Forensic science is one of the only disciplines within STEM that boasts a majority in female graduates. The Forensic Outreach team certainly reflects this unusual demographic – not usually seen in start-ups either. Here, we tip our proverbial hats to the extraordinary people working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. We’ve profiled some of the respected and innovative ones here – and they just happen to be women.
We’d like to take this time, at the end of 2014, to provide insight into their accomplishments, philanthropy and empowering career choices – and hopefully inspire other girls and women to dream a little bigger in the new year.
Without further ado, and in no particular order, read on.
1. Padmasree Warrior
Padmasree Warrior is the quintessential chief executive, having ascended to Chief Technology Officer at Cisco after Executive VP and CTO duties at Motorola. At Cisco, she is a visionary and a corporate strategist, and has led Cisco’s worldwide engineering organisation in the fields of cloud computing, security, core switching and other advanced technologies. A popular speaker and motivator, she has over 1.5 million followers on her Twitter account. She has received many honours, including being named as one of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” by Forbes Magazine two years in a row and “The 100 Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company among several more accolades.
2. Meg Whitman
A powerful woman with vision, Margaret “Meg” Whitman rose to her position as CEO of the Hewlett Packard Company via executive positions with The Walt Disney Company, DreamWorks, Hasbro and Proctor & Gamble. During a term as CEO of eBay, she drove expansion from 30 employees to over 15,000, and revenues from $4 million to over $8 billion. Forbes named her #20 on “The 100 Most Powerful Women in the World” list. She ran for Governor of California as the Republican Primary winner in 2010, but lost to Jerry Brown in the run-off, at which point she accepted leadership of Hewlett Packard.
3. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
Chairman and Managing Director of Biocon Limited in Bangalore, India, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is recognised by the Financial Times as one of “The Top 50 Women in Business”. She is 92nd on the 2014 Forbes “Most Powerful Women in the World” list. Trained as a chemist and brewmaster, she came under the attention of Leslie Auchincloss of Biocon Biochemical of Cork, Ireland, and agreed to lead a joint venture of the company’s operations in India. She overcame many obstacles in the male-dominated business culture due to her youth, inexperience and financial customs that may have favoured men over women in India, as well as unhidden extreme prejudice against female business leaders, ultimately enjoying extreme success in every venue she challenged. Her philanthropic endeavors – which she calls “compassionate capitalism” – have initiated health care programs and educational outreach programs that benefit millions.
4. Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg’s career path has been meteoric. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard and being awarded the John H. Williams prize as the top undergraduate student in economics, she went on to become a research assistant at the World Bank, joined Chief of Staff to Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers under President Bill Clinton, and then went to Google Inc. where she served as VP of Global Online Sales and Operations for seven years. She was recruited to Facebook at the request of Mark Zuckerberg, where her challenge was determining how to make Facebook profitable. Fortune Magazine ranked her as one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for four years in a row.
5. Danah Boyd
A principal researcher at Microsoft Research, Dana Boyd is a world-renowned expert in young people who use social media as part of their everyday lives. She has taught at NY University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, as well as Harvard’s Berkman Center. She is an author, academic and life-long scholar, and currently focuses on cultural and social aspects of privacy, publicity, civil rights implications and data (mis)interpretation of ‘big data’. A prolific blogger, her viewpoints and opinions are helping mainstream companies and media to understand the influence of young people and their connection to technology.
6. Sarah Lacy
The sometimes controversial voice of American technology, Sarah Ruth Lacy has been an outspoken author, journalist and entrepreneur, having founded PandoDaily – a technology blog and event sponsor. She co-hosted Yahoo’s web video show “Yahoo Tech Ticker” and served as a columnist at BusinessWeek. She is noted for a rare interview with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerman in 2008 at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in 2008. Her books “Once you’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good” is an in-depth review of some Silicon Valley tech companies, with insights and anecdotes about the founders, the challenges and the secrets of those companies.
