Ankiti is definitely a lady on fire. At age 23, she founded a startup that is now on its way to become the first unicorn in South East Asia. She started Zilingo, the # 1 technology and eCommerce platform of Asia, with the simple idea of making fashion supply chain fairer and more efficient. She has raised US$308 million from VC funds, including from our dear Sequoia (VC brotherhood ✌🏻). Ankiti is one of the most influential women in SEA and she relentlessly empowers women in the fashion industry.
Meet Safra, the locomotive power behind Oracle, one of America’s biggest computer technology corporations. In her 20 year career at Oracle, she served in different roles such as the president and CFO, ultimately becoming the CEO. With a background in banking, Safra is renowned for leading the company’s aggressive growth strategy and closing more than 100 acquisitions in the last decade. She emphasizes the importance of continually serving customers in addition to providing them with top-notch software solutions and believes in relentlessly transforming their technology to power their clients. Safra sat on #12 in Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women in Bussiness” list and on #16 on Forbes’ “Most Powerful Businesswoman” list in 2009.
Meet Ada, the first woman to ever become involved in computers back in the 19th century. Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, or more popularly known as Ada Lovelace earned quite the attention and criticism with her bold career as a mathematician and her work on Charles Babbage’s computer, the father of modern computing one might say 🙂 Unlike her father, the romantic poet Lord Byron, Ada was fascinated with technology right from an early age. Her desire to fly led her to publish an illustrated guide named “flyology” at age 12. In 1843 Ada published her notes on Babbage’s “Analytical Engine”— an academic work spanning twenty-thousand words—which has since come to be recognized as one of the greatest contributions to computer science. In doing so, she published the first computer algorithm and has rightly earned her place as one of the first computer programmers. Since 2009, she has been recognized annually on October 15th to highlight the often-overlooked achievements of women in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Thank you Ada for choosing the road less traveled and paving the way for women in tech today…
Radia is a true genius who solved puzzles for breakfast when young (so to speak). Intelligence seeps through her humble words as she articulates not only the complexities of computer programs but of life as well. Back in ‘85, she designed a network protocol that makes the internet we use today possible. Yet she refuses to take all the credit for it, emphasizing the invisible and collective work behind every great invention. She has stellar tech genes from both of her parents but was raised by a strong mother—one of the few computer programmers working for the US government. Radia sailed through MIT studying Math and got a Ph.D. in computer science, seeding the groundwork for over 80 patents she now holds in internet technology. Currently a fellow at Dell, we’re sure she’s spinning the heads tech makers all over the company.
Dilek is the torch-bearer of female tech investors in Turkey. She has helped scale many hardball software and internet startups, including our very own shining pearl Insider. It’s as if Dilek was destined for investment. After her success in 212 Capital Partners, a collection of angel investors, she founded ScaleX, an investment company that prioritizes and supports companies’ scaling period. Though Dilek entered the industry by studying mechanical engineering first, she soon realized her true passion—investing in the potential of the internet and broadening the startup ecosystem in her native Turkey to create global software companies that serve top global brands.
Meet Linda, one-of-a-kind businesswoman and the subject of 4 Harvard Business School case studies. Having featured as a NYT best selling author and referred to as the Entrepreneur Whisperer by ABC, FOX & NPR, she is powering the start-up community as the CEO of Endeavor. Linda, aka “la chica loca” (the crazy girl), began changing the world back in 1997, one entrepreneur at a time 😉.
Today Endeavour boasts a network of over 1000 handpicked entrepreneurs and their respective ventures. It collectively creates over 400,000 jobs and generates $7 billion annually. In 2015, Endeavour was awarded the prestigious Kravis Prize for Nonprofit Leadership, an enviable recognition with a hefty financial prize that aims to further the goals of the non-profit and share their best practices with the industry.
Thank you Linda for believing in the high-impact entrepreneurs of emerging and developing markets. And thank you for believing in Insider from the very beginning!
Meet Hande, one of the six stellar co-founders and the CEO of Insider. The passionate leader and the relentless war-time CEO that all Insiders have the privilege of working side by side. After completing her studies at the London School of Economics, Hande made up her mind to start discovering Asia and headed to China for her master’s degree. During her years abroad, she had stints in multinational companies including PepsiCo and Vestel before settling on her entrepreneurial journey. She made her first exit form an international language school set in southern Turkey before beginning to plant the seeds of Insider. An avid entrepreneur at heart, Hande has been working for Insider’s growth as Turkey’s first Sequoia-backed start-up, one of the most progressive companies operating across 24 regions and reaching 600+ top global brands. She dedicated herself to creating a strong culture focused on care and impact. CrunchBase listed her as the #1 Woman CEO located outside of the US, and Microsoft awarded her with the Most Successful Women Entrepreneur of the Year prize. Thank you Hande, for always going above and beyond the possible, and inspiring all Insiders with your leadership.
