Published on 29th January 2019
Digital technology may be traditionally male dominated, but each year that passes more great women around the world are storming this castle and, thanks to their extraordinary work, leaving the door open for fresh female talent to follow in their footsteps.
If you're ever in doubt as to whether digital technology is the career for you, these inspiring women are the figureheads to look for. Today we're shining a spotlight on five influential female figures in software and the cloud to show you what you too could achieve.
Influential women in technology are changing the game for their future successors.
1. Alice Steinglass, President, Code.org
Our first influential female figure, Alice Steinglass, is one of the most important for young women still in school.
After spending over a decade working with Microsoft on projects such as Xbox Live, Windows 7 and HoloLens, Steinglass joined Code.org - a nonprofit organisation that helps introduce millions of students to computer science. Importantly, 45 per cent of Code.org's students are female, according to its own stats.
Within a few short years Steinglass became Code.org's president. She now leads its mission to give every school student, male or female, the chance to learn computer science.
In her own words to GeekWire, by building students' confidence in writing code and developing software, "it's giving people another way to find their voice."
— Alice Steinglass (@AliceSteinglass) December 6, 2017
2. Jean Liu, President, Didi Chuxing
Our next inspirational figure is the woman who beat Uber. Jean Liu features on Time magazine's 2017 100 Most Influential People list, and is president of Chinese ride-sharing app Didi Chuxing. Previously she earned a BA from Peking University and MS from Harvard, was managing director for Goldman Sachs (Asia), and was an official torchbearer for the Rio Olympics (elected by public vote).
Liu has had many public achievements, although few more impressive than beating Uber in 2016 alongside Didi's chairman, Cheng Wei - after a nearly two-year battle, Uber sold its operations to Didi and departed China, with Liu having helmed the negotiation. She has also ensured other women have access to opportunities within her company, with 37 per cent of Didi's tech positions going to females.
While Liu herself may not have come up through the ranks of software development, her work is ensuring that other women in China certainly can.
3. Melody Meckfessel, VP Engineering, Google Cloud
Melody Meckfessel is Google Cloud's VP of engineering. She is at the heart of Google's universe, supporting tens of thousands of engineers with DevOps tools and best practices. One of her key skills is in
handling people, and indeed a lot of her work is making Google engineers' lives easier.
She summed up this attitude perfectly in an interview with Wired: "Software is written by humans. If you're not taking care of the humans, you lose something," she said. Meckfessel went on to say she believes women bring a unique perspective to software, and that cloud is creating more opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds.
Impressively, Meckfessel still finds time to live life. Not only is she VP of engineering, she's also a parent and winemaker.
This is how Moms in tech do live demos! Demo script and shopping list. Grateful to be telling the #DevOps story for @GCPcloud with the amazing @sona310 (check it out @milesward) pic.twitter.com/MEf5KY7UXO— melody meckfessel (@mmeckf) November 30, 2018
4. Ashwini Asokan, Founder and CEO, Mad Street Den
Ashwini Asokan, who has lived and worked in both Chennai, India and Silicon Valley, is a tech entrepreneur in AI and a fierce advocate for women's equality.
Asokan is the co-founder of Mad Street Den, an AI company that utilises proprietary image recognition software to empower retail businesses. Prior to that she worked with Intel on design and UX, and now uses her position in the industry to not only challenge people's perceptions on AI, but to also ensure that future generations of women have an equal chance to thrive as their male counterparts.
Mad Street Den leads by example. The company comprises half men, half women, with adequate play/care space for any mothers that join the company in future and need to nurse or pump.
5. Michelle Munson, Founder and CEO, Eluvio
Finally, we have Michelle Munson, currently running tech start-up Eluvio and whose previous start-up, Aspera, was successful enough to be acquired by IBM back in 2014.
Munson's career spans two decades, starting as a research associate and proceeding through software engineering to get to the co-founding of Aspera in 2003. Aspera is important because it revolutionised cloud transfer speeds. Its patented FASP technology could reduce the transfer of a 24 GB file sent halfway around the world from 26 hours to 30 seconds.
This is a picture-perfect career for young coders to try and follow. Thanks to the cloud opportunities abound for savvy young developers and other tech entrepreneurs to forge their own place in the world, no matter who they are. All it takes to change the world is the idea in your head.
At #BVE18 Michelle Munson CEO/Co-founder at Eluvio talked about revolutionizing #DigitalContent storage and interchange with #Blockchain ledgers and #MachineLearning. What does this mean? Find out more: https://t.co/wrAQEEKgI3 #IOT #Technology pic.twitter.com/vmorTfvD5U— BVE 2019 (@BVExpo) April 13, 2018
If you're interested in progressing your career within the technology industry you need a recruitment specialist to support you and help find your place in it. To learn more about how Ambition can help build your future, talk to us today.