7. Katie Jacobs Stanton
Katie Jacobs Stanton graduated from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in 1991. She began a rise through technology companies in leadership positions, including a producer position at Yahoo! Finance, a term at Google where she helped develop Google Finance, The Google Open Social Initiative, Google Moderator and other popular programmes. President Barack Obama appointed her as the Director of Citizen Participation, and in 2010, she became the Special Advisor at the U.S. State Department in the Office of Innovation. Having used Twitter extensively in her posts, she was offered the position of Vice President of Global Media for Twitter, where she serves today.
8. Baroness Lane-Fox
In 2013, Martha Lane Fox, Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho, became the youngest female member of the UK House of Lords. She is a technology pioneer, philanthropist and entrepreneur, having founded lastminute.com during the original dot.com boom in 2000. Lastminute.com became a successful travel and leisure portal and went public in 2005. She sits on the board of Channel 4, and is the chairperson for the digital skills charity: Go ON UK. She is a vocal advocate of human rights, women’s rights and social justice causes.
9. Ory Okolloh Mwangi
Ory Okolloh has harnessed technology to bring about social change in her native Kenya. As a Policy Manager for Google in Africa, she became fascinated with how technology tools could help publicise and shine the light on social injustice. She co-founded a parliamentary watchdog site named Mzalendo (Swahili for “patriot”) which increased government accountability by making speeches, bills, standing orders and other government business visible to citizens, journalists and the world. During the violence resulting from a disputed presidential election in 2007, she created a website called Ushahidi (“witness”) that collected and collated eyewitness accounts, videos, texts and reports of violence connected to Google Maps, a technology which has been adopted in many other world hot spots. She runs the Kenyan Pundit blog, and is a legal consultant for NGO’s and the World Bank.
10. Angela Ahrendts
A marketing and fashion merchandising icon, Angela Ahrendts left a CEO position at Burberry to join Apple in 2014 as the Senior VP of Online and Retail Sales. Born in Indiana, USA, she has been the recipient of many awards in the UK, including the most Excellent Order of the British Empire for her services to British business. She has made the Forbes “100 Most Powerful Women in the World” list every year since 2006, and Forbes “Top 50 Women in World Business in 2010 and 2011. At Apple, she is responsible for the operation and expansion of the innovative retail and online stores, and helps to redefine the shopping experience for hundreds of millions of customers worldwide.
11. Eileen Burbidge
Passion Capital, the London-based venture capital firm, was established by Eileen Burbridge and two partners. Bringing extensive experience in the high tech industry from positions at Yahoo!, Skype, Apple, Sun and PalmSource, her network include financial, technology and innovation leaders worldwide. As a frequent guest commentator for Bloomberg TV, the BBC and CNBC, she also serves on the Advisory Board for the Prime Minister’s Tech City UK, which is organised to promote and enable technology companies in Britain.
12. Simone Brummelhuis
Coming from a decade-long background as an international corporate lawyer, Simone Brummelhuis became an entrepreneur when she set up Brummsbooks, a B2B publishing company. Moving between venture capital companies and online publications, her financial savvy lent itself to the role of VP Europe at astia.org, a venture accelerator and entrepreneur program for women-led companies exhibiting high potential and rapid growth. As Founder and CEO of The Next Women, she developed the female business publishing brand into the first women’s business magazine on the internet, and spawned concepts such as female Internet heroes, funding and pitching events, job swaps and a mentoring programme sponsored by The New Women.
13. Nicky Morgan
Nicky Morgan has spent her career in public service as a solicitor and politician. She was selected in 2004 for the Loughborough seat, and became the Conservative member of Parliament in 2010. She was recently appointed as the Secretary of State for Education and the Minister for Women and Equalities.
14. Alice Bell
A self-described academic, Alice Bell is a researcher, writer and blogger with a special interest in the politics of science and technology. She is a frequent lecturer at City University in London, an editor at “How We Get To Next”, a climate change reporter for the “Road to Paris”, and a science policy blogger for The Guardian. She worked at the Science Museum prior to becoming a freelancer.
