Idolise the leading men in tech all you want but you ought to look at the huge power-packed army of superhuman Women in Tech of the world achieving what they want, how they want. These women in our “Women in Tech” list define the pop culture slang “Goals” and they’re stellar.
Chief Operating Officer (COO) Facebook | Education: BA, MBA, Harvard University
Top of her Graduate Class at Harvard, tons of diverse and good work experience, author of 2 books (Lean in and Option B), a fulfilling job as the COO of Facebook- that sounds like a power lady right there. 48-yrs-old Sheryl Sandberg and the second person-in-command at Facebook encourages women to lead and she definitely shows how. She was the first woman to be included in the Facebook Board of Directors, has an experience working at Google prior to Facebook and was named as one of Time’s Most Influential Women. Sandberg brought about significant revenue generation to Facebook with her idea to rely on advertising. In 2014, Sandberg was listed as ninth, just behind Michelle Obama in Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women.
- Favourite books: Bossypants by Tina Fey, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, How Companies Win by Rick Kash, The Big Short by Michael Lewis, Conscious Business by Fred Kofman.
- Hobbies: Watch “Bad TV”
“ Switch off your phone before sleeping at night for a disturbance-free night. ”
Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Alphabet | Education: BA- Stanford University, MSLondon School of Economics, MBA- Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
60-yrs-old CFO of Alphabet is often called “the Most Powerful Woman on Wall Street”. During her 28 years stint at Morgan Stanley, she led the bank’s team through highs and lows and raised funds for Amazon, eBay and Netscape during the dotcom boom. She later reinvented herself as a financial services banker when depression hit. The mother of 3 advocates that diversity isn’t just a socially responsible thing to do; it strengthens the business. Porat is known inside Alphabet for her fierce attention to controlling costs and is also credited with boosting Google’s share price by reorganizing the company and imposing financial discipline for the first time.
- Words of Wisdom: Hard work for the wrong boss will not get you noticed.
- The biggest risk to the company’s future: Not investing, not innovating.
- On work-life balance: Women do not need to delay their personal life choices for the sake of their careers. I hate the term ‘work-life balance’ because it’s a trap for all. It should always be a mix of work and life.
“ Leaders should focus on longevity rather than short-term gains. ”
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) YouTube | Education: B.A.- Harvard College, M.S.- University of California, Santa Cruz, M.B.A.- UCLA Anderson School of Management
Part of the “inner circle”, mother of 5 and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki was the 16th employee of Google (that also started in her garage) after she left Intel to join the search firm as its first marketing manager. “The most important person in advertising” advocated for Google’s $1.65 billion acquisition (now worth an estimated $90 billion) of YouTube in 2006, and was the brain behind AdSense, Google images, Google books. Wojcicki succeeds in being a staunch employee and striking the right balance as she beelines home at 6 to spend time with family until 9 each day while being a Forbes regular being ranked #6 on Forbes list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, ranked #41 on Forbes list of America’s Self-Made Women, and one of the world’s 100 most powerful women by Forbes.
- What do you enjoy the most about work: I prefer to figure out how to do something myself. Sometimes this is not very practical but results in an interesting outcome.
- Your secret Business mantra: Always prioritize.
- Next big thing: VR can really transport us in a way that a trip can or going to a movie can, and I believe it’ll be a really important part of storytelling in the future.
- Favourite tech gadget: Chromecast.
- Favourite quote: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Words of Wisdom
“ Enjoy the different experiences you can have in your 20s that will help you learn and give you a broader perspective on life. ”
President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO), HP | Education: Princeton University (BA) Harvard University (MBA)
Whitman served as President and Chief Executive Officer of eBay, from 1998 to 2008. During Whitman’s 10 years with the company, she oversaw its expansion from 30 employees and $4 million in annual revenue, to more than 15,000 employees and $8 billion in annual revenue. In 2014, Whitman was named 20th in Forbes List of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World.
In 2008, Whitman was cited by The New York Times as among the women most likely to become the first female President of the United States.
- Favourite book : Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works, by A.G. Lafley and she has also authored ‘The power of many’ .
Words of Advice
“ The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of a mistake. ”
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Oracle | Education: Brookline High School. Bachelors from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1983 and J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1986.
Catz was a banker at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, joining in 1986, Catz served as a managing director from February 1997 to March 1999 and a senior vice president from January 1994 to February 1997 and previously held various investment banking positions since 1986. She has been a non-executive director of Hyperion Solutions since April 14, 2007. She has been a member of the executive council of TechNet since March 14, 2013. She served as a director of PeopleSoft Inc. since December 30, 2004 and Stellent Inc. since December 12, 2006.
