Guest post by Kristen Brophy (learn more about Kristen at the end of this post).
What Do 5 Top Women In Tech Have In Common?
They are fierce and persistent pioneers.
“Success in Silicon Valley, most would agree, is more merit driven than almost any other place in the world. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what
sex you are, what politics you support or what color you are. If your idea rocks and you can execute, you can change the world and/or get really,
stinking rich.” – Michael Arrington, Senior Editor at Tech Crunch
Well, Mr. Arrington, while I am not here to comment on the veracity of that statement, I would like to point out that a mere 11% of executives leading
tech Start-Ups in 2009 were women. While this discrepancy may have nothing at all to do with a lack of meritocracy, the playing field is still largely
uneven and uncharted for female techies.
“Where-are-all-the-women?” is not an inquisition unique to the Tech industry, but for a world that clings arduously to its non-conformist and
anti-corporate-suit reputation, a lack of women in executive roles seems far too reminiscent of the traditional ‘glass ceiling’ that plagues big
But, like the corporate glass ceiling, women everywhere are shattering the tech status quo.
Capable of paving their own way in the tech world, with or without the help and support of men, these trailblazers are populating the largely (and
formerly) unexplored frontier with a Rosie the Riveter ferocity.
Women entrepreneurs, coders, social networkers and computer engineers alike can find particular pride and inspiration of these 5 women below
confronting and abolishing the gender discrepancy. By bravely and intelligently gracing the tech world with meet-ups, money and networking, these women
open doors through which ambitious female successors enter the game.
Here is an account of what they’ve done so far to change the ratio, accompanied by a little piece of advice from each them:
- Arianna Huffington
is the Editior-In-Chief, CEO and President of the Huffington Post, one of the most influential and popular online news outlets, recently acquired
by AOL. She was also voted the #1 most influential person in 2011 Silicon Alley 100 this year. Her advice? “Fearlessness is not the absence of fear. It’s the mastery of fear. It’s about getting up one more time than we fall down.
- Sheryl Sandberg
is known for her loyalty and kindness. This Internet entrepreneur and business executive is currently the Chief Operating Office at
Facebook. Sheryl was also the former Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google, where she launched Google’s philanthropic
arm, Google.org. Before her online presence, Sandberg acted as the Chief of Staff for the United States Department of Treasury. Her advice?
“Ambitious young men believe that they are awesome…their female peers need to do the same…Women need to take credit for their accomplishments
and assert themselves with confidence.
- Rachel Sterne
is the 20-something Chief Digital Officer of New York, appointed by Mayor Bloomberg himself. Aside from her plans to make NYC the digital capital
of the world, she’s an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School, and according to Businessweek, she is “one of America’s most promising social entrepreneurs.” Sterne founded the
citizen journalism site, GroundReport, and Upward Strategy, a digital media consultancy company for start-ups. Her advice? “Follow your instincts, be authentic, and work towards a purpose greater than yourself.”
- Rachel Sklar
is an author, “media addict”, founder of charity site Charitini.com and co-founder of ChangeTheRatio, an organization that tries increase women’s
“onstage,” online presence. She’s been published in the New York Times, Glamour, The Financial Times, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Post and
Village Voice. Her advice?
“Part of changing the ratio is just changing awareness, so that the next time Techcrunch is planning a Techcrunch Disrupt, they won’t be able
to not see the overwhelming maleness of it.
- Alexa Von Tobel
is a Harvard graduate that started LearnVest, an online personal-finance resource for young women. Von Tobel invested $75,000 of her own
money to start the company, and then secured $14 million in venture capital funding. The site has online budgeting calculators, video chatting with
certified financial planners and free e-mail tutorials on financial topics. Her Advice? “If Suze Orman helps 45-year-old women get out of debt…Why not reach 20-year-olds to keep them from getting into debt?”
Kristen Brophy is a freelance writer and entrepreneur looking to make an impact in the tech industry. She currently works at FindTheBest, an unbiased, data-driven comparison engine, but in her free time she runs daily, produces a musical and is starting her own company. Feel free to contact her with questions by email ([email protected]) or twitter @brophyK.