined SpaceX in 2002, a private, commercial, space exploration company founded by the CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk.
9. Anja Schneider, SVP & COO, Board Area Technology & Innovation, SAP
As Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the Executive Board area Technology & Innovation (T&I), Schneider is responsible for the overall operations, customer strategy, development portfolio, and cloud operations of the entire Executive Board area.
Anja brings together two worlds, ensuring operational excellence while always putting the customer first. Together with her team, she drives the development of business initiatives, such as new commercial models that lower the entry barrier for SAP customers and partners as they adopt SAP Business Technology Platform and move to the cloud.
She is also a Member of the Board of Directors at Volue.
8. Jo-ann de Pass Olsovsky, EVP & CIO, Salesforce
Olsovsky is the Salesforce EVP & CIO. The team leads global IT for Salesforce core, Mulesoft, Tableau and Slack, and it focuses on all things customer experience and employee experience. Ensuring trust, innovation, and operational excellence in technology innovation and operations, Salesforce are active in industry collaboration and partnerships, positioning for global scale and always at the forefront.
Previously, she led technology teams as CIO at BNSF Railway (for 10 years) and prior to Salesforce, held various leadership functions in the telecommunications / networking industries (AT&T, GTE, Verizon). She is also an Active customer board member and previously advisory board member at TCU and the FTW Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
- Salesforce EVP & CIO leading a worldwide technology team.
- Responsible for the global internal IT function including product management, applications, infrastructure, client services, 7x4 operations, architecture, and engineering
- Also served as the Director of Verizon in 1997
7. Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Meta
Sandberg is chief operating officer at Meta, overseeing the business operations and serving on its board of directors. Before joining the company then called Facebook, Sandberg was VP of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google, chief of staff for the United States Treasury Department, a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, and economist with the World Bank.
Sandberg is the co-author of Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. She is also the author of the bestsellers Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead and Lean In for Graduates. She is the founder of the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation, a nonprofit organisation that works to build a more equal and resilient world.
- Also worked as Vice President, Global Online Sales & Operations at Google and the Chief of Staff at the Treasury Department.
- Has a BA in Economics from Harvard University
- She is based in California, USA
6. Michele Lemmens, Head of Business Sustainability & CTO APAC, TCS
Lemmens is a senior business executive passionate about both the need, and the opportunity for businesses to embrace Sustainability in the way they operate and lead change. She has deep experience in enterprise business model transformation often driven by strategies involving new market entry, M&A, JVs, start-ups and strategic alliances. This experience along with business development and stakeholder management reaches across APAC, Middle East and UK geographies.
• Led the establishment of the GRI Regional ASEAN Hub based in Singapore, allowing her to be recognised as one of Asia's Most Inspiring Executives of 2020.
• Has a degree in Business Sustainability Management from University of Cambridge
• Her licenses and Certifications include the GRI Certified Training Program obtained in 2019.
5. Mary Beth Westmoreland, VP, Technology, Amazon
Amazon’s Vice President of Technology, Mary Beth Westmoreland is a dedicated technologist with over two decades of experience. The Amazon executive previously
worked for Blackbaud as its Chief Technology Officer. In both 2019 and 2017, Westmoreland was named one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology by the National Diversity Council, a list that honours the most extraordinary female leaders, influencers and achievers impacting the technology industry. Westmoreland is also a trustee at Immaculata University, where she graduated with a degree in Mathematics and Physics. On top of her extensive work in the technology industry, Westmoreland is a founding board member of Charleston Women in Tech.
• Has a degree in Mathematics and Physics from Immaculata University
• In 2020, she won the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Tech award issued by the National Diversity Council
• She has also been the Chief Technology Officer for Blackbaud, as well as the Vice President of Research and Development at Ipswich Inc.
4. Susan Wojcicki, CEO, YouTube
As its 16th employee, Susan Wojcicki has been fully immersed in the world of technology at Google having worked on AdSense, Google Analytics, Google Books and Google Images. Now Wojcicki is CEO of Alphabet subsidiary YouTube, which has 2 billion monthly users. The technologist advocated for the US$1.65bn acquisition of YouTube in 2006 and has run the company since 2014.
Wojcicki graduated with a Bachelor of Arts/ Science degree from Harvard University and went on to complete her Master of Science at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
In 2021, the CEO made it onto Forbes’ Power Women List and its America’s Self-Made Women list.
• Has an MBA and an MS in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles
• Previously the SVP of Adwords & AdSense at Google
• Has experience in Product Management and Analytics
• As CEO of Youtube, she is responsible for overseeing the operations of the company
3. Jacky Wright, Chief Digital Officer, Microsoft
Jacky is a global technology leader who has made a broad impact in business transformation and on social issues. As Chief Digital Officer and Corporate Vice President of Microsoft US, she inspires and leads teams to help businesses leverage technology to drive innovation, adopt sustainable and accessible business models, and digitally transform. Wright rejoined Microsoft in 2019 after completing a two-year secondment
As Chief Digital and Information Officer (CDIO) for HMRC, the British Government tax department. Jacky has extensive experience, leading large scale, organisations driving digital, transformation and market. As a woman of colour, her passion, advocacy and influence to create a truly inclusive world is demonstrated in the various forums where she regularly speaks on diversity, digital inclusion and the power of inclusive leadership.
• Also worked as Corporate Vice President and VP of IT Strategic Services at Microsoft
• In 2017, she became the Chief Digital and Information Officer for HM Revenue and Customs
• She was the winner of the Women on Boards, WinTRADE Awards 2019 issued by WinTRADE
• She was the Innovative CIO at Stanford University in 2015
2. Diane Jurgens, CIO, The Walt Disney Company
Diane is Executive Vice President, Enterprise Technology and Chief Information Officer, The Walt Disney Company. She oversees Disney’s global Enterprise Technology organisation, which includes enterprise business systems, infrastructure, workforce enablement, and enterprise resilience engineering. She is also responsible for the planning, prioritisation, implementation and operations of Disney IT systems and infrastructure across the Company in support of corporate business operations, ensuring both their strategic relevance and operational effectiveness.
Prior to joining Disney in October 2020, she served as Chief Technology Officer for BHP, a multinational mining, metals, and petroleum company. In that role, Diane was responsible for leading capital program delivery, technology operations, cyber security, data privacy, digital strategy, and research and development.
• Prior to Walt Disney, she worked for several companies including General Motors as VP and CIO
• Has a Bachelors and a Masters in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington
• Also has an MBA in International Business from Seattle University
• Won the Six Female Champions of the Global Tech Scene Award in 2020, issued by Tech Wire Asia
*The video below is from Jurgen's days at GM.
1. Elizabeth Theophille, CTTO, Novartis
Theophille is Chief Technology Transformation Officer at global healthcare giant Novartis. She is a global information technology professional with a strong track record of using technology to transform how the business operates, creating new value and growth.
Her leadership and service management experience include implementing cloud infrastructure and outsourcing at enterprise scale, cyber security initiatives, sourcing and contract negotiations, and adopting a software-as-a-service (SaaS) approach to application development.
Theophille’s digital transformation experience includes building data and advanced analytics platforms, AI and Robotics Process Automation at enterprise scale. In her role at Novartis, she is focused on the implementation of data and digital initiatives in IT and for end-to-end operational simplification programs. Prior to Novartis, she spent five years at Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia, and prior to that Capgemini.
• Former Group CIO and CTO at Nokia
• Also worked as Head of Service Management at BP International
• Based in Basel, Switzerland
• Experienced in IT Service Management and Outsourcing