Top Women in Technology 2012

Top 10 Women in Tech 2012

Meet the Top 10 Women in Tech 2012

By Caroline Cox

Women today hold just one-fourth of U.S. jobs in technology. But there’s good news: more are getting the education and skills they’ll need to excel. Some universities are even seeing record enrollment for women pursuing technical degrees.

While the number of organizations supporting women in technology is also growing, we at Little PINK Book think the best inspiration comes from hearing success stories directly from women in the field – and the obstacles they overcame along the way.

We spoke to women at big-time corporations like BlackBerry, Ford and Dell, plus those thriving at popular websites like Eventbrite, Urbanspoon and, of course, Google.

In addition to being leaders in their field, these top 10 women are cyclists, clarinet players, black belts and soccer moms. They’re at different levels with varying responsibilities, but all have one thing in common: they’re blazing quite a trail for other female tech enthusiasts to follow.

Meet Ford’s Immersive Virtual Environment Lab head Elizabeth Baron, Microsoft’s VP of U.S. Small & Medium Business & distribution Cindy Bates, BlackBerry’s CIO Robin Bienfait, Eventbrite’s Co-founder and President Julia Hartz, GM’s Vehicle Chief Engineer Sheri Hickok, Dell’s Global CIO Adriana Karaboutis,’s Chief Product & Tech Officer Lisa Kavanaugh, McKesson’s CIO Lisa McVey, Urbanspoon’s VP Kara Nortman and Google for Africa’s Policy Manager Ory Okolloh.

Here, they shared their success secrets, where their passion comes from, the biggest obstacle they faced, plus what more women can to follow their lead.



Elizabeth Baron: Technical Specialist, Virtual Reality & Advanced Visualization, Ford Motor Company

Baron says electronics, gizmos and science have always fascinated her. She runs (and helped create) Ford’s Immersive Virtual Environment Lab, a state-of-the-art space that uses virtual reality to help designers and engineers envision and ensure safety of a vehicle before it’s actually built. Her work is so impressive that NASA personally called to ask for a tour.  Click here for the rest of the profile >>

Cindy Bates


Cindy Bates: Microsoft VP of U.S. Small & Medium Business & Distribution

At Microsoft, Cindy Bates and her team make sure small and medium-sized businesses can effectively use the company’s software, products and more to start and grow successfully. She’s currently responsible for business development as well as various sales and marketing efforts for the multinational computing corporation.  Click here for the rest of the profile >>

Robin Bienfait


Robin Bienfait: CIO, BlackBerry

BlackBerry CIO Robin Bienfait knows competition in the mobile phone industry is fierce. That’s why, in addition to her responsibilities of maintaining the company’s operations, customer service and IT functions, she took on additional responsibilities to give BlackBerry an edge over other companies in 2011.  Click here for the rest of the profile >>

Julia Hartz


Julia Hartz: Co-founder & President, Eventbrite

Julia Hartz co-founded the self-service and events ticketing platform Eventbrite in 2006. The company works with event organizers – from charity and corporate groups to PTA moms and entrepreneurs – to organize, simplify and bring in attendees for events of all sizes.  Click here for the rest of the profile >>

Sheri E. Hickok


Sheri E. Hickok: Vehicle Chief Engineer, General Motors

In the 16 years Sheri Hickok has worked with General Motors, she’s never held the same position for longer than a year and a half. That’s because, when she sees an opportunity, she takes it – ready or not. As the youngest to have ever held her current position as General Motors’ vehicle chief engineer, she’s got more engineering know-how than most twice her age.  Click here for the rest of the profile >>

Adriana Karaboutis


Adriana Karaboutis: Global CIO, Dell

This year, Adriana Karaboutis was promoted from VP of IT at Dell to their Global CIO. In this role, she’s responsible for driving Dell’s “IT organization evolution,” which includes creating and managing innovative new technology for the company and its customers.  Click here for the rest of the profile >>

Lisa Kavanaugh


Lisa Kavanaugh: Chief Product and Technology Officer,

As chief product and technology officer of question and answer-based search site, Lisa Kavanaugh is responsible for all aspects of management, strategy and product development. She’s a developer of the company’s website and mobile app and helped launch several products and strategic partnerships.  Click here for the rest of the profile >>

Lisa McVey


Lisa McVey: CIO, McKesson

McKesson Corporation is the largest pharmaceuticals company in the world. And as CIO of its Provider Technologies and RelayHealth Connectivity Solutions, Lisa McVey heads up the largest division of tech solutions. She directs and manages communications, network services and more while ensuring her departments are accomplishing goals. One of her projects alone generated $18.6 million in new revenue.  Click here for the rest of the profile >>

Kara Nortman


Kara Nortman: VP, Urbanspoon; SVP, CityGrid Media

Kara Nortman has quite the (virtual) Rolodex of big-name sites she’s worked with: Urbanspoon, Insider Pages and Citysearch, to name a few. As SVP of CityGrid Media, an online media company connecting web and mobile publishers with local ad organizations, she oversees publishing on the brand’s consumer sites, manages the P&L and charts the growth of sites and their content.  Click here for the rest of the profile >>

Ory Okolloh


Ory Okolloh: Policy Manager, Google in Africa

Though Ory Okolloh has dabbled (and excelled) in several areas of business, her mission remains the same – to raise the voices of African citizens. She co-founded watchdog website (Swahili for “Patriot”) in 2006 so Kenyans could keep tabs on parliament accountability and have access to government documents, meeting records, contribution amounts and more.  Click here for the rest of the profile >>


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