21 Rising Technical Superstars: Meet The Female Engineers Who Just May Become The Next Fortune 500 CTO!
Of the Fortune 500 companies, only two have a recognizable female CTO. Fear not – here are 21 women engineers to watch. Talented engineering managers and leaders to watch, as of them may pleasantly surprise you by becoming a CTO of a Fortune 500 company!
By Angie Chang (Director of Growth, Hackbright Academy)
Of the Fortune 500 companies, only two have a recognizable female CTO – GoDaddy’s Elissa Murphy and Cisco’s Padmasree Warrior. As the external face of the company’s technology platform, the CTO is a visionary leader and role model that developers, customers and employees look to.
Here are 21 women to watch – they are rising engineering leaders to watch. Some of them may pleasantly surprise you by becoming a CTO of a successful startup or a Fortune 500 company!
#1 – Camille Fournier, Rent the Runway VP of Architecture
Camille Fournier is the Vice President of Technical Architecture at Rent the Runway, the e-commerce startup that raised over $50 million in venture funding from investors. Before she joined Rent the Runway, she worked for Goldman Sachs as an infrastructure software engineer and continues to serve the open source community as part of the Apache ZooKeeper project. She blogs about writing software for humans and other engineering topics. Follow her at @skamille.
#2 – Clarie Hough, Udemy VP of Engineering
Serial startup engineering leader Claire Hough is currently Vice President of Engineering at Udemy, an online learning platform based in San Francisco. Previously, she held senior engineering positions at companies including Netscape, Napster, NexTag, Citrus Lane and Tapjoy. She holds multiple degrees in engineering and operations research from UC Berkeley. Follow her on LinkedIn.
#3 – Heidi Williams, Box Director of Platform Engineering
Heidi Williams is a director of platform engineering at Box. She comes from Adobe, where she started as a software engineer at Macromedia in 1996. Heidi’s story is one of perseverence, as she climbed the career ladder at Adobe from individual contributor to group manager, and is now an up-and-coming engineering leader. Follow her at LinkedIn.
#4 – Jan Chong, Twitter Engineering Manager for Android
Previously an engineering manager for cloud gaming platform OnLive, Jan Chong is now a respected engineering manager for the Android team at Twitter. Her main interest is in developing new technologies that fundamentally change the way people work and/or play. She was featured in Wired for playing the Game, “a unique sort of entertainment-cum-sport for the puzzle-obsessed.” Follow her at @lessachu.
#5 – Jocelyn Goldfein, Facebook Director of Engineering
Jocelyn Goldfein is a director of engineering at Facebook. She started her career as a software engineer intern at Netscape in 1995, and climbed the career ladder to become the Vice President of Engineering and Product at VMware in 2010. Now at Facebook, she frequently gives advice to young women in technology and plays an important role in the recruitment of women to Facebook engineering. Follow her at Facebook.
#6 – Josie Gillan, Salesforce Director of Quality Engineering
Josie Gillan is currently Director of Quality Engineering at Salesforce. She has held a variety of different positions in technology, including developer, database administrator, development manager, and technical program manager. She leads the Salesforce Women in Technology Outreach team whose charter is to promote STEM to girls. Follow her at @JosieGillan.
#7 – Julia Grace, Tindie Head of Engineering
Julia Grace is currently Head of Engineering at online hardware marketplace Tindie, where she was the first employee and built the engineering team from the ground up. Before Tindie, she was CTO of WeddingLovely (a 500 Startups company). She speaks frequently on hardware hacking and being an entrepreneur. Follow her at @jewelia.
#8 – Kathy Baldanza, Perforce VP Engineering
Kathy Baldanza is the Vice President of Engineering at Perforce, where she is delivering world-class version management solutions. She has more than 20 years of technical management experience. Her startup experience includes developing technical teams at Ingres, Illustra, and Cohera. A believer in giving back, Kathy is part of a Girls Inc task force to empower young women in STEM. Follow her at @KBaldanza.
#9 – Kimber Lockhart, Box Senior Director of Engineering
Kimber Lockhart is the Senior Director of Web Application Engineering at Box and a frequent tech speaker. She started as a computer science major at Stanford who started Increo Solutions with some friends. In 2009, online file sharing and enterprise cloud solution company Box acquired Increo Solutions for their in-browser content viewing and sharing capabilities, and Kimber has gained engineering responsibility at Box ever since. Follow her at @kimber_lockhart.
#10 – Margret Schmidt, Tivo VP of Design & Engineering
Margret Schmidt is the Vice President of Design and Engineering and Chief Design Officer at TiVo. She leads the design and development of all domestic and international TiVo products, including DVR and set-top box software, mobile and web apps, and the TiVo Service. Margret has been with TiVo since 2001, and holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley. Follow her at @TivoDesign.
