In this era of #MeToo, it’s a great time to celebrate women who never hold back—and who fearlessly imagine, create, develop, discover, and lead. The 2018 Connected World Women of M2M or as we now refer IoT (Internet of Things) award winners epitomize women’s strength, smarts, charisma, dedication, and staying power.
They have led companies worldwide into new IoT realms with their cutting-edge research, advocacy of cooperative cultures, and dedication to empowering young women who will follow their lead.
And their efforts to share the wealth are paying off. Young women today are 33% more likely to study computer science compared with women born before 1983, according to a Women In Tech 2018 Report done by HackerRank, a developer hiring platform.
This same study shows the gender gap in terms of kids learning to code is shrinking. Today, the percentage point gap between boys and girls who learn to code before age 16 stands at 7—compared with a 20 percentage point gap among their peers who are now older than 35.
Yet we all know there’s a ways to go. Though the percentages are increasing, girls represent 27% of students taking the AP computer science exam in the United States, and women make up 18% of American computer science college degrees.
A 2017 study by the Office of the Chief Economist found that:
- Women filled 47% of all U.S. jobs, but held only 24% of STEM jobs.
- Women make up slightly more than half of college-educated workers, but account for only 25% of college-educated STEM workers.
- Women with STEM degrees are less likely than their male counterparts to work in a STEM occupation. Women are more likely to work in education or healthcare.
A separate study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly in February presented women in STEM with this scenario: A professor asks all of the women in a class to stay after class for extra help, but not any of the men.
Beverly Rider spoke to the WoM2M winners May 17 at an awards in San Francisco
Asked about it, the women in STEM were more likely than men to think that the women asked to stay behind experienced anxiety or self-doubt because of factors like instructor bias or being aware of stereotypes about women in STEM. Men were more likely to think that the anxiety stemmed from just not being prepared enough for the class.
Just last year, Harvard Business Review investigated a company where women comprise 20% of the senior roles. It found that women weren’t moving up to executive roles as quickly as men, even though their work ethics and results were virtually the same.
Prudential’s Harris Poll, a survey of thousands of American employees, reveals disparities between genders in retirement savings, investment allocation, and financial preparedness, as well as levels of stress.
However, new research is increasingly revealing that companies’ profits, productivity, and even innovation are impacted when employees perceive bias. Bias continues to hinder many companies and is limiting the growth of very high achieving performers.
The findings, by the Center for Talent Innovation, reveals that of employees who experience bias, 34% reported withholding ideas or creative solutions during the last six months. What’s more, 48% say they searched for new jobs while at their current positions during the same period.
The good news is that there are three key factors that sheds light on solutions. Employees are 64% less likely to perceive bias at companies with diverse leaders; 87% less likely when they have inclusive leaders, and 90% less likely when they have sponsors.
Women benefit when they feel welcomed in STEM careers. Federal data also indicates that women with STEM jobs earned 35% more than women with comparable non-STEM jobs. Women with STEM jobs also earned 40% more than men with non-STEM jobs.
Taking this information into consideration the WoM2M have followed their own paths and have not let the aforementioned limit their possibilities. Many of the women on the 2018 list have successfully maneuvered the work-family balance and have overcome the challenges and roadblocks put before them. These women have created their own support “tribes,” so to speak. They know how to work and support teams. They encourage and motivate others to reach their personal bests. They are the nurturers. They are forces to be reckoned with. They are constantly building trust with their teams.
So let’s celebrate the women who are showing us the way, whether that’s expanding a supply-chain planning and services company to 18 worldwide locations, or leading a team of IoT subject-matter experts who help customers deploy IoT solutions around the globe, or overseeing an agribusiness giant’s digital laboratory for the IoT ranging from wearables, to digital twins, to augmented reality. Please take a moment to send a congratulatory email or tweet to each of the amazing women on this year’s WoM2M/IoT list. – by Sandra Guy, contributing writer and Peggy Smedley, editorial director
Click to view profile
Kelli Thomas Drake
Leticia Latino-van Splunteren
Dr. Michelle Longmire
Elizabeth “Tina” Montina Andrews
Dr. Jennifer Schneider
HALL OF FAME – Beverly Rider
Acclaimed mathematician and cryptographer, Iris Anshel has seen the company she co-founded grow from an initial idea to a globally recognized leader in security for the low-resource processors that power the IoT. That’s hardly a surprise since she and two colleagues invented and developed the foundational group theoretic methods that underlie all SecureRF protocols. Anshel’s role is now chief scientist at SecureRF Corp., where she has used her background in combinatorial group theory to create both cryptographic primitives and protocols that are a natural evolutionary step for public key cryptography and security in a panorama of technologies. She also is the co-inventor of the core Group Theoretic Cryptography methods used and developed by SecureRF and is a coauthor of the patents on these cryptographically secure methods.
