Today’s top women in tech

8 Mar 2012

It’s International Women’s Day and is tipping its hat to eight of the world’s top women in technology.

Who: Sheryl Sandberg

Her role: Chief operating officer, Facebook

Accolades: John H. Williams Prize for the top graduating student in economics, Harvard University

Education: BA summa cum laude in economics, Harvard University; MBA with highest distinction, Harvard Business School

Why she’s tops in tech: Sheryl Sandberg oversees Facebook’s business operations, including sales, marketing, business development, human resources, public policy and communications.

Prior to Facebook, Sandberg built and managed the online sales channels for advertising and publishing and operations for consumer products worldwide as Google’s vice-president of Global Online Sales and Operations. She was also instrumental in launching, Google’s philanthropic arm.

Follow her: On Facebook

Sheryl Sandberg

Photo: File from the Wikimedia Commons

Who: Marissa Mayer

Her role: Vice-president, Search Products & User Experience, Google

Accolades: Youngest woman ever to be included on Fortune’s Most Powerful Women list (No 50) in 2008 at age 33; Newsweek (“10 Tech Leaders of the Future”); Red Herring (“15 Women to Watch”); Business 2.0 (“Silicon Valley Dream Team”); Business Week and Fast Company. Stanford University has recognised her with the Centennial Teaching Award and the Forsythe Award for her outstanding contribution to undergraduate education.

Education: Bachelor’s degree (honours) in symbolic systems, master’s degree in computer science from Stanford University, both degrees specialising in artificial intelligence. Honorary doctorate of engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology

Why she’s tops in tech: Marissa Mayer leads Google’s product management efforts on search products – web search, images, news, books, products, maps, Google Earth, Google Toolbar, Google Desktop, Google Health, Google Labs and more.

She joined Google in 1999 as Google’s first female engineer and led the user interface and web server teams. Her work has included designing and developing Google’s search interface, internationalising the site to more than 100 languages, defining Google News, Gmail, and Orkut, and launching more than 100 features and products on

Several patents have been filed on her work in artificial intelligence and interface design.

Concurrently with her full-time work at Google, Mayer has taught introductory computer programming classes at Stanford University to more than 3,000 students.

Follow her: On Google+

Marissa Mayer

Who: Virginia Rometty

Her role: President and CEO, IBM Corporation

Accolades: Named to Fortune magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for seven consecutive years, including most recently in 2011; Carl Sloane Award 2006, given by the Association of Management Consulting Firms in recognition of her leadership

Education: Bachelor of Science degree with high honours in computer science and electrical engineering, Northwestern University

Why she’s tops in tech: “Ginni” Rometty has been with IBM since 1981. Since then, she has held a series of leadership positions in IBM, most recently as senior vice-president and group executive, IBM Sales, Marketing and Strategy. 

As IBM’s global sales leader, Rometty held responsibility for revenue, profit, and client satisfaction in the 170 global markets in which IBM does business. She also held responsibility for IBM’s worldwide results, which exceeded US$99bn in 2010, and for leading IBM’s global strategy, marketing and communications functions. In this role, she established IBM’s Growth Markets organisation, which is expected to contribute as much as 30pc of IBM revenues by 2015.

Previously, Rometty served as senior vice-president, IBM Global Business Services, where she led the successful integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting and the development of IBM Global Delivery Centers in China and India. 

Rometty also served as general manager of IBM Global Services, Americas, as well as general manager of IBM’s Global Insurance and Financial Services Sector.   

Rometty is a leader in diversity initiatives, including IBM’s Women in Technology Council and the Women’s Leadership Council, and is one of the senior sponsors of the Women’s Executive Council. 

Follow: IBM on Twitter

Virginia Rometty

Who: Meg Whitman

Her role: President and CEO, HP

Accolades: One of the 25 “most powerful people in business” in 2004 and 2005 (Fortune); one of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2004 (Time); No 1 on Worth‘s 2002 list of best Chief Executive Officers; on Business Week‘s list of the 25 most powerful business managers annually since 2000. Business Week has listed Whitman on its list of the most powerful business managers every year from 2000-2008

Education: Bachelor’s degree (honours) in economics, Princeton University. MBA from Harvard Business School

Why she’s tops in tech: Meg Whitman took the helm of HP in September 2011, tasked with implementing HP’s strategy and taking advantage of market opportunities following the firing of Léo Apotheker. She has also been a member of HP’s board of directors since January 2011.

“Meg is a technology visionary with a proven track record of execution. She is a strong communicator who is customer focused, with deep leadership capabilities,” Ray Lane, HP’s executive chairman of the board of directors said upon Whitman’s appointment as president and CEO.

Indeed, Whitman has held a leadership role before: She worked as president and CEO of eBay Inc. from 1998-2008.

From March 2011 to September 2011, Whitman served as a part-time strategic adviser to private equity firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield & Byers.