While growing up, Ms Catz wanted to work in an ice cream shop. However, she quit the same in just two weeks, realising her potential was way more than that and started preparing for corporate law.
- Thoughts on AI/AR: The main task of AI is to improve decisions. If executives have a clearer view of the patterns in the data, they can make better decisions themselves, or delegate decisions with confidence that they would otherwise have to make themselves. Safra snagged a $US56.9 million salary package last year, which catapulted her to the top of the list of women rounded up by the Bloomberg’s Pay Index – a list of the 200 bestpaid executives at companies that trade on US exchanges.
- Words of Advice : The most important quality is courage.
“ The most significant barrier to female leadership is the actual lack of females in leadership. ”
Asia Pac Head, Google Cloud | Education: MBA
An entrepreneur at heart and an MBA by education, Taru Dahiya comes a long way with her 17 years run in the field of Digital Marketing and Cloud Technology. In her current role as the Asia Pac Head, she leads the Inside Sales teams for Google Cloud in India, ANZ, SEA, and North Asia markets. Prior to Google, Dahiya was associated with companies like HDPI (HSBC) and Taj Group of Hotels that helped her explore the corporate world early on in her career. Dahiya strongly propagates the importance of communication, collaboration and believes in being ready to upgrade themselves. Dahiya also keeps great interest in Interior decoration and was associated with her small interior designing firm ‘Embellish Interiors’ for 5 years before parting ways.
- What do you enjoy the most about work: Being surrounded by people with diverse experience, culture and world-class talent.
- Best piece of advice you’ve received: No one will get you off the hamster wheel, you will have to realize yourself and take action.
- Words of Wisdom: Your head, mouth and hands aka what you think, what you say and what you do need to be in alignment.
- Favourite tech gadget: The smartphone controlled battle tanks that my 5 year old son has planted everywhere in the house win hands down!
- Favourite books: The current favorite is ‘The 100 Year Life’ – an absolute thought-provoking book on how to make longevity a blessing!
“ Be ready to be commoditized if no one sees value in what you bring to the table! ”
Founder & CEO, SHEROES | Education: M.Phil- JNU, PGDBM- IMT Ghaziabad
Sairee Chahal is a technology entrepreneur who currently heads her community platform SHEROES for women. Chahal kickstarted her professional career while still in college before co-founding her first startup and has also been associated with corporates like Heidrick and Struggles and CII prior to hitting the entrepreneurial road. She is credited with building up women at work and future-of-work conversations in India and her leadership has benefitted over a million women directly. In the past, Chahal has been recognized for her achievements globally through the Femina Achievers Award, Editor’s choice for L’Oreal Femina Women’s Award, Business Today and Most Powerful Women in Indian Business among many other recognitions.
- What do you enjoy the most about work: I love that we at SHEROES are leveraging technology to address the very real issue of gender disparity in India.
- Best piece of advice you’ve received: Growing up, I remember my father telling me, “Follow your true spirit and be who you are. Life has its own way of creating balance.” I thought that was really profound.
- Next big thing: The women’s internet! I see a more progressive, real, inclusive movement emerging and shaping the Women’s Internet, moving away from the “Pink” narrative.
- Favourite books: A Life Without Limits by Christie Wellington, Rework by Jason Fried and Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.
“ Keep experimenting. Without it, there are no breakthroughs. ”
Senior Vice President(SVP)- Retail, Apple | Education: Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.
She was the CEO of Burberry from 2006 to 2014. Ahrendts left Burberry to join Apple in 2014. Ahrendts was ranked 25th in Forbes’ 2015 list of the most powerful women in the world, 9th most powerful woman in the U.K. in the BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour 100 Power List, and 29th in Fortune’s 2014 list of the world’s most powerful women in business. She was also a member of the UK’s Prime Minister’s business advisory council until it was disbanded in 2016.
According to Apple’s 2015 Proxy Statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ahrendts earned over $70 million in 2014, more than any other executive at Apple, including CEO Tim Cook. As of August 2016, she is reported to own approximately US$11 million worth of Apple shares.
Fav books : How Will You Measure Your Life? By Clayton Christensen
“ Computers and smart devices are among the greatest intellectual gifts ever created for man but, if not balanced with human contact, may offer little to develop one’s heart. ”
ChiePresident & Chief Operating Officer (COO), SpaceX | Education: B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering – Northwestern University, M.Sc. in Applied Mathematics – Northwestern University
SpaceX, the brainchild of Elon Musk, is pushing space travel ahead and a lot of that is thanks to its President and COO of SpaceX Gwynne Shotwell. Far from the world of apps and smart devices, Gwynne is part of the most forward-looking industry in the world at the moment whose job is to take the ordinary man to space. Shotwell joined SpaceX in 2002 as its 7th employee and is now responsible for operations and leads the most significant customer and strategic relationships in the organisation. Prior to working at SpaceX, Shotwell worked at The Aerospace Corporation, and Microcosm Inc., but left because she wanted to build spacecrafts. In an industry with few female role models, Shotwell stands out like a star and shatters stereotypes because of her belief that women should be as equally competent in STEM fields too.
