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Computer Weekly has announced the 2020 list of the Most Influential Women in UK Technology, including this year’s winner, Anne-Marie Imafidon, CEO of Stemettes.
The list, which is now in its ninth year, was introduced in 2012 to make female role models in the sector more visible and accessible.
While the original list in 2012 featured only 25 women, it was expanded in 2015 to include 50 women, going on to also introduce annual lists of Rising Stars and a Hall of Fame to ensure as many women in the sector as possible are given recognition for their contribution to the tech sector and the advancement of diversity and inclusion in the IT industry.
The 2020 winner of the accolade Most Influential Woman in UK Technology is Anne-Marie Imafidon, CEO, founder and head stemette at social enterprise Stemettes, which aims to encourage young women to choose careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
Imafidon has been involved in the STEM sector since she was 11 years old and has spent the past seven years developing Stemettes alongside various other roles.
In March 2020, Imafidon became charity director of Stemettes Futures, a not-for-profit aimed at providing young people with STEM experiences and certifications, and providing parents, teachers, alumni and volunteers with appropriate resources.
The top 50 were chosen from a longlist of more than 400 women, with this year being the fourth year the longlist of every woman nominated has been published.
1. Anne-Marie Imafidon, CEO, Stemettes
Imafidon was 11 when she received an A-Level in computing, going on to receive a master’s degree in mathematics and computer science at the University of Oxford when she was 20.
After several years in technology-based roles for firms such as Goldman Sachs, A&M Consult and Deutsche Bank, Imafidon founded social enterprise Stemettes in 2013 to encourage young women to pursue careers in the STEM sector.
As well as hosting the Evening Standard’s Women Tech Charge podcast, Imafidon was awarded an MBE in 2017 for her services to STEM, and is a trustee of the Institute for the Future of Work.
In September 2020, Imafidon joined the Hamilton Commission, a research project set up by race car driver Lewis Hamilton to help find and break down barriers to recruitment for black people in UK motorsport.
Imafidon appeared on Computer Weekly’s Rising Stars list in 2014.
2. Cindy Rose, CEO, Microsoft UK
Rose has been CEO of Microsoft in the UK since 2016, and is responsible for the firm’s product, service and support offering across the region.
Previously, Rose worked in senior roles across the technology and digital sectors, at firms such as Vodafone, Virgin Media and Disney’s Interactive Media Group.
In early 2019, she was awarded an OBE for services to UK technology.
3. Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder, CognitionX; chair of government’s AI Council
Goldstaub is the co-founder of CognitionX, a platform and network that helps to accelerate the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and data-driven systems.
She is a serial entrepreneur and has worked with organisations such as Founders4Schools and Teens in AI.
She is the chair of the government’s AI Council and a board member of TechUK.
4. Elizabeth Denham, information commissioner, ICO
In her role as information commissioner, Denham leads the office dealing with the Data Protection Act 2018 – the UK’s implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Before becoming information commissioner, Denham was the information and privacy commissioner for British Columbia, Canada, responsible for compliance with public and private sector privacy legislation and access to information law.
In 2018, she was awarded a CBE for services to information protection.
5. Flavilla Fongang, managing director, 3 Colours Rule; founder, TLA Black Women in Tech
Fongang founded experiential branding and marketing agency 3 Colours Rule in 2008 to provide services in brand awareness, development and design.
As well as being a serial entrepreneur and speaker, she is the founder of the Tech London Advocates Black Women in Tech group and a brand advisor for the BBC.
Fongang is also a podcaster, a board member of TechUK and an entrepreneurship expert with the Entrepreneurship Centre at the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford.
6. Sarah Wilkinson, CEO, NHS Digital
Wilkinson was appointed CEO of NHS Digital in 2017, before which she was chief technology officer (CTO) at the Home Office, where she led many critical IT systems supporting UK borders and policing.
Prior to her roles within the public sector, Wilkinson had many jobs in the finance industry, including managing director and head of corporate systems technology at Credit Suisse, as well as various IT roles at HSBC, UBS and Deutsche Bank.
She’s a non-executive director of NatWest Markets and King’s College London.
7. Sarah Luxford, director at Global Resourcing; co-founder of TLA Women in Tech
Luxford is director at Global Resourcing, and previously worked to help firms find talent as part of her role with Nexec.
Previously a Computer Weekly Rising Star, Luxford is a co-lead of Tech London Advocates’ women in tech group and was co-founder of Croydon Tech City, one of the fastest-growing tech clusters in the capital.
