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Ten female leaders who are shaping the tech industry

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Catriona Walkerden


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4 Oct 2018
7 min read
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Recently, we've been inspired to think about what’s happening in the wider tech landscape and the movers and shakers shaping our industry. So, we focused on inspiring female leaders both local and global - from the tech companies dominating our lives in and outside of work, to the local heroes who are changing the sector through their individual approaches.

1.  Cyan Ta’eed, co-founder and executive director of Envato

Shaping the tech start-up landscape. 

Cyan Ta’eed is co-founder and executive director of Envato, and founder at Hey Tiger and New Day Box. She was 2015 Telstra Victorian Business Woman of the Year and Envato was awarded Job Advisor’s Coolest Company for Diversity 2016. Cyan is deeply passionate about supporting women in technology and at work and is a popular speaker and commentator in this space as well as the tech start-up space. In a recent interview with AICD (Australian Institute of Company Directors), Cyan commented: “For us, innovation is absolutely key. We invest in a great deal of research and development, and that’s because we know that tech always moves so quickly –  we’re always looking for the next big high-growth product that we can release. So right now, we have three in the pipeline that will be out in the next six months or so. We are constantly experimenting in a lot of different areas,”. 

2.  Sarah Adam-Gedge, corporate vice president and managing director at Avanade Australia 

Shaping the digital and diversity agenda in ANZ

Sarah Adam-Gedge is corporate vice president and managing director of Avanade Australia and a regular speaker and contributor to the diversity agenda within Australia. Sarah believes digital and diversity go hand in hand and was recently quoted in the Australian: “A digital workplace doesn’t just benefit women. As we know, the expectations of all employees about the way they work have evolved. Employees are accustomed to having very digitally enhanced experiences as consumers and they now demand those same experiences in the workplace. ”Sarah is a non-executive director of Ovarian Cancer Australia and an executive director of Avanade Australia.

3.  Susan Wojcicki, CEO, YouTube 

Shaping the digital media landscape. 

Susan Wojcicki has been CEO of YouTube since February 2014. She advocated for Google's US$1.65 billion acquisition of YouTube in 2006; the video site is now worth an estimated US$90 billion. Susan was Google's 16th employee, starting as the search firm's first marketing manager and later heading all marketing and commerce. Wojcicki has proven that anyone who thinks you can’t balance parenthood and being a top executive is wrong: she’s a mother to five children. Even though many colleagues assumed she would give up her career when she had her second child, she continued to push for her career. YouTube recently announced it is working with expert NGOs on developing new video content designed to counter violent extremist messaging at different parts of the radicalisation funnel.

4.  Ginni Rometty, CEO, IBM 

Shaping the future of artificial intelligence. 

Ginni Rometty began her career with IBM in 1981 in Detroit. Since then, she has held a series of leadership positions, most recently as senior vice president and group executive, IBM sales, marketing, and strategy. Under Rometty’s leadership, cognitive computing is a key focus for the organisation. She continues to drive IBM to lead in this space and be competitive in the digital age. In her 35-year career at the company and during four years as CEO, chairman, and president, she has led spending programs for data analysis software and skills, cloud computing, and IBM's Watson artificial intelligence technology. Rometty predicts huge earnings in cognitive computing, championing the potential of Watson, an intelligence system used to analyse data for hospitals, universities, and businesses. Rometty attended the world business forum in Davos earlier this year touting the vast capability of IBM's Watson AI platform she sought to ease fears that the technology will displace human workers entirely but instead deliver the potential for AI's to "find solutions to the world's most unsolvable problems.”

5.  Hilda Clune, CIO, PwC (ANZ) 

Shaping the technology-led business transformation agenda. 

Hilda Clune is a business transformation leader and chief information officer at PwC Australia. A senior business leader with strong transformational, technology, and digital experience, Hilda has focused on business transformation enabled by digital and technology. Hilda made the CIO top 50 in 2016 and has recently been responsible for the technology-led transformation of PwC in Australia. Hilda is also a member of PwC’s Global Technology Strategy Council – a body responsible for directing a 158-country global technology transformation program across PwC’s international network, and a regular speaker on the women in technology circuit.

6.  Jacqui McNamara, general manager, security solutions, at Telstra and chair, FITT (Females in IT and Telecommunications)

Shaping the diversity and women in tech agenda.

Jacqui McNamara is a leading figure in the tech diversity and security space as chair of FITT and       GM of security solutions within Telstra. She is vocal and dedicated to changing the unconscious bias that affects women’s working lives, particularly in the male-dominated tech space. Jacqui has nearly 20 years of experience in the IT industry, in technical, marketing sales, and sales management roles. She has worked with various industry verticals including telecommunications and technologies. She has run technology startups (TippingPoint) and worked in large technology companies including Hewlett Packard and IBM, in both Australia and the UK. Jacqui is passionate about attracting women to IT and helping women further their careers in the sector. She has been mentoring for many years as part of her formal and informal contribution to the industry.

7.  Jennie Mclaughlin, partner, advisory, EY (ANZ)

Shaping the technology advisory space in ANZ

Jennie Mclaughlin is an EY partner and advisory lead for TMT (technology, media, and telco) within ANZ. She is a seasoned executive with 25 years of outstanding results in senior marketing, customer, and operational roles across a diverse range of companies including start-ups, multinationals, and self-employed as a strategic adviser. Jennie is passionate about helping people find their purpose and is an avid supporter and mentor of women in the IT sector. Jennie works collaboratively with colleagues and clients to inspire and build a better working world by helping companies successfully transform, innovate and grow. She believes that happy employees ensure happy customers. And happy customers ensure happy shareholders — in that order.

8.  Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook 

Shaping the social media landscape and driving diversity awareness globally.

No list of women in tech would be complete without Sheryl Sandberg featured. Facebook's chief operating officer since 2008, Sandberg has helped dramatically boost revenues at the social network and in doing so, her own public profile, which she has used to raise awareness of gender diversity issues within the technology sector. Prior to Facebook, she spent six years as a vice president at Google, where she was one of the first employees and developed some of its most profitable programs. Sandberg recently unveiled Facebook’s flagship European counternarrative program, the Online Civil Courage Initiative, working actively with governments to remove terrorism from the Facebook platform. She announced recently “There is no place for hate or violence on Facebook. We use technology like AI to find and remove terrorist propaganda, and we have teams of counter-terrorism experts and reviewers around the world working to keep extremist content off our platform.”

9.  Meg Whitman, CEO, HP 

Shaping and challenging conventional industry wisdom that bigger is better in tech.

Meg Whitman is CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and chairman of HP Inc. Whilst most tech giants are acquiring wildly and doubling in size, Meg quietly but confidently implemented a strategy to turn HP around that saw the company split its organisation into two. Meg had the insight to see the rise and rapid growth of tech startups challenging the tech behemoths when she oversaw its historic split. At the time of this article being published, it is rumoured Meg Whitman is on the shortlist for Uber CEO.

10. Maya Hari Managing Director Asia Pacific at Twitter

Shaping social media in the business landscape.

Maya Hari has been managing director for Southeast Asia and India at Twitter, Inc. since November 2016, having previously managed Twitter's ads product strategy and adoption for Asia Pacific, MENA, and Latin America. Maya's expertise is global and multi-cultural, having led teams and people across Asia Pacific, East Asia, Latin America, US, and India. In 2015, Maya was awarded CMO Asia's Women Leadership Excellence Award for her contribution to tech and entrepreneurship.

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