15. Sue Black
Dr Sue Black is a celebrated Senior Research Associate at the University College in London. A vocal supporter of women in computing, she founded the BCS specialist Group: BCSWomen. She runs a blog that supports and raises funds for Bletchley Park, the World War II centre for decrypting coded enemy communications, and has appeared on BBC television and radio, among other media outlets. She was awarded the first John Ivinson Award from the British Computer Society and, in 2011, won the PepsiCo Women’s Inspiration Award. Her blog “Technology for Change” is a popular site for news, encouragement and inside information for women in IT.
16. Caitlin Doughty
Finding fame in a niche not usually claimed by young women in STEM, Caitlin Doughty has been fascinated with the thought and social implications of death since early childhood. Trained as a mortician, she takes her message to the world through her blogs, books and YouTube channel. Her web series “Ask a Mortician” brings questions that people were once afraid to ask into the mainstream, and her book “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory” contains part of her philosophy for advocating death acceptance.
17. Sherry Coutu
An angel investor who has assisted many tech companies to eventual success, Sherry Coutu is a former CEO of financial services companies, and now serves on the boards of companies, charities and universities. She is a member of the London Stock Exchange, and has been recognised as the best CEO mentor/advisor in Europe in 2010 by TechCrunch. One of the tech companies she founded was responsible for the first eCommerce transaction in the financial services industry. She is a philanthropist and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire based on her assistance to entrepreneurs in the New Year’s Honours List in 2013.
DNLee is an Outreach Scientist and Biologist, researching behavioural syndromes in animals as they relate to individual variations of behaviour, looking particularly at genetic components to behavioural differences. In her outreach efforts, she blogs at “The Urban Scientist” about evolutionary biology and urban ecology, which is hosted by Scientific American. She also co-founded National Science & Technology News, an organisation for media advocacy.
19. Belinda Parmar
Founder of Little Miss Geek and CEO of Lady Geek, Belinda Parmar is a campaigner who is dedicated to inspire girls to become technology pioneers. With a goal of making technology accessible and appealing to women, her mission is to end the stereotyping and patronising of women interested in a career in technology, science and the games industry. She is well known due to her appearances on the BBC, articles in Wired, The Times, Glamour magazine and a column in the Huffington Post.
20. Bindi Karia
Bindi Karia left her position of Microsoft UK’s Venture Capital/Emerging Business lead to join the Silicon Valley Bank as Vice President. Based in London, she participates as a mentor at London’s top incubators including TechStars, Seedcamp, Startupbootcamp and more. The Guardian named her as “One Of The Ten Women In Tech You Need To Meet”, and has also been recognised by many other organisations. She is a TED Athens speaker from 2012.
21. Virginia (Ginni) Rometty
Ginni Rometty is the current Chairwoman and CEO of IBM, and is the first woman to lead that company. Forbes has named her one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for eight consecutive years. In 2012, she was ranked #1. After graduating from Northwest University with high honours in 1979, she worked for the General Motors Institute for two years before joining IBM in 1981. She is credited with getting IBM into Cloud Computing and analytics, in addition to developing Watson, the Jeopardy play computer.
22. Athene Donald
Dame Athene Margaret Donald is a British physicist, member of the Cambridge University Council and Professor of Experimental Physics at Cambridge. Her area of research is soft matter physics in applications related to living organisms. She was nominated and became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1999, and has been awarded many honours, including the L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards for Women in Science, Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire as well as Honorary Doctorates from three Universities.
23. Ursula Burns
Ursula Burns is the CEO and chairman of Xerox. She joined the company in 1980 as a mechanical engineering intern and has used her MSc degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University to work her way to the top of this multi-billion dollar company. Furthermore, Burns is the Founding director of Change the Equation which is an organisation dedicated to improving STEM education in schools and engaging young people in these subjects.
