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Shaping the Future: Top 3 Most Influential Women in Technology

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Meet the trailblazing women at the forefront of the tech industry. Discover the stories and achievements of the top three

Safra Catz, Oracle CEO


Safra Catz immigrated to the United States from Israel at the age of 6. She earned a B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from Penn Law.

Safra Catz was a banker at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, where she rose through the ranks to become Managing Director and then Senior Vice President of the company.

In 1999, Catz joined Oracle as Senior Vice President. She joined the company’s Board of Directors in 2001 and was appointed Chairman in 2004.

Oracle is a computer technology company best known for its software products and services such as Java. Through its four main business segments – cloud and licensing, hardware and services – Oracle sells its cloud engineering services and systems and its database management systems.

Under Catz’s leadership, Oracle made more than 130 acquisitions and mergers over the next decade. The best-known of these was that of its direct competitor PeopleSoft, which Oracle acquired in 2004 for $10.3 billion.

In 2014, Ms. Catz became co-CEO of Oracle, alongside Mark Hurd. She became sole CEO in 2019, following Hurd’s death. She also teaches accounting at the Stanford School of Business and was elected to the Walt Disney Co Board of Directors in 2017.

Elizabeth Churchill, Director of User Experience at Google

After studying at the University of Sussex, Ms. Churchill moved to California to join the FX laboratory in Palo Alto, then the Palo Alto Research Center. From there, she held positions at various technology companies, including Yahoo, eBay and Google.

She is currently Director of User Experience at Google. In this role, she researches and presents on topics related to computer science, psychology, design, analytics and anthropology, with the aim of making the user experience more accurate and effective.

Ms. Churchill is also vice-president of the Association of Computing Machinery. She also has over 50 patents granted or pending, and more than 100 articles published in multiple fields of psychology and computer science.

Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX President and COO

Gwynne Shotwell graduated from Northwestern University with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mathematics. After graduating, Shotwell began a career in the automotive industry, but quickly changed direction to work on military space research contracts with Aerospace Corp in California, where she became chief engineer of an MLV-class satellite program.

Her interest in space exploration made her a prime candidate for SpaceX in 2002. SpaceX hired her as its 11th employee and Vice President of Business Development. Since then, Shotwell has become the company’s President and COO, making her responsible for day-to-day operations as well as corporate outreach and development.

Ms Shotwell has been inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame and named by Time magazine as one of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2020.

The under-representation of women in technology is not a new issue, and while there are improvements, we can’t dispute that progress is extremely slow and needs much more attention.

Heterogeneity of thought leads to better problem-solving, as collaboration with people of different gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and race fosters innovation and improves problem-solving skills.

Diverse teams outperform homogeneous ones, especially when it comes to solving technical problems.

It’s not enough to encourage young women to take an interest in technology and pursue a career in it; they need to have a wide range of successful female technology leaders to choose from as role models or mentors. There need to be more successful women in tech, and they need to earn their place at the big table so they can engage with the subject of gender equality.

Simply put, women in tech need to become self-aware, self-loving and self-confident to overcome the pressure when dealing with others. Business leaders must strive to identify and embrace gender diversity and inclusion without compromising merit in their hiring strategies.

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