While the tech industry is known to be a male-dominated field, there are so many incredible women not only being trailblazers but advocating for other women and helping them succeed in Silicon Valley. These women are sparking discussions on everything from women in niche disciplines to motherhood in the industry. While there so many women who are doing incredible work, we wanted to share a few of the voices who are ‘must follows’ and thought leaders in the industry.
Reshma Saujani – Founder/CEO, Girls Who Code, @reshmasaujani
We won’t be surprised if Reshema’s name sounds familiar. Possibly for her viral TED Talk “Teach girls bravery, not perfection”, her New York Times bestselling books, or as being the first Indian-American woman to run for Congress. The daughter of refugees who graduated from Harvard University and Yale Law School is now making waves as the Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code. Girls Who Code was founded with the goal to increase the number of women in the tech industry and she tweets a fair amount about this subject as well.
Susan Wojcicki – YouTube CEO, @SusanWojcicki
When you think of trailblazing women in tech Susan Wojcicki is likely pretty high up there. She rose in notoriety as Google’s sixteenth employee and initial marketing manager. In her time at Google, she worked on projects like Google Images and AdSense. This mother of five is counted as the one who advocated for Google’s acquisition of YouTube. This led to her being named YouTube’s CEO in 2014. In all her roles, she has been a supporter of women in tech and is quoted as saying, “Tech is an incredible force that will change our world in ways we can’t anticipate. If that force is only 20 to 30% women, that is a problem.” If you haven’t read any of her op-eds where she takes a stand against gender discrimination we suggest started with one entitled “How To Break up the Silicon Valley Boys’ Club.”
Ellen K. Pao – co-founder and CEO, Project Include, @ekp
Ellen Pao isn’t just an advocate for gender discrimination in the workplace, she’s been a victim of it and in 2012 filed suit against her former employer. Though unsuccessful it certainly did ignite much-needed conversations in the industry. Following that experience, she took her skills to Reddit as their CEO leading the site as it reevaluated and made massive changes to their community guidelines. Since leaving Reddit, Ellen founded Project Include, an organization that aims to improve diversity in the tech industry. She additionally outlined her experiences and thoughts in her memoir, “Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change.”
Nikita Johnson – Founder, Team Rework, @nikitaljohnson
While tech has always been challenging to keep up at times due to the ever-changing advancements in the industry, artificial intelligence, and its real-world applications is especially hard to track at times. This is what Nikita Johnson went out to address when she founded Team Rework, a series of summits, one of which was even voted #1 Best Artificial Intelligence Conference for Business Leaders in 2018. Nikita is particularly vocal about engaging more women in the AI field and even has a podcast dedicated to the subject.
Alana Washington – Head of Shipper Experience Design, Uber Freight, @AlanaWashington
Alana Washington is making quite a name for herself as the Head of Shipper Experience Design at Uber Freight. Known as a superb design leader, strategist and researcher Alana is at the top of the list when it comes to UX design thought leaders. Her CV includes stints on the Data Experience Design team at Capital One and HBO. While you can find plenty of content about UX design on her Twitter account, she is also very active in tweeting about her life as a working mother.