Director of Distribution System Planning, Smart Grid, and Innovation
Growing up, Shay Bahramirad wanted to become an astronaut and soon learned that engineering was a path to pursue this dream—and more. Now, as the director of Smart Grid and Technology at ComEd, she leads the brain trust behind the microgrid ComEd will build in the Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. Specifically, she spearheads work to use the smart grid to adapt to solar and other power sources. Bahramirad also will develop the vision, business models, and investment strategy for future developments. She is an adjunct professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology, teaching microgrids, smart grids, and elements of sustainable energy. Bahramirad holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and is board chair of IEEE PES Women in Power.
Ayah Bdeir’s career has centered on advancing open hardware to make education and innovation more accessible to people around the world. She is the founder and CEO of littleBits, an award-winning platform of easy-to-use electronic building blocks that aims to encourage young people to create inventions, large and small. The LEGO-like plastic blocks snap together with magnets and feature color codes for each block’s function—power, output, and input. Bdeir is an engineer, interactive artist, and one of the leaders of the open source hardware movement. Before her latest success, Bdeir was the cofounder of the Open Hardware Summit, a TED Senior Fellow, and an alumna of the MIT Media Lab.
Liat Ben-Zur has won acclaim in the past year as one of the 50 most inspirational women in technology in the Netherlands and as one of the female mentors making a difference in Silicon Valley. As a thought leader, Ben-Zur is driving the evolution of mobile and the IoT as they intersect with healthcare, recycling, smart cities, consumer goods, sustainability industries, and more. As senior VP and digital technology leader for health technology company Royal Phillips, she leads connected digital platforms and propositions across the health continuum. She previously helped found and build the AllSeen Alliance, the broadest cross-industry open source project to advance a common language for the Internet of Things, and led Qualcomm’s Internet of things AllJoyn open source solution. Ben-Zur has also been known to write tech-centric raps.
Devoted to diversity and inclusion initiatives, Jagruti Bhikha is passionate about building and nurturing communities and networks. She coauthored the book “Impact with Wings: Stories to Inspire and Mobilize Women Investors and Entrepreneurs,” she has planned and executed one of Asia’s largest women in tech conferences, and she consults with the Institute of Food Technologists. One of her accomplishments is devising high-impact solutions that maximize diversity, inclusion, and female empowerment within technology firms. She believes diversity is much bigger and broader, and collaborations play an important role in the growth.
Rani Borkar leads with the philosophy of “Mission First, People Always” when she leveraged her more than 25 years’ experience leading Intel’s silicon product development. At Intel, Borkar served as a top executive in charge of architecture for key classes of chips used in PCs and data centers. Borkar’s move to Microsoft followed her one-on-one meeting with CEO Satya Nadella in 2015. Now as corporate vice president of cloud supply chain and provisioning, she sits among the leaders in Microsoft’s growing and essential Azure cloud business. The world’s leading enterprise cloud provider is helping businesses move to digital strategies that enable them to use AI and data to better satisfy customers while cutting costs.
Beverley Bryant brings 20 years’ experience leading IT-enabled change to her job of identifying new technologies that help clinicians and care providers. Bryant is chief operating officer for U.K.-based IT companies System C and Graphnet Care Alliance, which develop and deploy solutions for Britain’s health and care system. She focuses on delivering innovative health technology that improves patient outcomes, drives service efficiency, and integrates health and social care services around each person’s needs. Previously, Bryant headed the National Health Service’s e-referral service and patient online programme, and co-developed the strategy “Personalised Health and Care 2020.” She also is founding ambassador for the global network for women in IT, “One HealthTech.”
VP, Software and Services Group and General Manager, Global Software Enabling
With more than 20 years of experience in software, systems engineering, quality assurance, validation, and developer relations roles, Margaret Burgraff has experienced major evolutions in technology. She is putting that experience to work as vice president of the software and services group and general manager of global software enabling at Intel. Burgraff ensures that the Intel brand promise is upheld for all phone and tablet platforms shipped to Intel customers. She is also responsible for the validation and certification of Android and Windows software on Intel-based phone and tablet platforms, and developing and maintaining software development tools and hardware manufacturing test tools.
Hannah Chung believes that innovation and creativity—yes, even doodling—fuel positive change.
