Guest Post by Victoria Greene
You hear the name Silicon Valley and what do you think? The pinnacle of software, the place where the most gifted technological minds work, the mecca of IT. And how many executive positions by companies based at IT's mecca are held by women? 11%.
Few industries have such a gap in gender representation as IT, but talent has nothing to do with it. There are millions of gifted women in the industry and countless inspirational individuals among them.
I've picked just 6 of the many talented ladies who deserve to be celebrated for their IT gifts. Read on and take inspiration from them.
Recommended reading: Take Responsibility for Your Own Career
How many of the conferences you attended last year, gigs you've enjoyed recently, and events that you've organized used Eventbrite? The event management platform is simple, enormously popular, and wildly successful. It also wouldn't exist without Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Julia Hartz.
Having studied communication and broadcast journalism at Malibu, California's Pepperdine University, Julia founded the company with her husband, Kevin Hartz, in 2006. The company was the first of its type in the US.
With her trailblazing style, Julia Hartz's success has seen her smash down barriers held in place by tech's "men's club" and earn her place among the most successful IT professionals in the world. We salute you, Julia.
You might know Karlie Kloss as the face Swarovski, or one of the many other high-level companies she models for. While Kloss is one of the top 300 models of the noughties, she's also a passionate coder.
Kode With Klossy hosts summer coding camps for girls aged 13-18, where Kloss and her team help build the next generation of female IT stars. For your commitment to breaking down barriers, we celebrate you, Karlie.
Sheila Flavell has been in the IT industry for 3 decades, taking in roles at Lloyds Abbey, Glen Dudley, and FDM, where she is Chief Operating Officer and an Executive Board Director. She's also won a bucketful of awards acknowledging her influence in the IT world.
Among these are:
Woman of the Year -- Computing Women in IT Excellence Awards
Lifetime Achievement Award -- Scotland Women in Technology Awards
Business Leader of the Year -- Cisco Everywoman in Technology Awards
But Sheila's not just an award winner, she's an opportunity giver. She's campaigned tirelessly to help more women get into the IT industry, acting as mentor for many gifted young ladies in the tech industry. Hats off to you, Sheila.
Another female star of the IT world whose name might not be as recognizable as it should be is Lynsey Thornton, VP, of User Experience at the Canadian ecommerce powerhouse, Shopify.
A tech head throughout the course of the higher education, Lynsey left her home in the British Isles to become one of Canada's female IT stars, graduating from being Shopify's UX Research Lead to running the UX show.
Like Karlie Kloss, Lynsey uses her skills to help the next-gen of female coding stars, volunteering as a Facilitator at Code For Kids.
However, it's her work helping female entrepreneurs of tomorrow take the gender pay gap into their own hands, by creating their own businesses using their easy store builder, for which we celebrate her. Excellent work, Lynsey.
They're by far the biggest social media platform on the planet and a global institution that eat away billions of hours of the world's time, but Facebook wouldn't be where they are today without the brilliance of its Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg.
After graduating from Harvard Business School in 1995, achieving an MBA with highest distinction, Sheryl went on to work for McKinsey & Company, Larry Summers, and Google. In 2007 she met Mark Zuckerberg at a party and a year later she became Facebook's COO.
Sheryl was tasked with making Facebook profitable and boy has she succeeded; the company is firmly entrenched in the Fortune 500, and had a revenue of US$40.653 billion in 2017. Sheryl, you know what it means to star in the IT world.
From Facebook to Google and YouTube, and from COO to CEO, we give you Susan Wojcicki. Like Sheryl Sandberg, Susan studied at Harvard University, turning her back on a career in academia in favor of lighting a fire under the world of online streaming.
It was Susan's garage where Google's founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin set up office in 1998; her partnership with the creators of the world's largest search engine became official in 1999, when she became the company's first marketing manager.
While working with Page and Brin, Susan pushed Google Video service against upstart streaming service YouTube. Rather than compete with YouTube, Susan recommended that Google buyout the company. That acquisition came in 2006 and today Susan is CEO of YouTube. Who knows where you would stream your videos from without Susan? Not us.
No industry should be a boys club, or a girls gang for that matter. The only factors that should determine where you work and what you do are talent, desire, dedication, and drive -- gender should never be a factor. For all of their varied skills of our 6 awesome women in IT, it's those 4 qualities for which we truly celebrate them.
We know that you have those 4 qualities too. So what are you waiting for? Take inspiration from our 6 stars and blaze your own trail in the world of IT.
Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she shares tips on how women can forge a career in the online world by using their gift for crafting brilliant content.