8. Sarah Burnett, partner at Emergence Partners; chair, BCS Women
Burnett is a founding partner at management consultant firm Emergence Partners where she is head of technology immersion and insights.
Prior to this, she was an executive vice-president and distinguished analyst at Everest Group, where she used her skills to lead the group on global service delivery automation research and European practice across its global services research areas.
Before joining Everest Group, Burnett was vice-president of research at Nelson Hall, covering areas such as infrastructure, IT outsourcing, cloud and government business process outsourcing. Burnett is now chair of BCSWomen and in 2017 launched the BCSWomen AI Accelerator.
9. Trudy Norris-Grey, chair of WISE
Norris-Grey’s career has been focused on technology and digital transformation across firms such as BT, Sun Microsystems, Oracle and Eastman Kodak, where she held senior executive posts.
She is now chair of WISE (Women in Science, Engineering and Technology) and until 2019 was global managing director of local regional government, smart cities and connected infrastructure for Microsoft in Seattle, US, followed by a role as deputy CEO of enterprise and global partnerships at AXA.
10. Sue Daley, associate director technology and innovation, TechUK
Daley leads TechUK’s work on cloud, data, analytics and AI and has been recognised in the UK Big Data 100 as a key influencer in driving forward the big data agenda.
Before joining TechUK in January 2015, she was responsible for Symantec’s government relations in the UK and Ireland.
11. Carrie Anne Philbin, director of education, Raspberry Pi Foundation
Philbin has several responsibilities within the Raspberry Pi Foundation, including leading strategy, continuing professional development programmes and learning resources. Her various board member and chair roles are all aimed at making computer science more accessible for everyone.
She is also a YouTuber, writer and secondary-level computing and ICT teacher, and was one of Computer Weekly’s 2016 women in tech Rising Stars.
12. Anne Boden, CEO, Starling Bank
Boden founded Starling Bank in 2014, where she is now CEO and a member of its board of directors, with the aim of creating a bank as focused on customer experience as possible.
She has a history in financial services, having previously worked for both Allied Irish Bank and RBS, and has just released a book, The Money Revolution, which aims to help people manage their money in a digitally driven world.
13. Abadesi Osunsade, founder and CEO, Hustle Crew
Osunsade founded career development community Hussle Crew in 2016 to help under-represented groups advance their tech careers, where she is now CEO.
She holds several roles aimed at advancing diversity in the technology sector, including vice-president of global community and belonging at Brandwatch, scout at Ada Ventures and advisory board member for Your Startup your Story (YSYS).
She is co-host of the Techish podcast.
14. Helen Milner, chief executive, Good Things Foundation
Milner is founder and CEO of not-for-profit the Good Things Foundation (formerly the Tinder Foundation) which aims to help the digitally excluded become comfortable using digital and online technologies.
Milner was previously a specialist government adviser of digital engagement for the Public Accounts Committee, and was awarded an OBE in 2015 for services to digital inclusion.
15. Jo Twist, CEO of UKIE
Twist is CEO of UKIE, the games industry trade body that aims to make the UK the leader in games and interactive entertainment.
Twist was previously commissioning editor for education at Channel 4, and was multi-platform commissioner of entertainment and Switch for the BBC in the early 2000s.
In 2016, she received an OBE for her contribution to the creative industries.
16. Janet Coyle, managing director business, London & Partners
Coyle holds several roles, including leading the business activity for London & Partners, being a non-executive director for email signature management software Rocketseed, and acting as co-chair for the Tech London Advocates Scale Up Group.
She is also a trustee for charity Founders4Schools.
17. Naomi Timperley, interim chair, FutureEverything; co-founder of Tech North Advocates
Timperley is the co-founder and director of Tech North Advocates, a collection of tech experts aimed at growing the tech sector outside of the London bubble.
She is also currently the interim chair at FutureEverything, whose aim is to ensure that as technology progresses, digital tech and services are developed with everyone in mind.
Previously a Computer Weekly women in technology Rising Star, Timperley is a freelance consultant, non-executive director and consultant at innovation agency Alt Theory, and chair of the Salford Business School Industry Advisory Board.
18. Suki Fuller, founder, Miribure
Fuller founded Miribure in 2015. The company uses data gathering and analytics to promote strategic decision-making in firms.