24. Susan Wojcicki
In September of 1998, Google was incorporated and found its first home in the garage of partner Susan Diane Wojcicki. A product of the Silicon Valley tech boom, she originally intended to get her PhD in economics after graduating from Harvard, but discovered technology and her passion benefited both her and many of the innovators who are now prominent in the largest technology companies in the world. She was instrumental in many Google products, including the development of AdSense, Google’s second largest source of income. When Google acquired YouTube through her negotiation, she ultimately became head of that subsidiary. She has been identified as the “most important person in advertising” and described as the most important Googler you’ve never heard of. In 2001, she was number 16 on Forbes magazine’s list of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women”. In 2014, she was #12 on that esteemed list.
25. Emma Mulqueeny
Founder of Rewired State and Young Rewired State, Emma Mulqueeney built these companies on the premise that young people, digital democracy and open data go hand in hand. She organised the “Year 8 is Too Late” campaign which encourages girls and young women to enter technology subjects as soon as an interest is sparked. She has been included on: the Wired 100 list; The TechCity 100; the BIMA Hot 100; the Guardian identified her as one of the top ten women in technology; and Computer Weekly named her as one of the 25 most influential women in IT.
26. Dina Kaplan
Blip.tv, a media portal for web series content, is one of the first content channels on the Internet designed for new media producers to distribute original productions. Founded in 2005 by Dina Kaplan and partners, it got off the ground by way of collective contribution. Dina was inspired by the positive impact that Gerry Laybourne contributed to her early efforts developing the Blip.tv concept, which was advice that ensured her success. The impact this voluntary mentoring had on her life was significant, and subsequently Dina made it her mission to mirror that contribution by providing positive resources and support to women joining the technology sector.
27. Darlene Cavalier
Darlene Cavalier founded Science Cheerleader as an organisation of 275 former NFL and NBA cheerleaders who have moved on into careers in science, technology, engineering and math. She is an entrepreneur, a writer and blogger and an advocate for public participation in science. A senior adviser to Discovery Magazine, she has appeared on the Today Show, CNN and countless media outlets. She founded SciStarter and co-founder of ECAST (Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology). She served on the steering committee for the 2008 Presidential Science Debate featuring Barack Obama and John McCain, and was instrumental in helping form Obama’s science policy.
28. Anne Marie Imafidon
A child prodigy in Mathematics, Anne-Marie Imafidon received a British scholarship in 2003 at 13 years old to study mathematics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and was admitted to the University of Oxford two years later. At 19, she became Oxford’s youngest graduate from the Masters Program. She went to the Deutsche Bank after graduation, and since then has become a vocal advocate for the work of women in STEM. She established the Stemettes organisation, and promotes panel sessions, hackathons and other programs that are designed to attract girls and young women to a career in science, math, engineering and technology.
29. Katrin Verclas
Katrin Verclas developed mobileactive.org to provide an online and offline meeting place for innovators working in mobile communications technologies worldwide. Realising that innovation in mobile apps could be accelerated by providing a community resource for idea sharing, collaboration, mentoring and job opportunities, one of the original concepts is exploring ideas that did not work through FAILFaire, where NGOs discussed projects that ran aground in order to understand the roadblocks and jump the idea back into the realm of possibility. Verclas’ work has been recognized by a TED Fellowship and a Knight News Challenge grant.
30. Kathryn Parsons
Decoded is designed to teach people digital enlightenment, as described by co-founder Kathryn Parsons. Computer code is simply another language whose relevance in the modern age for consumers who would rather be participants – creators – in the digital world. So far, more than 7,000 people have taken Decoded’s most popular course – Code_in_a Day, including people from the BBC, Facebook, Disney and the IMF. Since launching Decoded, Kathryn is now one of the Silicon Roundabout stars on London’s Old Street, and joined other digital pioneers as an inductee on the Time’s Young Female Power List this past February, in 2014.
