Here at 729 Solutions we are always thinking about how we can help support more women in STEM and in business. One way to support a more diverse tech world is to educate ourselves about those women who have made great strides in this business already and learn from their success. This will begin a short series where we showcase women leaders in tech from around the world.
Sheryl Sandberg – COO Facebook – is one of the most successful women in tech, not only is she a influential and successful business women she also is a writer and activist. Before Facebook she was a VP for Google and founded a nonprofit called the Lean In Foundation or leanin.org. Through her books Lean In and Plan B she discusses issues surrounding women in business and leadership roles, with her nonprofit being an extension of these ideas, “offering women the ongoing inspiration and support to help them achieve their goals.” Her organization also started the social media campaign Ban Bossy aimed at taking the term “bossy” out of our language because of how it negatively affects young girls and women. One of many campaigns leanin.org is doing aimed at changing social attitudes about women in leadership.
Angela Ahrendts – Senior VP Apple Inc – started out in fashion merchandising and quickly became a force within the corporate side of the fashion industry. She worked for luxury names like Donna Karan, Henri Bendel and Liz Claiborne before becoming the CEO for Burberry in 2006. Some consider her to have single handedly saved Burberry by driving the scarcity idea and limiting items sold with the classic check pattern, the companies value rose around 5 billion during her time there. In 2014 she joined Apple as their only female exec, she was tasked with making the retail experience better and to improve employee morale throughout their stores. She has been reported as the highest earning exec at Apple.
Ursula Burns – Chairman of VEON/senior advisor to Teneo – she currently serves on several boards including Uber and from 2009-2017 served as the CEO of Xerox becoming the first black woman CEO to head a Fortune 500 company and the first woman to succeed another woman as head of a Fortune 500 company. She is sought out for her wisdom and in 2009 was appointed to lead the White House National STEM program Change the Equation by President Barack Obama. She served in this capacity until 2016, focusing on the organization’s mission of improving the U.S.’s education system in STEM. She is also known for providing leadership guidance to community, educational and non-profit organizations including FIRST, National Academy Foundation, MIT, and the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Zhou Qunfei – Founder/CEO Lens Technology – has an inspiring rags to riches story before founding her company in 2003. She started working in a factory making watch lenses and pieces, when this company folded she was motivated to start her watch lense company in 1993, promising customers higher-quality products than other manufacturers at the time. She was very involved in every aspect of her company from leadership, management, skilled repairs and creating improved designs of factory machinery. She caught her big break in 2001 when her company won a contract making mobile phone screens for TCL Corporation. In 2003 her company was hired by Motorola to create glass screens for their Razr V3, the industry was moving from plastic to glass display screens and she took this opportunity to start her touch-screen based company Lens Technology. Her companies screens are used by most cell phone industry leaders such as HTC, Nokia, Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc.
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