She is putting that idealism to work as cofounder and chief creative officer of Sproutel, a research and development workshop that creates products aimed at improving patients’ lives. The workshop uses tools ranging from hardware, to app development, to augmented reality, to build functional concepts, to test with users. It then develops, manufactures, and deploys. Sproutel works with partner hospitals to analyze how its products improve people’s health. Before cofounding Sproutel, Hannah cofounded Design for America, a national student organization that helps students solve local social problems through design.
By tirelessly researching and championing the use of IoT connectivity, Lisa Dolan has led innovation and growth as a leader in supply-chain strategy for ALOM. She has leveraged her 20 years of experience at ALOM to expand the supply-chain planning and services company to 18 worldwide locations, serving prestigious brands such as Apple, Bose, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, and Johnson & Johnson.
Dolan works with Fortune 100 clients and ALOM’s internal operations teams to plan and develop the use of wireless connected technology, and to incorporate new technology into the company’s service offerings. She also encourages young women to pursue technology-driven careers in supply chain and manufacturing.
Colleen Egan used her 15 years’ experience in consulting and entrepreneurship—along with her technology and leadership roles—to pivot into becoming a people possibility leader. Her background includes founding a company focused on Chicago technology startups working for clients in education, healthcare, recruitment solutions, and big data and machine learning. Egan’s move to director of people, culture, and endless possibilities at Clarity Partners was a natural evolution, given Egan’s 20-year-long advocacy for the Chicago tech community and for women and the LGBTQ community’s right to be an integral part of it. She has also been recognized as an Illinois Technology Assn., Prominent Woman in Tech award finalist, and works with many non-profits.
Michelle Fleury’s approach to advancing technology is a strategic balance between exploring disruptive innovations and figuring out their realistic business tradeoffs. Her leadership as head of the supply-chain transformation team has enabled a culture of design thinking combined with an Agile software mindset. The resulting thinking aims to accelerate new technologies and business solutions. Fleury’s team drives the organization’s digitization efforts through automation, orchestration, data analytics, and connected data foundations. Fleury also has proved integral to the IoT Lighthouse’s foundation—a complex program focused on delivering the identification of realizable solution stacks. In addition, she serves as mentor and sponsor for Cisco’s iWise (Inspiring Women through Information Sharing and Experience) and is active in the Achieving Women’s Excellence in Supply Chain Operations, Management, and Education, and sponsors the Professional Business Women of California’s Annual Conference.
In Alison Gleeson’s 20 years at Cisco, she has led several top-performing organizations, most recently with the U.S. commercial sales team. She revamped the entire commercial go-to-market strategy and drove consistent year-over-year growth. Now Gleeson is senior vice president of the Americas—the largest of Cisco’s four geographic regions, responsible for more than $25 billion in annual sales for the company. In her role, Gleeson leads more than 8,700 employees across 46 countries and five theaters (Canada, Latin America, U.S. Commercial, U.S. Public Sector, and Global Enterprise Segment). She is a women’s advocate and serves as global executive sponsor and global board president of Cisco’s Connected Women’s Network.
With more than 25 years of IT experience, Tina Gravel’s expertise in security, outsourcing, and cloud computing contributed directly to Cryptzone’s strategic development initiatives, and now, following the acquisition, to Cyxtera Technologies. As senior vice president of global channels and strategic alliances, Gravel leads initiatives to create new tools to help cloud sellers guide their clients to secure solutions. The company protects critical data cost effectively and lets users control their access so they can operate efficiently. Prior to Cryptzone, Gravel gained expertise in developing cloud strategy; leading sales, marketing, and indirect channel programs, and, as a member of Terremark’s original management team, guiding the company to a $1.4 billion acquisition by Verizon.
Jugnu Gupta leads complex technological projects to fulfill her passion to leverage IoT to improve people’s lives. She’s done it as product manager for Amazon’s Kindle software, where she helped define and launch several innovative features on the e-reader platform, and in developing P2K product software features in Motorola’s mobile devices division. Now as senior director of product management at Comcast’s Xfinity IoT Ecosystem, Gupta focuses on building the technology behind the Xfinity Partner Program, which lets Xfinity customers control a large and growing array of IoT devices like Nest Thermostats, Philips Hue Lights, and August Smart Locks—all from their Xfinity Home hubs. Gupta also led the team that built connected home “scenes” for Xfinity Home. The scenes, dubbed “Good Morning” or “Leaving” or “Returning Home,” prompt Xfinity Home to adjust a home’s temperature, turn on specific lights and arm or disarm the security system, for example.