Follow her: On Twitter

Meg Whitman

Who: Cher Wang

Her role: Co-founder and chairwoman, HTC

Accolades: In 2011, Forbes named her as the ‘most powerful woman in wireless’, and she ranked 20th on Fortune’s annual ‘most powerful women’ list

Education: Master’s degree in economics, the University of California, Berkeley

Why she’s tops in tech: HTC co-founder Cher Wang has got to be one of the world’s leaders in smartphone technology. Her company, after all, makes more than one out of every six smartphones on the American market, according to Fast Company.

Wang has also established several other successful IT-related businesses, and is now also chairwoman of several Taiwan-listed companies, including VIA Technologies, Inc., which offers comprehensive power-efficient PC processor platforms.

She holds leadership roles in numerous other enterprises and organisations, including Taiwan’s representative to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) in 2009.

Wang is also an Industry Partner in World Economic Forum.

Follow: HTC on Twitter

Cher Wang

Photo: File from the Wikimedia Commons

Who: Karen H Quintos

Her role: Senior vice-president and chief marketing officer, Dell

Accolades: The 2012 winner of Working Mother magazine’s Mother of the Year award

Education: Master’s degree in marketing and international business, New York University; bachelor of science in supply chain management, The Pennsylvania State University State College

Why she’s tops in tech: Karen H Quintos leads marketing for Dell’s commercial business in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Japan, and Europe, Middle East and Africa. She also has responsibility for brand strategy, global communications, social media, corporate responsibility, customer insights, marketing talent development and agency management. 

Quintos is also the executive sponsor of the largest networking group at Dell, Women in Search of Excellence.

Before becoming CMO for Dell in September 2010, Quintos served as vice-president of Dell’s global public business, responsible for driving global marketing strategies, product and pricing programmes, communications and channel plans to reach millions of higher education, government and healthcare institutional customers.

Previously, she was vice-president of marketing for Dell’s North American commercial business and has also held various executive roles in Dell’s services, contact centre and supply chain management teams.

Quintos joined Dell in 2000 from Citigroup, where she served as vice-president of global operations and technology. She also spent 12 years with Merck & Co., where she held various roles in marketing, planning, operations and supply chain.

Follow her: On Twitter

Karen Quintos

Who: Una Fox

Her role: Disney vice-president for technology (Client Relations)

Accolades: The Irish Technology Leadership Group has recently recognised Fox as one of the Silicon Valley 50 most influential Irish-American people in the tech world

Education: Bachelor’s degree in French literature, University College Cork, Ireland.

Why she’s tops in tech: Una Fox is spearheading many of the enterprise IT strategies that are helping organisations like Disney stay on top of major technology trends, such as big data and the consumerisation of IT.

She joined Disney in 2008 and has a specific focus on online marketing technologies, brand management and customer business intelligence.

Prior to joining Disney, Fox worked as a director of Partner Services at Yahoo, Inc. In that position, her responsibilities included revenue management for many of Yahoo’s strategic publishing and PC OEM partners.

Before Yahoo, Fox held several leadership positions at BearingPoint. She carried out an instrumental role in incubating a global consulting team focused on enterprise search and was one of the first major system integrators to work with Google Enterprise.

She also managed the global Siebel alliance team for BearingPoint and prior to joining the Strategic Alliances organisation, spent several years as a senior manager in KPMG Consulting’s global Customer Management practice, where she led multiple large global CRM and business intelligence technology initiatives for several of KPMG’s Fortune 100 clients .

Fox began her career in technology at Cisco Systems in Europe.

Follow her: On LinkedIn

Read our interview with Una Fox.

Una Fox

Who: Claire Lee

Her role: Emerging Business International Lead, Microsoft 

Accolades: The Irish Technology Leadership Group has recently recognised Lee as one of the Silicon Valley 50 most influential Irish-American people in the tech world; Royal Society of Arts Fellow; Pink Shoe Club Icons Award (IT) 2010 – House of Commons; shortlisted for Women of the Future 2008 Awards (Business Woman)

Education: Began her career in the IT industry as a graduate with IBM Ireland

Why she’s tops in tech: Claire Lee leads industry partnerships for the Emerging Business Team at Microsoft, engaging partners globally to support early stage software developers and start-ups. She also formed part of the team that created the BizSpark programme in November 2008, which now has more than 45,000 start-ups in 110 countries and 2,400 partners.

Lee moved to EBT HQ in Silicon Valley in early 2011, having previously been in the UK and focused on building the programme in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

BizSpark partnerships include leading banks, incubators, universities, foundations, accelerators, government agencies, entrepreneurship groups, technology community associations and organisations that enable and support early stage technology companies.

Before Microsoft, Lee worked as a self-employed consultant supporting start-ups in the UK, and prior to this with Compaq at the global distributor, Ingram Micro. At Marconi Communications, Lee managed the global relationship with Siemens.

Follow her: On Twitter

Claire Lee

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic