A Women’s History Month: Review of Women in Tech

Written by
Lorelei Olson

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With the onset of March, we enter Women’s History Month, giving us the opportunity to reflect on women’s struggles and triumphs across the globe. In 2022, women represented approximately 47% of the workforce, but even the largest tech companies only boasted a workforce of 34.4% women. Leadership at tech companies is an even smaller percentage, with that number dropping rapidly as industry titans such as Susan Wojcicki (CEO, Youtube) and Marne Levine (CBO, Meta) are stepping down.

Tech is often cited as having a “bro-culture” that creates a barrier or deterrent for women entering or rising within the industry. Women in the CSUITE at tech companies helps eliminate that barrier, providing an example for other women that “I can do that, too”. Women lifting other women helps to move the needle closer to equal representation. But let’s avoid using buzz words to excuse or explain why women are not moving up the company ladder at tech companies. The problem is not limited to tech – women comprise only 10% of CEOs for the top US corporations. Men are promoted over women from entry-level to manager positions – for every 100 men promoted, only 87 women (82 women of color) are promoted.

If we acknowledge that women leaders are often overworked, underrecognized, suffer from imposter syndrome (probably from being overworked and underrecognized!), and are seeking more flexibility, employee well-being and DEI, the situation becomes more transparent. Often, when women are not supported at work, they leave. So what about the women who have stuck it out? These women represent some modern technology leaders, moving the needle one CEO, COO, CSO, and President at a time. Below we’ve highlighted women in leadership for companies that provide products our IT team has worked with (this is not an endorsement of any of these companies or products).

1. Jadee Hanson (CISSP), CIO & CISO at Code42
Jadee Hanson is highlighted for being both a woman in leadership at a tech company and one holding an actual technical role of Chief Information Officer and Chief Information Security Officer for Code42. Jadee has operated as the CISO for Code42 since 2018, leading their security and technology strategy. Her stepping stones to leadership include driving Code42’s “Insider Risk” software development, managing information security at Target, and kicking off her career at Deloitte. Jadee is also the founder of Building Without Borders, a volunteer-based nonprofit organization.

2. Dervilla Lannon, Vice President of People at Verkada
Dervilla Lannon has been the VP of People at Verkada, an enterprise security system, since December 2020. Dervilla highlights one of her favorite parts of the role is how Verkada supports giving back to the local community, such as free COVID testing for their San Mateo neighborhood and employee volunteer events.

3. Liz Centoni, EVP, Chief Strategy Officer and General Manager, Applications – Cisco
One of several women in CSUITE at Cisco (as of 2023), Liz has been with Cisco as SVP for 7 years, and with the organization for over 20 years. A recipient of one of the top 10 Women in Cloud and 2015 Mentor of the Year from Million Women Mentors, Liz is paving the way for women in leadership at tech companies. Liz is also the Cisco Global Executive Sponsor for the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program.

We’ll look forward to seeing this list grow and use this Women’s History Month to thank the women who have stepped up into leadership at IT and tech companies already to pave the way.

1. https://builtin.com/women-tech/women-in-tech-workplace-statistics 
2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizelting/2023/01/27/new-year-new-glass-heights-for-the-first-time-in-history-over-10-of-fortune-500-ceos-are-women/?sh=2c525e79e77f 
3. https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/women-in-the-workplace