According to James Brown, it’s a man’s world. But historically, the tech world has been notably bad in this field in general. The good news is that with a number of strong, smart women taking on leadership roles with good pay grades at high profile IT and social media companies, the tides seem to be turning slowly.
We’re all for girl power in the workplace, so here’s our take on the 10 most influential and powerful women (in no particular order) in tech right now—and why we think they’re so awesome:
1. Virginia Rometty (CEO – IBM)
At the helm of IBM since Jan. 2012, Rometty is the first woman to lead the company. Not only does she lead the world’s biggest computer company in terms of revenue ($104.5 billion annually), she also knows when to make sacrifices. IBM’s revs dipped in the fourth quarter of 2013 for the seventh quarter in a row, and Rometty decided not to take a bonus. Her senior team followed suit. Yes, she makes a lot of money, but passing up more cash is hard, and she acted with integrity.
2. Lisa Falzone (CEO & Co-Founder – Revel Systems)
You probably haven’t heard of Revel Systems, but you use its flagship product all the time indirectly at coffee shops and restaurants, thanks to Falzone. She co-created a point-of-sale system for retail stores and eating establishments to hook up an iPad to a cash register and printer so that you can buy stuff from an iPad. This thing allows you to sign your name on the Apple device rather than wasting paper and lets retailers handle all of their analytics in one place. The app even beat Square for iPad app of the year, the attachable reader that lets you swipe your plastic on-the-go. Falzone, just 28 years old, attributes her entrepreneurial success to her days on Stanford’s competitive swim team.
3. Roxanne Varza (Startup Lead – Microsoft)
It seems there isn’t anything Varza can’t do. She’s the former editor of TechCrunch France and co-founder of Girls in Tech Paris & London, though now, she’s heading up all of Microsoft’s startup operations in France, including Bizspark and a newer accelerator initiative of Microsoft’s called Spark. Basically, she decides which startup companies have a future, which requires strong business acumen and foresight. Varza is trilingual and makes startup talk fun by blogging about her “startup crushes” at techbaguette.com. Oh, and she’s not too cool to use Pinterest to bookmark her favorite French entrepreneurs, books and recipes.
4. Isabel Ge Mahe (VP – iOS Wireless Software)
Based out of Los Altos, California, Mahe leads the charge on Apple’s iOS wireless software. Apple has been criticized in the past for boasting a board of senior vice presidents full of old white men. But the much younger Asian developer has certainly earned her position and brought diversity to the prolific company. One of the highest ranked female employees at Apple and an important contribution to the code that makes up Apple device software, she helps your iPhone’s maps, music and other apps run smoothly and seamlessly.
5. Katie Jacobs Stanton (VP of International Growth – Twitter)
Katie Jacobs Stanton knows the power of Twitter, and she’s in charge of making it reach even farther as Twitter’s head of international strategy. A Google and Yahoo vet, Stanton transitioned from the U.S. State Dept. to the microblogging company. Now, about 77 percent of Twitter handles are outside the U.S., so Stanton’s work has been successful. Between its use for communicating conditions after natural disasters, sharing real-time news and sparking social change, Twitter is powerful, and Stanton has been driving much of the momentum. Most importantly, President Obama appointed her the first Director of Citizen Participation, and she is said to have gotten the president onto Twitter.
6. Emily White (COO – Snapchat)
White is no stranger to the social media world, having come from Instagram and previously Facebook before settling in as Snapchat’s COO. She’s best known for her tenacity in the workplace and welcoming attitude toward challenges, and she left Instagram with a solid strategy for implementing advertising into the user experience. As No. 2 at Snapchat, mostly popular among teenagers and millennials, White is helping to monetize the company and ensure it’s not just a fad – but a sustainable business operation.
7. Marissa Mayer (CEO – Yahoo)
Marissa Mayer puts up with a lot. A Google transplant, the blue-eyed blonde exec is constantly taking heat for the way she is attempting to lead the struggling Yahoo back to the top. Despite the company’s advertising revenue woes, Mayer has consistently sought growth and innovation at Yahoo. Snatching up Tumblr for $1.1 billion, launching Yahoo Tech and Yahoo Food, doubling down on mobile efforts and trying to become the next Netflix are just a few of the endeavors Mayer can count on her watch. Yahoo may not be more relevant than Google or Facebook right now, but they’re certainly putting up a good fight under Mayer. And if I may say it, she does her work looking fabulous.
8. Susan Wojcicki (CEO – YouTube)
Let’s talk about how Susan Wojcicki is Harvard-educated, runs one of the five most popular websites on the Internet and is a mother to four children. Before that, she was the ad queen at Google, managing the ins and outs of AdWords, AdSense, DoubleClick and Google Analytics. And, she’s the mastermind behind Google Images. Wojcicki is deeply rooted in some of the most foundational areas of the Internet we know, and she wrote this awesome letter to girls about getting into the tech industry.
9. Diane Bryant (SVP – Intel)
Bryant has truly worked her way up, having started at Intel 28 years ago. At 18, she worked as a waitress and went to a local community college for free, before transferring to U.C. Davis and studying electrical engineering. Today she leads a team worth $10 billion to Intel, overseeing and developing the technology “powering nine out of every 10 servers sold around the world.”
10. Meg Whitman (CEO – HP)
One of the world’s billionaires, Whitman leads operations at Hewlett Packard and is an eBay and Walt Disney Company alum. Before starting at HP, though, she dabbled in politics. Whitman ran for governor of California and won the Republican primary before ultimately losing to her opponent. But the Mr. Potato Head proponent went back to her tech roots and has been able to turn around what was once a bad forecast for HP. For now, revenue declines have leveled out and stock is up, thanks to her leadership.