Stephanie Hayes’ 20 years’ experience in the M2M solutions provider and IT consulting businesses have given her the kind of expertise to lead mission-critical multi-million-dollar operations. In 2010, for example, as senior director of operations at nPhase, Hayes led a team that architected and implemented an $8 million, geo-redundant, hosted infrastructure supporting 99.999% availability to support Verizon’s strategic cloud-based M2M platform. Now, as director of operations for M2M at Verizon, Hayes is responsible for infrastructure operations supporting Verizon’s cloud-based M2M management platform. Her responsibilities include incident, problem, capacity, and change management, as well as service level tracking for the platform. Hayes’ project management office has overseen the customer onboarding, platform releases, and major implementations including the integration with Vodafone to offer a global M2M management solution.
Archana Jain is championing Verizon’s cultural transformation by adopting design thinking, agile practice, and the use of emergent technologies—concepts in which she has implemented to achieve real-world success. In her role as chief information officer for Verizon’s Partner Solutions, Jain leads a technology team spanning four continents servicing wholesale and enterprise customers. The team supports the technology enablement of finance, managed services, and the sales and service operations.
Jain modernized the Enterprise billing platform and has performed multiple systems consolidations that achieved efficiency and scale. She simplified and automated many aspects of the service management platform that supports multiple products such as network, security, and applications. And Jain also enabled self-service by making alarms, inventory, and change management capabilities to customers. With an eye towards the future, Archana is enabling innovation with network functions virtualization and software-defined networking to revolutionize managed services.
Julie Judd started her career as a band teacher, then transitioned to technology to make mindful changes enabling innovation and collaboration. As chief technology officer at the Ventura County Office of Education, Judd is responsible for all of the administrative software used at the county office, all of the hardware purchases, and any classroom technology used for the students under the county’s care.
She supports all of the districts in the county with Internet access and technology contracts. Judd also serves as president of the California Educational Technology Professionals Assn., and keeps her hand in music as director for the Adult School Band in Ventura. In the latter role, Judd led the band in a benefit concert to raise money for residents in areas devastated by wildfires and mudslides.
Sarabjot Kaur drives the overall product vision, strategy, and growth for facilitating engagements between big data talent and enterprises at an on-demand marketplace called Experfy. The company is a consulting and training platform for AI, IoT, and big data that lets data scientists bid on consulting projects and develop training content. Kaur is cofounder and coCEO with Harpreet Singh, a Harvard-trained PhD who started his career on Wall Street. Kaur started her entrepreneurial journey when she founded a digital marketing agency in Boston. She realized that she is passionate about disrupting traditional models of engagement used in today’s deeply fragmented analytics and BI market. Sarabjot draws upon 14 years of experience in creating enterprise value; innovating new business models; brand positioning, UX design, marketing; and using technology to translate business complexities into strategic solutions.
Danessa Lambdin leverages her technical and operations experience to design and execute strategic platforms focused on delivering a best-in-class customer experience. Her organized approach, thorough execution and honest, forthright communication style combine to underline her reputation as a skilled strategist who takes a consultative approach. Lambdin, who was promoted to vice president of cybersecurity solutions a year ago after serving nearly six years as vice president, enterprise mobility at AT&T, touts the company’s threat management platform that assesses data in realtime. The platform gives customers insights into their vulnerabilities and how to protect themselves. Lambdin is known as a driven leader who sets high standards while at the same time creating a supportive workplace.
Christy Lane’s strong scientific background and interest in emerging technology puts her at the forefront of innovation. Her determination also has led to her leadership roles in Stanford University’s Wearable Health Lab and at a health analytics company. Lane is a founder and coCEO with Hu Hugh and Matt Smuck, chief scientific advisor, at Vivametrica, which measures mortality and chronic disease risk using digital biomarkers developed from personal sensor data. Her primary role at Vivametrica is strategic leadership of the scientific and analytics team, since her research is the basis for the analytics the company develops. Lane is both a university and corporate advocate for women and girls in STEM, and also volunteer advisor for girls in STEM.