31. Jacki Zehner
In 1996, Jacki Zehner became the first woman trader to join Goldman Sachs. Working up from the floor trading mortgage-backed securities, she became part of the executive team in 2000. In 2002, she co-founded Circle Financial Group, specialising in women committed to private wealth management for family assets and philanthropic activities. She is a co-chair for Women Moving Millions, a community of individuals who have made gifts of over $1 million each to promote the advancement of women and girls. She is a member of the Harvard Kennedy School Women’s Leadership Board, The Red Cross Tiffany Circle and many other important networks.
32. Joanna Shields
The Digital Advisor to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Baroness Joanna Shields is an American-British business executive, investor, philanthropist and entrepreneur. For the last 27 years, she has concentrated on building some of the world’s biggest technology companies, including contributing to Google, Facebook, AOL and RealNetworks. In September of 2014, she was appointed to a Life Peer position in the House of Lords. She was ranked #1 on the Wired 100 in 2011, among other honours, and has been appointed a working peer for the Conservatives.
33. Rebecca Garcia
A coder and passionate technology evangelist, Rebecca Garcia maintains a blog at GeekGirlWeb. She was one of the developers of Squarespace. She has served as the CTO of Greatist, a developer of Do Something and an Ambassador of the Hello World Foundation. In 2013, she was honoured as a U.S. White House “Champion of Change”.
34. Wendy Tan White
Moonfruit, a UK based website builder was established during the first “dot com” boom in 2000 by Wendy Tan White and two partners. Wendy now writes and promotes her need for greater recognition and support for women in business and female entrepreneurs. A female Tech Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011, she serves on the Imperial College Industrial Liaison Board, is a mentor for ‘500 Startups’ and supports the Women 2.0 initiative.
35. Nicola Mendelsohn
Advertising executive Nicola Mendelsohn became the Vice President for Facebook for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In addition to her powerful skill set, she is noted for her condition of working only a four day work week, so she can maintain her 20 year marriage and be with her four children, aged 8 to 16. Her belief is that focusing her work time on Facebook and family time uninterrupted improves her work-life balance and work performance.
36. Cindy Bates
The SMB (Small and Midsized Business) market for Microsoft has been under the care of Cindy Bates, a 16 year veteran at the company with two decades of experience leading high performance sales, marketing and development teams in high tech. A widely respected thought leader in SMB space, she is also a contributing columnist for entrepreneur.com and writes a weekly blog for the Microsoft Business Hub.
37. Sarah Wood
Co-founder and COO of Unruly, Sarah Wood manages social media video campaigns. Unruly is the leading programmatic platform for social media advertising, and outnumbers YouTube by a factor of 3 to 1 in that category. Inc. Magazine named Sarah one of “The 15 Women to Watch in Tech”, and Forbes named her one of “The 10 London-based Entrepreneurs to Watch”.
38. Susan Lyne
With a successful career in media, including CEO of AOL’s brand group, CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Gilt Groupe, and as a top television executive at ABC Disney, developing shows such as “Lost”, “Desperate Housewives” and “Grey’s Anatomy”, Susan Lyne is stepping down to run a venture fund inside AOL dedicated to empowering women-led digital startup companies.
39. Liz Upton
Raspberry Pi’s only full-time worker is Liz Upton. Co-founder with her husband, Eben, she is an award-winning freelance editor and writer with a background in educational publishing. Raspberry Pi is an educational charity dedicated to provide democratic computing for those too poor to own a computer, and to promote computer science courses in schools, using a very low cost device for students.
40. Regina Agyare
Regina Agyare founded Soronko Solutions as a software development company based in Ghana designed to develop the next generation of women in technology. Regina also started the “Tech Needs Girls Ghana” movement in order to provide a resource for training and educating Ghanaian girls in technology related courses. Many Ghana girls are now coding for companies in their native country.
