Sheryl Sandberg, Ginni Rommetty, and Susan Wojcicki — who help lead Facebook, IBM, and YouTube, respectively — are names every American should know. The reality? Not even one in 25 does.
When LivePerson asked American adults to name a famous female tech executive, just 4% were able to. In contrast, 57% could name a male leader like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, or Mark Zuckerberg. Even though they hold similar roles at similarly powerful companies, America’s top women in tech struggle for the same amount of attention. The result is that few consumers know the names responsible for their changing world.
It’s a good bet that a similarly small number know the women shaping the tech sector. In the industry’s struggle for equality, that has to change. As 2020 approaches, the following up-and-coming women tech leaders are worth knowing:
1. Tracey Grace
As industry salaries soar past six figures, more and more organizations will realize they can’t afford to hire pre-trained high-tech professionals. In the 2020s, expect enterprises, nonprofits, and government entities to turn to organizations like IBEX IT Business Experts, where Grace serves as president and CEO, for technical education. To attract diverse, development-minded talent, innovative companies will use a combination of on-the-job and specialized tech training.
Grace knows the value of experiential training firsthand. Unlike many leaders on this list, Grace didn’t rely on a computer science background to break into tech. After getting her MBA at the University of Pittsburgh, Grace held a range of sales management and operations roles. There, she saw how in-demand technical skills were, leading her to found IBEX. Thanks to her work with NASA, the Department of Defense, and Amazon, Grace has earned Capital One’s Catapult Award and been nominated for EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year.
The sister of YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki, Anne is co-founder and CEO of 23andMe. Although the personal genomics and biotech company has been around since 2006, its 2020-2030 prospects look particularly bright for two reasons: personalized medicine and travel partnerships. 23andMe is partnering with Airbnb at a time when adventure travel is considered the fastest-growing global niche; it’s also signaled its interest in drug development at a time when the industry is betting big on individualized medicine.
Like Grace, Anne took a different route to the tech sector: After working as a healthcare analyst for various financial firms, Anne became disenchanted with the ways of Wall Street. Although her initial plan was to pursue a career in medicine, Anne decided to do biological research instead. Since founding 23andMe, she’s been named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People and helped define Silicon Valley’s Breakthrough Prize.
Health and wellness are hot topics with Millennials, in particular, and the Gixo co-founder knows it. In contrast to Wojcicki, however, Tobaccowala started in a pure tech company and expanded her role beyond tech over the course of her career. After working as an engineering vice president at multiple invitations and ticketing companies, Tobaccowala saw an opportunity to serve up live fitness classes that users can join from home or on the go.
A serial entrepreneur, Tobaccowala has been featured on the podcast “Masters of Scale” and named an Entrepreneurial Hero by the National Center for Women and Information Technology. Her bet for 2020 and beyond is corporate wellness, which is slated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.8% through 2026.
Another co-founder at the intersection of tech, Cheek’s EverlyWell looks a lot like 23andMe in its early days. Founded in 2015, EverlyWell provides at-home test kits for everything from food sensitivities to thyroid function to Vitamin D deficiency and inflammation. Although personalized medicine is EverlyWell’s long game, it’s also making a smart short-term play: helping consumers avoid out-of-control healthcare costs.
Cheek claims she founded the company after being saddled with $2,000 in out-of-pocket expenses for tests she never received the results from. Cheek’s company now offers 35 tests that range in cost from $89 to $249. As a result, EverlyWell closed a $50 million round of funding this past April; as of this May, Cheek is a finalist for EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Having studied psychology at Brown University and served in marketing executive roles at six tech companies before joining Mixmax, Jones knows more than perhaps anyone else about why people buy tech products. In her current role, she’s helped to acquire more than 10,000 users — at a near-zero customer acquisition cost — earning her multiple interviews on tech startup podcast SaaStr.
Email might not be the sexiest space in tech, but Jones knows the channel is growing by billions of messages per year. She also knows integrations and automation are key to Mixmax’s continued growth, which is part of the reason the email augmentation tool’s 2.0 version feature hooks into LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator. As long as Gmail remains the top email platform, Mixmax is unlikely to lose its lead.
Whatever else the 2020s hold, it’s safe to assume these women will be a part of it. They may not be household names quite yet, but give it a decade: Americans won’t be able to ignore for much longer the many ways women in tech are changing our world.