Leticia Latino-van Splunteren has expanded her family-owned company and introduced an innovative idea to enhance sensors and smart platforms with state-of-the-art street furniture. She took over the 45-year-old company, Neptuno, that her father founded. Neptuno is a cellular tower manufacturer and a build-to-suit and engineering firm that helped build the first cellular networks in South and Central America. Latino-van Splunteren’s recognition of the impact of IoT, 5G, and small cells led her to create SmartTecPort. The venture puts a variety of sensors, panic buttons, digital kiosks, LED lighting, CCTV cameras, phone-charging stations, and wireless and Wi-Fi operators within a single structure. The structures are essentially parts of smart-city initiatives that improve phone and data network access in dense urban areas and let consumers gain quick updates on parking spots, bus and train schedules, and public service data. Leticia is part of the Smart City Council National Task Force and mentors women to get involved in technology.
Levinson leveraged her product design skills, mechanical engineering master’s degree from Stanford University and her proficiency in technical Chinese to quickly build her expertise in manufacturing complex connected products. She and company co-founder and chief creative officer David Watkins previously built product and developed strategy for Jawbone, Skullcandy, and Incase before teaming up on their first venture, ADOPTED, a brand of luxury cases and accessories. In 2014, they founded Caeden, maker of earphones and connected jewelry that aims to keep wearers from stressing out. Unlike fitness devices, the company’s Sona bracelet focuses on regulating its wearer’s breathing, heart rate, and fight or flight response. An app takes the wearer through a breathing and meditation exercise. With the bracelet, Levinson aimed to overcome her frustration with the lack of pioneering technology in aesthetically pleasing wearables.
Michelle Longmire is leading the next breakthrough in understanding human health and disease—not from ciphering base pairs but from ciphering bits, the billions of bits of data that each person generates daily. Longmire, the cofounder and CEO of Medable Inc., a healthcare app and analytics platform, developed the “human digitome”—digital signatures of health and disease. The Medable system leverages this intelligence to connect with a patient’s medical record, understand that person’s medication regime, and capture signatures through a smartphone’s accelerometer and in other ways, such as recording the UV Index. Medable’s platform has been adopted by 6,000 clinical trials and nine hospital systems.
During Diana McKenzie’s nearly three decades of experience, she has won recognition as one of the top 50 most powerful women in technology and led trade, technology, and government organizations.
Her ranking by the National Diversity Council reflects in part her experience applying leading-edge analytics and technologies to further biopharmaceutical company Amgen’s innovation and market position, as well as her IT leadership roles at Eli Lilly and Co. Now McKenzie is chief information officer at Workday, a cloud-based financial management and human capital management software vendor. She oversees the company’s security and global IT organization, with responsibility for the internal deployment of Workday products as well as other innovative technologies and programs.
Elizabeth “Tina” Montina Andrews has served as the financial leader of a high-growth healthcare payments solutions provider for 12 of the company’s 14 years. Andrews, the CFO at HMS, has seen the company grow to $69 million in revenues in 2017 from $1.5 million 12 years earlier. Under her financial leadership, HMS has gained a coveted reputation as a cost-competitive small business in federal contracting areas. She has also contributed to the company’s technical expertise, managing a hardware delivery contract with the U.S. Air Force, and helping HMS win a telemedicine offering for the Veterans Admin. Andrews did so after earning her MBA with a focus on Information Technology and her master’s in healthcare administration to go along with her bachelor’s degree in accounting. Andrews also leads her peers in celebrating women in businesses from the YMCA.
Former tech journalist Marion Moreau and coauthor of the film documentary, “We Love Entrepreneurs,” now heads a foundation that uses low-powered sensors to solve social and environmental problems. The foundation uses the SIGFOX network—a global network dedicated to the IoT—and creates IoT solutions to ensure biodiversity and protect the planet. One of the foundation’s success stories is the “Now Rhinos Speak” project, which tracked and secured from poachers a population of endangered rhinos in the south of Africa. The project won the rhino conservation community’s validation for its homemade sensors—less intrusive and less expensive than conventional devices. The sensors provide three GPS positions daily of the wild rhinos via a remote platform. Moreau also works as a tech ambassador for humanitarian causes.
Ann O’Dea—the first woman to be inducted into the Irish Internet Assn.’s Hall of Fame —has won acclaim for championing women in STEM, recognizing remarkable women role models in her industry and helping tackle the gender gap in the knowledge industries. O’Dea co-founded Ireland’s leading technology news service, Silicon Republic, with Darren McAuliffe in 2001. She also is the driving force behind Silicon Republic’s Women Invent campaign, launched on Intl. Women’s Day 2013, to champion remarkable women role models in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. And O’Dea, known for embracing cognitive diversity and inclusion as key to innovation, started Inspirefest, an international sci-tech event. Inspirefest grabbed headlines for disrupting the traditionally ‘male and pale’ tech conference calendar by featuring women tech leaders and thinkers.