Sheryl Sandberg is a name that’s come to be synonymous with Facebook. Sheryl is the epitome of the Silicon Valley woman and boasts a career that spans from McKinsey & Company to the US Treasury and to Google. In addition to being the COO of Facebook, she’s also the first woman on the board of directors. Sheryl made her mark in the tech world when she led Facebook from a $56 million loss to profits over $22 billion in 2018. Her work around advertising for small businesses on Facebook saw the social media giant’s revenue increase by 38%. Her fierce passion and leadership style at Facebook, particularly during troubled times, stems from her motto: “The seeds of resilience are planted in the way we process the negative events in our lives.” Sheryl appears on the Forbes’ Power Women List of 2019 and America’s Self Made Women 2019. Keep bringing the world closer Sheryl !
Shirley Ann Jackson
A fearless discoverer and not one to shy away from breaking barriers, Dr. Shirley is the first African-American woman to have earned a doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She’s a groundbreaking theoretical physicist and holds a bachelor’s degree in physics, along with a Ph.D. in theoretical elementary particle physics, both from MIT. She also holds 54 honorary doctoral degrees. She’s an inspiration and a kingpin in the field of STEM where women and people of color are extremely underrepresented. She is the 18th president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and has driven the institute’s cutting-edge progress since 1999. In 2016 she was awarded the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest honor in science and engineering by US president Barack Obama. She continues to change the world through her fervent support of education without discrimination.
Ever wondered who is the brainchild of Google’s fun holiday doodles? We introduce you to the mind behind it. Susan Wojcicki had been executing remarkable projects in Google as its 16th employee when she convinced the founders to buy Youtube—the emerging video platform at the time, now valued at $90 billion. She admits realizing the potential of user-generated content while trying to entertain her kids with the video of a singing muppet 🙂 Susan is passionate about women in tech and has been an advocate of maternal rights in the workplace. In addition to being the visionary, kickass CEO of Youtube, Susan is a mother of 5 and the woman behind the Google exec Dennis Tropper.
Meet Marissa, another stellar woman in tech whose career took off at Google. As the first female engineer and the 20th employee of Google, a fresh graduate out of Stanford, Marissa spent more than a decade excelling at different roles at the tech-giant. Known to work for 100-hours a week without flinching, she rapidly rose through the ranks. And eventually became the VP of search products and user experience, one of the key products of the company. In 2012, she accepted the offer from Yahoo to become the CEO and was marked as the youngest chief executive in the company’s history. During her tenure, the company saw a significant improvement in some of its most crucial products. She left Yahoo after the company was acquired by Verizon. Marissa is now investing her time into Lumi Labs, a start-up she co-founded that aims to automate mundane activities by using AI technologies.
April is super well-versed in Silicon Valley’s hottest tech companies. She held many leadership positions working for industry giants like Google, Microsoft, and Twitter where she was the Director of Product. After switching to Slack, the cloud-based collaboration tool for big teams, she climbed the ladder to become the Chief Product Officer and increased the number of active users 3X during her first year. Following her experiences in a male-dominated industry, she co-founded the venture capital #Angels to focus on investing in female founders and tackle the gender gap in business equities in the Valley. We’re not surprised to hear that April was listed in Fast Company’s “Most Creative People” in 2015 and Forbes’ “40 Under 40” in 2016 🙌🏻. We can’t wait to see more female-owned startups in the ecosystem!
Leila was one of those radiating souls who lived and died for a cause. We honor her life’s mission to empower the poor by creating dignified technology work. Died in January 2020 of a rare form of cancer, she filled her life with impactful social achievements. She founded Samasource—a non-profit organization that hired people below the poverty line to employ their skills in data entry for companies who tested AI products like driverless cars, photo tagging, and various smart hardware. She employed more than 11.000 people in Kenya, Uganda and India. She also founded a luxury skin-care brand, LXMI, that relied on the women of rural communities to harvest and collect the amazon nuts to be used in the products. The women working for her became the most financially stable ones in their region. Leila got many accolades through her social entrepreneurship. She was named a “Rising Star” on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in 2011, featured on Fortune’s “Most Promising Entrepreneurs” in 2013 and NYT Magazine’s Five Visionary Tech Entrepreneurs Who Are Changing the World in 2015. May your passion for social justice be a guiding light to many Leila.