#11 – Maria Zhang, Yahoo! Senior Director of Engineering
Maria Zhang is currently the Senior Director of Engineering for mobile at Yahoo!. She founded Propeld, a technology startup providing personalized, location-based product and content recommendations to branded mobile apps and sites, which was acquired by Yahoo! in February 2013. She has 15 years experience in designing and building large-scale machine learning and data mining systems to bring value to millions of individual consumers. Prior to her entrepreneurial endeavors, Maria led the personal relevance team for MSN content at Microsoft and led the data team at Zillow. She blogs.
#12 – Mary Lou Jepsen, Google Head of Google[x] Display
Newly appointed Head of Display Division at Google[x], serial CTO Mary Lou Jepsen has an illustrious career as a technical leader and pioneer of optical technology. She founded four startups with core focii in the unpopular but compelling area of display devices and hardware. Mary Lou served as the CTO at all of them, and at the most recent startup Pixel Qi, she was the CEO. She is most widely known as the co-founder and CTO of One Laptop per Child (OLPC). Follow her at @mljmljmlj.
#13 – Megan Smith, Google VP of Google[x]
Megan Smith is the Vice President of Google[x], where she works on a range of projects including SolveForX to encourage and amplify technology-based moonshot thinking and collaboration. Prior to Google[x], she led Google’s New Business Development team managing early-stage partnerships and technology licensing for Google’s global engineering and product teams. Megan holds multiple degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT, where she serves on the board. Follow her at @smithmegan.
#14 – Melody Meckfessel, Google Director of Engineering
Melody Meckfessel currently leads a team of 160+ engineers responsible for Developer Infrastructure at Google. Her team builds highly scalable systems from IDEs to build systems to highly automated test systems and finally release and deployment to Google’s massive production environment. Find her in technical design discussions (often whiteboarding), code reviews, removing obstacles through cross-org coordination, and making decisions to move projects forward. She was profiled in Wired recently in an article titled “This Is the Woman at the Heart of Everything Google Builds”.
#15 – Nicola Dourambeis, Salesforce VP Infrastructure
Nicola Dourambeis is currently the Vice President of Agile Infrastructure Delivery at Salesforce. She has built one of the strongest enterprise agile programs at Salesforce in the technology industry, encompassing more than 200 teams in technology and products. She’s managed projects that run the gamut from disorganized start-up chaos, to waterfall to different flavors of Agile (Scrum, XP, Lean). She still enjoys consulting through Purple Agility with early-stage startup companies on getting agile. Follow her on LinkedIn.
#16 – Olga Lagunova, CA Technologies SVP
Olga Lagunova is a Senior Vice President and Distinguished Engineer at CA Technologies. She is a development manager and architect with over 10 years of experience leading highly distributed engineering teams in building, deploying and supporting large commercial applications. Olga’s greatest professional achievement is her ability to initiate and deliver new, innovative software products while building high-performing development teams that feel valued and integral to company’s success. She coaches women-led companies at Springboard Enterprises. Follow her on LinkedIn.
#17 – Pavni Diwanji, Google VP of Engineering
Pavni Diwanji is the VP of Engineering at Google. Prior to joining Google in 2005, she was a serial entrepreneur who started and sold multiple successful companies including Mailfrontier and Kendara. She is featured in a MAKERS video for her work at Google in engineering. Follow her at +PavniDiwanji.
#18 – Selina Tobaccowala, SurveyMonkey SVP Engineering
An entrepreneur who started Evite out of her Stanford dorm room (and sold the company to Ticketmaster in 2001), Selina Tobaccowala is currently the Senior Vice President of Engineering and Product at SurveyMonkey. She has spoken at conferences and to engineering fellows at Hackbright Academy, where women are trained to become software engineers. Follow her at @selinato.
#19 – Shilpa Lawande, HP VP of Engineering
Shilpa Lawande started at Vertica Systems, a big data analytics platform for real-time analytics based in Cambridge. She worked her way up from director of engineering to vice president of engineering at Vertica, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in February 2011. Shilpa is now responsible for product delivery and support for the Vertica analytic platform at Hewlett-Packard, where she is Vice President of Software Engineering and Customer Support for the Vertica business unit. Follow her on LinkedIn.
#20 – Susie Wee, Cisco VP & CTO of Networked Experiences
Susie Wee is the Vice President and CTO of Networked Experiences at Cisco. She is developing technologies and architectures for software-defined networks that provide improved operational, end user and developer experiences with the network. Prior to this, Susie was the VP & Chief Technology and Experience Officer of Cisco’s collaboration technology group, where she was responsible for driving innovation and experience design in Cisco’s collaboration products and software services. She blogs. Follow her at @susiewee.
#21 – Yoky Matsuoka, Nest Vice President of Technology
Yoky Matsuoka is the Vice President at Nest, maker of the smart, energy-efficient home thermostat. Prior to Nest, she was a founding member of Google X and served as the Head of Innovation at Google. Yoky graduated from UC Berkeley and earned an MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT. She received the MacArthur Genius Award for her work in robotics and neuroscience. She was recently profiled in 7×7 magazine as a leading woman in tech, and blogs over at Nest.
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