She is focused on increasing the number of women in the venture capital space through her work as founding ambassador of the FiftyFiftyPledge, and is co-founder of incubator and accelerator Salaam Ventures, which focuses on assisting ethical startups, where she was CEO until 2019.
Fuller is on the advisory board for Tech London Advocates, is a mentor ambassador and co-lead for TLA women in tech, and is a committee member for the TLA Black Women in Tech group.
19. Rioch Edwards-Brown, founder, So You Wanna Be In Tech?
Edwards-Brown is an entrepreneur and founder of not-for-profit So You Wanna Be on TV?
She began So You Wanna Be on TV? as a community outreach programme after her son was shot and stabbed at school. She uses the platform to tackle the lack of diversity and social mobility in TV by providing free employability skills through partnerships between TV, brands, corporates and the local community. Based on this model, she launched So You Wanna Be In Tech? in 2016.
20. Alice Bentinck, co-founder, Entrepreneur First
Bentinck is the co-founder of Entrepreneur First, a firm focused on supporting technology startups from around Europe. As part of the Entrepreneur First initiative, Bentinck also co-founded Code First: Girls, an organisation that provides part-time coding courses across university campuses.
She was on the advisory board of Founders4Schools for two years, is on the computer science department industrial liaison board for Imperial College London, and is part of the government’s UK AI Council.
Bentinck appeared on Computer Weekly’s Rising Stars list in 2014.
21. Anne Marie Neatham, commercial director for the office of the CTO, Ocado Technology
Neatham has had a long career in the technology sector, starting as a software engineer in software and retail firms around the world. She’s now the commercial director in the office of the CTO at Ocado Technology.
To encourage more girls into STEM, Neatham believes exposure to technology education from a young age is essential, and as such is involved with the Code for Life Rapid Router game and resources which teach coding through games.
22. Hayaatun Sillem, CEO, Royal Academy of Engineering
Sillem previously held roles as CEO and director of strategy, director of programmes and fellowship, and head of international activities at the Royal Academy of Engineering, being appointed its CEO in 2018.
She is the commissioner and chair of the expert stakeholder’s panel for Made Smarter UK, chair of judges for the St Andrews Prize for the Environment, and a trustee of EngineeringUK.
23. Dupsy Abiola, head of global innovation, International Airlines Group
A former barrister, Abiola is the head of global innovation at International Airlines Group, where she works on the digital transformation team.
A serial entrepreneur, Abiola is on the Global Future Council regarding mobility for the World Economic Forum, is an advisor and entrepreneur in residence for Beast Ventures, and an advisory board member for F-Lane Global Social Impact Accelerator for Female Founders.
24. Sharon Moore, CTO for public sector, IBM UK
Moore is CTO for public sector at IBM UK and has worn many hats during her 18 years at the firm, including leading on technology for its transport and travel department, and leading on digital engagement for the firm in the UK.
Moore is also a non-executive director for Censis – Innovation Centre, a board member of Scotland Women in Technology, and deputy chair of BCSWomen.
25. Jeni Tennison, vice-president and chief strategy adviser, Open Data Institute
Tennison’s career has been focused on the collection and use of data, having been a technical architect and lead developer for Legislation.gov.uk, a member of the Open Data User Group, and an executive director for Open Addresses UK, as well as her previous position as CEO of not-for-profit the Open Data Institute. She’s now the ODI’s vice-president and chief strategy adviser.
In 2014, Tennison was awarded an OBE for services to technology and open data.
26. Caroline Dinenage, digital minister
Dinenage has had a long political career beginning in 1998. In 2013, the Prime Minister appointed her small business ambassador for the south, and for a few years between 2012 and 2015 she was involved in the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee.
As current minister of state for digital and culture in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), she looks after online harms and security, tech, digital and digital skills policy, and the creative industries.
27. Sana Khareghani, head of UK government’s Office for Artificial Intelligence
Khareghani has been part of the tech sector for almost 20 years, initially holding the roles of software engineer for tech company MDA, product manager for Viisage Technology and system engineer and QA for Hemedex.
She spent five years with the UK Cabinet Office as a senior advisor of strategic change, where she worked with the Efficiency and Reform Group and the Government Digital Service on the government’s IT strategy, before becoming the head of the government’s Office for AI as part of the DCMS.
28. Edwina Dunn, chairperson, Starcount; non-executive director, Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation; commissioner, Geospatial Commission
Making up one half of the name of analytics firm Dunnhumby, Dunn was one of the co-founders of the firm which drove the data analytics behind retail customer loyalty cards. After more than 21 years as the firm’s CEO, she went on to spend time as a non-executive director for HM Revenue and Customs and as chair of the Your Life campaign.
