Women We Admire is pleased to announce the Top 100 Women Leaders in Technology of 2021. Through a thorough nomination and selection process, we arrived at today’s most influential women working in senior executive and other high impact positions at corporations most relevant and significant to the advancement of our modern global economy and society. From social media to the gig economy and from payments technology to personal computing, these women continue to make their mark at organizations such as YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Fiverr, Upwork, Mastercard, PayPal, Apple, Microsoft and many other companies.
Women have long played a key role in the evolution of technology. In the early 1800’s, Ada Lovelace, who was homeschooled, became so proficient in science and mathematics that she ‘programmed’ through handwritten notes the notion of a specific engine that could transition calculation to computation. In the mid 1900’s, Grace Hopper, a Yale graduate, designed a compiler which translated programmer’s instructions into computer codes. Fast forward to today and over the past few decades, we have seen the great proliferation of women across all fields of technology, which by no surprise, coincides with perhaps the most rapid and profound technological advancements ever witnessed.
Please join us in recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of The Top 100 Women Leaders in Technology of 2021.
1. Julie Sweet
Julie Sweet is the Chief Executive Officer of Accenture. Accenture is a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security. Sweet began her career in 1992 and has over 29 years of experience in the information technology and services industry.
Before becoming CEO, Sweet was Accenture’s General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer. Previously she was a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. Sweet graduated from Columbia University Law School with a JD and from Claremont McKenna College with an undergraduate degree in international relations.
2. Susan Wojcicki
Susan Wojcicki began her professional career over 22 years ago. Today, she is the CEO of YouTube, and an online video sharing and social media platform. Wojcicki was previously Senior Vice President of Adwords and AdSense at Google, her most recent position prior to joining YouTube.
Wojcicki graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with an MBA and from Harvard University with an undergraduate degree in history and literature.
13. Liz Centoni
As EVP, Chief Strategy Officer and GM, Applications, Liz Centoni partners with the Executive Leadership team, other General Managers, and functional leaders to drive the company’s overall strategic direction, and leads a team incubating emerging solutions to create new markets and businesses for Cisco. As the GM of Applications, Liz is responsible for Cisco’s portfolio of solutions that power optimized experiences for our customers' applications, which are increasingly central to their businesses in today’s digital, cloud-first world.
She is the Cisco Global Executive Sponsor for the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program. Liz serves on the Board of Directors for Ingersoll Rand Inc. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for The Tech Interactive. She received an MBA from the University of San Francisco and an undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of Mumbai.
16. Lisa Su
Lisa Su began her professional career over 27 years ago. Today, she is the President and CEO of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), which she joined in 2012 as Senior Vice President and General Manager of its global business units. AMD is a semiconductor company that designs and develops graphics units, processors, and media solutions.
Su first got her start in 1994 as a member of technical staff at Texas Instruments. From there, she went on to IBM, before eventually rising to SVP and GM of the networking multimedia group at Freescale Semiconductor, her most recent position prior to joining AMD. Su graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a PhD, MS, and undergraduate degree, all in electrical engineering.
24. Thai Lee
SHI International Corp.
Thai Lee began her professional career over 36 years ago. and is the President and CEO of SHI International Corp. (formerly known as Software House International), which she co-founded in 1989. SHI is a global provider of information technology products and solutions and is reported to be the largest woman-owned business in the United States.
Before founding SHI, Lee worked in brand management at Procter & Gamble. Lee graduated from Harvard Business School with an MBA and from Amherst College with an undergraduate degree in economics and biology.
25. Mithu Bhargava
Mithu Bhargava is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Global Professional Services at NCR Corporation. NCR Corporation is a leader in banking and commerce solutions, powering incredible experiences that make life easier.
Previously, Bhargava was SVP of global commercial presales at Dell Technologies, and before that spent 11 years at Akamai Technologies. Bhargava earned an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, a master’s degree in computer science and computer networking from North Carolina State University, and an undergraduate degree in computer engineering from University of Mumbai.
31. Blake Rosenthal
Blake Rosenthal is the Executive Vice President of Mastercard. She first joined the company in 2010 as the group head of product management, consumer products. Mastercard provides payment processing products and solutions, and related consulting services.
Previously, Rosenthal was a senior account executive at VISA and before that a vice president at Citigroup. Rosenthal earned an undergraduate degree in economics and communications from University of Michigan.
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32. Gloria Chen
Gloria Chen is the Chief People Officer and Executive Vice President of Employee Experience at Adobe. She joined the company in 1997 and held various roles in product management and strategic planning, then several senior leadership positions, including Chief Strategy Officer, until she was appointed CPO in 2020. Adobe is the global leader in digital media and digital marketing solutions.