41. Alice Roberts
Alice Roberts is an author, anatomist and osteoarchaeologist who has presented several fascinating shows all over television. Starting her career as a doctor, she soon developed an interest in physical anthropology, specifically pertaining to human evolution. Currently, Roberts holds the post as a Professor of Public Engagement at the University of Birmingham where she aims to increase the dialogue between scientific researchers and the public.
42. Alice Bentinck
Entrepreneur First is a tech startup accelerator which directs and assists Nottingham graduates to build startups, with 20 new companies already benefiting. Co-founded by Alice Bentinck, a Nottingham graduate herself, the first 11 businesses she mentored are now valued at more than $50 million. The premise is to offer students an alternative to graduating and looking for a job. Individuals are encouraged to share their talent, then are given a year to establish a team, refine an idea and create a viable project. Alice also established “Code First: Girls”, a free programming course available online.
43. Sylvia Leatham
Sylvia Leatham is a copywriter, editor, tech journalist and science enthusiast. She is one of the co-founders of the science podcast “Scibernia.ie”, formed by science enthusiasts who wish to share the passion for science news, analysis and debate sprouting from Ireland and beyond.
44. Rosalind Hudnell
Since 1994, Rosalind Hudnell has served Intel as the Chief Diversity Officer and Global Director of Education and External Relations. She has maintained a focus on professional development for women, as a Director of the Human Rights Diversity Advisory Council and Watermark. She co-authored “The Battle For Female Talent”, a Harvard Business Review title and was selected as a Woman Helping the World in STEM by Forbes Magazine.
45. Gemma Young
Gemma Young began her professional career science teacher, becoming a freelance writer and consultant for educational science resources in 2010. She founded Snapshot Science, a website dedicated to making science relevant, surprising, engaging and occasionally controversial.
46. Lopa Patel
Fostering a life-long love of science and technology, Lopa Patel is an evangelist for STEM, a consultant to Parliament on diversity and inclusion issues, and the founder of several web-based entities, including Diversity UK, an equality think tank, and the eCommerce site – theredhotshop.com, for which she won the Asian Woman of Achievement award in 2005.
47. Pamela Springer
Pamela Springer, the former Manta CEO, invested in a new venture, and now serves as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Mindset Digital of Columbus, Ohio. Formed three years ago by Debra Jasper and Betsy Hubbard, social media trainers for large news organizations, Mindset Digital provides social media training for professionals in Fortune 500 companies, helping today’s hyper-distracted work force keep up in the digital world. Pamela was recruited because of her experience in building great companies which traditionally exceed client and investor expectations.
48. Wendi Sturgis
Yext, a startup which helps businesses list themselves on the internet in the various sites including social media sites, hired Wendi Sturgis, formerly Yahoo! VP of accounts to become Yext’s Executive Vice President of Sales and Services. Wendi served at Right Media and became an asset for Yahoo! when it acquired her company. She will help organize the service and take it to Fortune 500 companies who need coordinated efforts for listing on all local sites, as well as Yelp, Twitter, Foursquare and others.
49. Marillyn Hewson
Chairman, President and CEO of Lockheed Martin, Marillyn Hewson has held a variety of executive positions with the company since joining in 1983. She also holds a position on the Board of Directors for DuPont and Sandia National Laboratories. In 2010, 2011 and 2012 she was on the Forbes magazine list of ” The 50 Most Powerful Women in Business”; in 2014 she was ranked the 21st most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.
50. Noorjahan Akbar
Noorjahan Akbar started working with educational programs for girls at a very young age as part of her parent’s English language center for 400 women in Kabul, Afghanistan. Privileged to have an education, including high school and college in the US, she is dedicated to helping women from Afghanistan opportunities like those that have empowered her. She is a co-founder of “Young Women for Change”, working for gender equality in her home country. She was selected as a recipient of the 2012 Women of Distinction Award by the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders.
Your Turn: We know that we couldn’t have possibly covered everyone. So do you know of any other incredible women that should also be recognised? Leave us a name and a brief description in the comments.