In ways that the suffragette movement would never have thought possible, women are setting new standards for the role of women in business. Not content to sit on the sidelines, women have embraced the roles of CEO, general manager and other c-suite positions as they lead the way in corporations that have historically been dominated by men.
Making Room for Women
Women and their abilities deserve all the credit for these new opportunities. However, the rise of technology has opened new doors and changed the way women lead their companies.
For example, Monica Eaton-Cardone, the CIO of Global Risk Technologies has seen a significant role change in the last eight years. Eaton-Cardone said, “Now my job is to be a coach to inspire passion and innovation.”
Females possess the skills and personal characteristics necessary to excel in these leadership roles.
The Most Influential Women in Technology
Examining the top five most influential women today can give insight into what it takes to succeed in a man’s world.
Let’s meet the most influential women in technology. In no particular order….
1. Ursula Burns
This African American woman was born to a single mom in the rough part of town. Determined to make something better of herself, she worked extraordinarily hard to improve her choices in the future. Now in her sixth year as the CEO of Xerox, Burns has changed the trajectory of the company. Steering them away from a heavy reliance of ‘print’ services, Xerox is shifting its focus on the industrial strength of printing to the world of software-oriented products.
2. Virginia Romeny
In 2003, Romeny became the first woman to lead IBM. When the company was struggling with falling revenue, Romeny received national attention for declining to accept a performance bonus. As the leader of one of technology’s largest and oldest firms, Romeny has to not only run the company, she has to do it with every move scrutinized by the public. Named one of Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business for 10 years, she has established herself as a no-nonsense CEO.
3. Susan Wojcicki
Moving up the ranks of most influential women is Susan Jojcicki. She progressed from number 30 to number 12 – an impressive feat for someone who graduated with honors from Harvard, decided to forego getting a PhD and started working in the field of technology. She spearheaded the purchase of YouTube for Google and is responsible for the development of Adwords. In addition, Jojcicki is a vocal supporter of paid maternity leaves – as well she should be, she’s the mom to five kids.
4. Meg Whitman
President and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Meg Whitman has had a colorful race to the top of the technology marketplace. Formerly the CEO of eBay, Whitman is no stranger to the public’s eye. Frustrated with the changes that were happening in her home state, she ran for public office. Though she ultimately conceded the election to the other candidate, it was a close race and raised awareness to the challenges that would face northern California for years: reducing government spending, creating jobs and reforming the state’s school system. With her political aspirations behind her, Whitman settled down to revolutionize the aging Hewlett-Packard Corporation.
5. Safra Catz
In addition to being one of technology’s rising stars, Safra Catz is also one of the world’s richest women. Sitting at the helm of Oracle, she is considered responsible for some of Oracle’s biggest and gutsiest moves. Peoplesoft was just the beginning of the deals that Catz oversaw, and heralded a career filled debate and scrutiny. She’s working to expand the company globally, and is breaking through barriers that previously held women back from reaching their dreams.
Women are moving into high-powered positions by the droves. No longer content to wait for men to build what they’re looking for, women are taking the initiative and venturing into male-dominated fields. It is interesting to see how today’s young women view the world and how they are shaped by the women who have taken leadership roles in the new technology markets.