- SpaceX for you is: From my perspective, it’s really risk management to ensure that humans have the ability to go somewhere else in case there were to be some huge disaster on Earth.
- Words of Wisdom: You have no control over whether you are going to be the smartest person at your company or even the smartest person in the room at any particular time particularly at a company like SpaceX; there are a lot of smart people here. But, you do have control on how prepared you are, how hard you work and what kind of results you get.
- On work-life balance: There are times when the balance is far more devoted towards work. And you get to pick the times that you get to spend with your family and you make those count. To me, worklife balance means stable, not necessarily 50-50.
“ The key is to join an industry that you have a passion for. If you love cars, then automotive is where you should end up. ”
Chairman, president, & CEO, IBM | Education: Northwestern University (B.S.)
Virginia Marie “Ginni” Rometty (born July 29, 1957) is the current chairman, president, and CEO of IBM, and the first woman to head the company. Prior to becoming president and CEO in January 2012, she held the positions of senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing, and strategy at IBM. She joined IBM as a systems engineer in 1981.
Mrs. Rometty serves on the Council on Foreign Relations, the board of trustees of Northwestern University, and the board of overseers and board of managers of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
- Fav book : Book of Value: The Fine Art of Investing Wisely
“ Never Let Someone Define Who You Are. ”
Co-Founder & Chief Business Officer (CBO), ShopClues.com | Education: MBA in Strategy- Washington University in St. Louis, Web 2.0 and Creative Writing- Stanford University
Radhika Ghai started her entrepreneurial journey with her first venture, FashionClues, a social portal for NRI women, and soon nurtured the brand to make it a household name in less than 5 years. Prior to going the entrepreneurial route, Ghai worked for Goldman Sachs and Nordstorm across sectors for 16 years. She has been a recipient of many awards like CEO of the Year by CEO Asia awards 2016 and was recently awarded the title of the First Lady in e-commerce by the President of WCD. She is an accomplished speaker and a staunch supporter of women entrepreneurship and women empowerment within her organisation.
- What the best part of your work: Work is a de-stressor for me. Walking into office and seeing happy employees around me is the best part of work.
- Best piece of advice you’ve received: My mentor told me to always hire someone better than myself.
- Words of Wisdom: As long as you do something to improve today and make it a little better than yesterday, you’re going to be successful every day. Just show up and do something you’re passionate about.
- Next big thing: We look forward to seeing rural India partake in the e-commerce pie.
- Favourite tech gadget: Currently, my Kindle.
- Favourite books: Mila 18 by Leon Uris, Drive by Daniel Pink and Zero to One by Peter Thiel.
- Favourite quote: Never say never and take up all challenges and Failures happen to those who give up.
“ Keep a keen eye on small victories, and cherish them, for in the long run, they lead to bigger gains. ”
Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), VU TVs | Education: University of Southern California, University of California, Berkeley, London School of Economics and Harvard Business School
After starting her career interning at her family business, Zenith Computers, Devita Saraf went on to establish her brainchild Vu Televisions at just 24 years and built it into a $100 million enterprise. Her keen eye for design and style can be seen in VU’s unique products and personal style. A strong believer in the potential of India women as leaders, Devita Saraf guides and mentors young women to pursue their dreams through Devita Saraf Foundation. She also represents India on several global platforms and discussions with great confidence, and is a staunch entrepreneur propagating India as a great hub for business relationships. She is selfmotivated, passionate about leadership, and advocates gender equality and women entrepreneurship.
- What do you enjoy the most about work: Being in the business of technology, the best part about my work is that I get a chance to innovate and experience new technology and design every other day.
- Best piece of advice you’ve received: Compete with yourself.
- Words of Wisdom: Remember to spread happiness.
- Next big thing: Artificial Intelligence and the next Vu TV. You must watch out for it.
- Favourite tech gadget: Currently the Vu Quantum Pixelight 4K Smart Tv.
- Favourite books: Chanakya’s Chant by Ashwin Sanghi and The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership by Steve Sample.
- Favourite quote: ‘‘Life is about creating yourself, not finding yourself.’’ – George Bernard Shaw.
“ To lead by example. ”