When Ursula took the helm at Xerox in 2009, she became the first African American woman ever to lead a Fortune 500 company. Her journey at Xerox started as a summer intern and lasted 4 decades as she took up different positions and eventually became the CEO. Even though “xeroxing” had become a common verb, during Ursula’s tenure the company’s popularity was fading and she drove the company’s transition from a printing company to a services enterprise. Considers herself to be saved by the STEM education and a STEM-related career (studying mechanical engineering on scholarship), Ursula found Change the Equation, non-profit program to boost STEM education launched by the Obama administration. She has repeatedly been featured on Forbes lists as one of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women and was listed in America’s Top 50 Women In Tech. She is now leading as the CEO of VEON, the world’s 11th largest telecoms service provider headquartered in Amsterdam.
Meet Meg, one of the most prosperous self-made women in the US 💪.
She has been leading major companies for decades, serving as the CEO of tech mammoths like eBay and HP. Her name is written in history with golden letters for taking eBay’s worth from just a few million and turning it into a few billion (yeap, 8 billion to be exact) during her 10-year tenure. She also is the woman behind the unbeatable success of Mr. Potato Head, the most entertaining one of Hasbro toys (millenials, back me up on this one), and Teletubbies, the colorful tv series for pre-schoolers. Meg’s fame could not be contained within the tech industry when she ran for California governor in 2010 and became the third woman to run for the office in 20 years. Meg is now the CEO of Quibi —a short video service for smartphones to be launched next month, that already signed stellar projects with top talents. We can’t wait to see more of her achievements 👏🏻.
Meet Margaret, the woman who literally achieved moonshot projects 🚀. She led a team of 100 engineers to land Appollo 11 on the moon in 1969. It took a few space missions to prove the importance of the onboard flight software she was developing. She even coined the term “software engineering” to convince others of the legitimacy and the complexity of her job, at a time when it wasn’t yet a professional discipline and only a few knew of its potential. NASA prized her with the Exceptional Space Act Award in 2013 to celebrate her contributions to software development. She also received the Hamilton Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama himself in 2016— the highest civilian award an American can earn. Margaret paved the way for many women to enter and succeed in the STEM fields. Thank you Margaret, for showing women and the world that even the Moon is not out of reach.
Ever wondered the vision behind the sleek and stylish designs of Apple stores where people line up to get in? Meet Angela the fashion guru and the ex-Senior VP of Retail at Apple—famed for being the highest-paid executive at Apple earning more than the company’s CEO. Before starting at Apple, Angela held executive positions at fashion powerhouses like Donna Karan and Burberry. She drove growth for these brands in a sensational way, doubling the revenues of the Burberry during her tenure as the CEO. During her 5 years at Apple she brought a unique perspective to the company by orchestrating the merge of online and offline shopping experiences. A sworn family-lover, Angela once turned downed an invitation to the Oscars in order to be with her family. Oh, let’s not forget about her royal titles 🎖 In 2013, she earned “The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire” for her superior achievements in the UK.
As the powerhouse of a woman in tech, we bring you Ginny Rommety. The first CEO to ever lead the tech giant IBM. She dedicated 40 years of her life to IBM, acing several leadership positions before becoming the CEO in 2012. Though she’ll retire from CEOship this April, her tenure marks the company’s transition towards the new era of AI, blockchain, cybersecurity and quantum technologies. Ginny sits on the #9 in Forbes’ 2019 Power Women list. As one of the mere 33 women CEOs in Fortune 500 companies, her leadership awards are hard to count. Some include Bloomberg’s 50 Most Influential People in the World, Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business & Time‘s 20 Most Important People in Tech.
Meet Juliana, the techxpert of Africa, aka the lady who connects Africa to the internet. Also, named Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011 by The World Economic Forum. One of her many kickass achievements is a non-profit tech company that develops free and open-source software to distribute information in times of disaster. Ushahidi (means “witness” in Swahili) is used in over 160 countries (yeah, you heard it right) as a crisis response tool and for independent election monitoring. She also designed a modem, called BRCK, to be used in African countries where the internet connection is poor. It has become the biggest Wi-Fi provider in sub-Saharan Africa (Say What?!). A true tech lover from get-go, Juliana aced computer science at the University of Missouri and worked in the IT industry before accomplishing groundbreaking projects in Kenya. Her tech expertise and passion for social entrepreneurship shine through every project she puts a hand on.
Luciana Lixandru is a powerful name in the Venture Capital ecosystem and served on the boards of several promising startups. After spending 8 years in Accel, one of the top American VC firms, she became a partner and boosted the company’s valuation with impressive ventures such as Deliveroo and UiPath. Her smart bets across electronics and consumer software start-ups have given Accel a promising portfolio in Europe. In fact, Business Insider has named Luciana as one of the top 10 influential VCs in London. She sits on #20 on the Forbes’ The Midas List Europe: Top Tech Investors 2019. Luciana is joining Sequoia as their first partner in Europe and will continue applying her keen vision to create an even greater impact.