Previously, Chen was a consultant and engagement manager at McKinsey & Company and before that a senior member of technical staff at Cadence Design Systems. Chen earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Washington.
38. Lynne Biggar
Lynne Biggar is the Executive Vice President and Global Chief Marketing Officer of Visa. Visa is the world’s leader in digital payments. Their mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive.
Previously, Biggar was director of Voya Financial and before that director of Marketo. Earlier in her career she spent over 20 years at American Express, rising from manager to EVP and general manager of international card products and experiences. Biggar earned an MBA from Columbia Business School and an undergraduate degree in international relations from Stanford University.
42. Stefanie Chiras
Stefanie Chiras is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Red Hat. Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of enterprise open-source solutions, using a community-powered approach to deliver high-performing Linux, cloud, container, and Kubernetes technologies. Chiras has over 20 years in the computer software industry. She began her career in 2001.
Before joining Red Hat, Chiras spent her entire corporate career at IBM, rising from a research staff member to Vice President of Offering Management for IBM Cognitive Systems. She worked for Princeton University as a postdoctoral fellow in mechanical and aerospace engineering. Chiras graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara with a PhD and MS in materials science and from Harvard University with an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering.
48. Robynne Sisco
Robynne Sisco is the President and Chief Financial Officer of Workday, which she joined in 2012 as Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer. Workday is a leading provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance, HR, and planning.
Sisco first got her start in 1987 as a senior auditor at Ernst & Young. From there, she went on to GE Capital, then held senior financial roles at Visa, Oracle, and VeriSign. Her most recent position prior to joining Workday was as chief accounting officer and corporate controller at VMware. Sisco graduated from Golden Gate University with an MBA and from Claremont McKenna College with an undergraduate degree in economics and accounting.
51. Glynis Bryan
Glynis Bryan is the Chief Financial Officer of Insight. Insight Enterprises Inc. empowers organizations of all sizes with Insight Intelligent Technology Solution and services to maximize the business value of IT.
Bryan was previously the CFO at Swift Transportation and APL Logistics. Before that, she was a senior vice president at Ryder System. Bryan earned an MBA with a concentration in finance from the Florida International University College of Business and an undergraduate degree in psychology from York University.
56. Lara Balazs
Lara Balazs is the Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, and General Manager of the Strategic Partner Group at Intuit. She first joined the company in 2018 as CMO. Intuit is a global technology platform that helps our customers and communities overcome their most important financial challenges.
Previously, Balazs was a vice president of marketing at Amazon and before that spent 11 years at Visarising from senior director of US marketing to senior vice president of North American marketing. She has worked in marketing and brand management roles for Gap Inc., Nike, and General Mills. Balazs earned an MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management and an undergraduate degree from the University of Washington.
57. Vanessa Pappas
Vanessa Pappas is the Chief Operating Officer of TikTok. She first joined the company in 2018 as General Manager for the US. TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video and with a mission to inspire creativity and bring joy.
Previously, Pappas was a strategic advisor at ByteDance and spent seven years at YouTube as global head of creative insights. Before that she worked for Next New Networks as vice president for audience and strategic partnerships. Pappas earned a master’s degree in media studies from The New School and an undergraduate degree in film and media from the University of Queensland.
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63. Hillary Ashton
Hillary Ashton is the Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer of Teradata, which she joined in 2019 as EVP of Products. Teradata is the connected multi-cloud data platform for enterprise analytics, solving data challenges from start to scale.
Before joining Teradata, Ashton EVP of augmented reality at PTC, senior vice president of analytic SaaS solutions at Manthan, and director of customer intelligence solutions at SAS. Earlier in her career she worked in senior marketing roles for Digitas. Ashton graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with an undergraduate degree in government.
65. Sara Baack
Sara Baack is the Chief Product Officer of Equinix. She first joined the company in 2012 as Chief Marketing Officer. Equinix is the world’s digital infrastructure company, enabling digital leaders to harness a trusted platform to bring together and interconnect the foundational infrastructure that powers their success.
Previously, Baack spent 11 years at Level 3 Communications, rising from director of strategy to senior vice president of product management, and before that worked in finance for PaineWebber Inc (now UBS Financial Services). Baack earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree in history and management from Rice University.
67. Cathinka Wahlstrom
Cathinka Wahlstrom is the President and Chief Commercial Officer of Alight Solutions. Alight provides cloud-based human capital and business solutions across health, wealth, and global payroll.
Before joining Alight, Wahlstrom spent 27 years—her entire professional career—at Accenture, rising through the ranks to become partner and later, senior managing director of Accenture’s North American client accounts. Wahlstrom earned an MBA from the University of California, Davis and an undergraduate degree in economics and journalism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
68. Michelle Carbone
BMC Software, Inc.
Michelle Carbone is the Senior Vice President of Operations for BMC Software, Inc., where she has worked since 2001, beginning as a product line financial analyst BMC helps customers run and reinvent their businesses with open, scalable, and modular solutions to complex IT problems. With unmatched experience in IT management, BMC’s solutions offer speed, agility, and efficiency to tackle business challenges in service management, automation, operations, and the mainframe.
Carbone began her career as a client analyst at Harding and Carbone, Inc. She is currently the executive sponsor for BMC’s Women in Technology and Business group, a grassroots initiative which promotes networking, growth, education, and community outreach. She is also an executive sponsor and personal supporter for BMC’s participation in Susan G. Komen. Michelle has an undergraduate degree in business administration and accounting from Houston Baptist University.
73. Esther Lem
Esther Lem is the Chief Marketing Officer of Chegg, Inc. Chegg is an education technology company that provides digital and physical textbook rentals, textbook solutions, online tutoring, and other student services..
Before joining Chegg, Lem spent almost 20 years at Unilever ; her final role there was as the vice president of the global hair division. She serves on the board of directors for Aceable and was previously a member of the board of the Chegg Foundation. Lem received an undergraduate degree from Ivey Business School at Western University.
74. Loretta Cecil
Loretta Cecil is the Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Change Healthcare. Change Healthcare is one of the world’s largest healthcare IT companies, focused on insights, innovation and accelerating the transformation of the US healthcare system through the power of the Change Healthcare Platform.
Previously, Cecil held three senior vice president roles at McKesson Corporation and before that was general counsel and chief compliance and ethics officer for the retail division of NCR Corporation. Earlier in her career she worked with AT&T for 17 years as an attorney. Cecil earned a JD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an undergraduate degree in political science and communications studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
80. Kathleen Mitford
Kathleen Mitford is the Corporate Vice President of Azure Marketing at Microsoft. Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service created for building, testing, deploying, and managing applications and services through Microsoft-managed data centers.
Before joining Microsoft, Mitford spent 15 years at PTC, beginning as vice president of marketing and competitive strategy and rising to become chief strategy officer and executive vice president. She was previously VP of product management at Freeborders. Earlier in her career she was a manager of consulting services at Applied Intranet Technologies. Mitford received an undergraduate degree from Philadelphia University.
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87. Marianna Kantor
Marianna Kantor is the Chief Marketing Officer of Esri. Esri's GIS mapping software is the most powerful mapping and spatial analytics technology available, combining mapping and data analytics to deliver location intelligence and meet digital transformation needs for organizations of all sizes.
Before joining Esri, Kantor was vice president of marketing and communications at PTC, where she had worked earlier in her career as director of solutions marketing. She was previously a web strategist at MathWorks and director of product marketing at Kronos and Akamai Technologies. Kantor graduated from the MIT Sloan School of Management with an MBA, from the University of Pennsylvania with a master’s degree in system’s engineering, and from Columbia University with an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering.
90. Colleen Berube
Colleen Berube is the Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President of Operations at Zendesk. Zendesk is a customer service software company that started the customer experience revolution in 2007 by enabling any business around the world to take their customer service online.
Previously, Berube was an executive vice president and chief technology officer at Fisher Investments and before vice president of IT at Adobe. Earlier in her career she worked as the senior director of enterprise applications at Palm, Inc. Berube earned an MBA from the University of North Florida and an undergraduate degree in liberal arts from SUNY Potsdam.
91. Kira Makagon
Kira Makagon began her professional career over 37 years ago. Today, she is the Chief Innovation Officer of RingCentral. RingCentral, Inc. is a global provider of cloud enterprise unified communications and collaboration solutions.
Makagon first got her start in 1984 as a software engineer at INGRES. From there, she co-founded before moving on to Scopus Technology,. Octane Software, and NebuAd, and was founder and CEO of Red Aril before its acquisition by Hearst. and She serves as a member of the Board of Directors at Calix. Makagon earned an undergraduate degree in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business.
97. Marianne Budnik
Marianne Budnik is the Chief Marketing Officer of Crowdstrike and is responsible for the company’s global marketing strategy and integrated marketing programs spanning brand, corporate, product, and customer marketing, go-to-market, demand generation, corporate communications, analyst relations, and field and channel marketing activities across the globe.
She joined CrowdStrike in late 2020, bringing more than 25 years of experience in marketing leadership roles with cybersecurity companies, high-growth technology startups, and Fortune 500 companies. She previously served as CMO at CyberArk, and before that was CMO at SimpliVity and Acme Packet. She received an MBA from Boston University and undergraduate degree from Babson College.
View the complete list of awardees.