Now, Dunn is commissioner of the Geospatial Commission, founder of non-profit project The Female Lead, non-executive director of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, and president of data science consultancy Starcount.
29. Pip Jamieson, founder and CEO, The Dots
Jamieson founded, and is CEO of, The Dots, a network designed to help people connect with creative professionals.
She is an advocate for diversity and describes herself as “delightfully dyslexic”. The community at The Dots is made up of more than 68% women, 31% BAME and 16% LGBT+ members.
30. Liz Williams, CEO, FutureDotNow
Williams is the CEO of inclusion campaign FutureDotNow which aims to ensure people have the skills they need to cope with digital adoption.
She is the social mobility commissioner at the Social Mobility Commission, is a member of the board of trustees for Transport for London and is the chair of the Good Things Foundation.
Prior to her current work she spent more than 20 years at BT in a number of different roles, including programme director for sustainable business, director of tech literacy and education programmes, and director of digital society.
31. Sarah Turner, CEO and co-founder, Angel Academe
Turner is currently CEO of Angel Academe, an investment group focused on improving diversity and inclusion in technology. She is also a board member for the UK Business Angels Association.
As well as founding Angel Academe, she co-founded a digital strategy consultancy in 2007 where she was director for 10 years, and was previously a board member and chair of the investment committee for the Low Carbon Innovation Fund.
32. Priya Guha, venture partner, Merian Ventures
Guha has been a venture partner at Merian Ventures since early 2019, having previously been ecosystem general manager for the London campus of co-working space RocketSpace.
At the end of 2018, she became chair of the board of trustees for Everywoman-backed charity Modern Muse, which aims to help girls connect with career role models.
Guha also acts as an adviser for Tech London Advocates and The Youth Group, as well as a council member for InnovateUK and non-executive director at Digital Catapult.
33. June Angelides, venture capitalist, Samos Investments
Named a Computer Weekly Rising Star in 2017, Angelides is founder of Mums in Technology, which partners with industry to provide an immersive learning experience that encourages new mothers to take their children to school with them while they learn to code, where she was also CEO until 2017.
She founded the company in 2015 when on maternity leave from Silicon Valley Bank, where she held roles as an associate for accelerator growth and an associate for entrepreneur banking.
Angelides is also an investor at Samos Investments, a board advisor for Cajigo App and was a founding ambassador of the FiftyFiftyPledge.
34. Bethany Koby, CEO and co-founder, Technology Will Save Us
Koby co-founded Technology Will Save Us to educate people about technology and encourage them to creatively experiment with it. As the organisation’s CEO, she hopes Technology Will Save Us will encourage young people to grow to be tech creators rather than just tech consumers.
She is also a founding faculty member of the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and before her current work was the social impact director for brand consultancy Wolff Olins.
35. Elena Sinel, founder, Acorn Associates and Teens in AI
Sinel founded Teens in AI and Acorn Associates to help young people use technology such as artificial intelligence, virtual, augmented and mixed reality to solve real-world problems.
She has won awards including the CogX 2017 Award in Using AI for Social Good Projects, the Women In IT Awards in 2018, and was a finalist in MassChallenge 2016.
Before working on Acorn Associates and Teens in AI, Sinel was a consultant for several firms, including the British Council, a selection of non-governmental organisations, Chittagong Hill Tracts and the Ethiopian Cultural Heritage Project.
36. Check Warner, co-founder, Diversity VC; partner, Ada Ventures
Warner is highly experienced in the venture capital space, acting as a partner for Ada Ventures and as co-founder at Diversity VC, both of which aim to improve diversity in the venture capital industry.
She has previously held roles at venture capital fund Seraphim Capital, which invests in startups in the space industry, and seed fund Downing Ventures, which focuses on early-stage companies.
Warner is very vocal about the need for diversity in the venture capital sector and the importance of investing in non-traditional companies and founders.
37. Marta Krupinska, head of Google for Startups UK
Marta Krupinska has run Google’s UK startup support organisation since December 2018. Previously, she co-founded fintech startup Azimo in 2012, to make money transfers easy and accessible for everyone. She has also been entrepreneur in residence for govtech accelerator Public and co-founded FreeUp.io, an “ethical fintech” firm that was acquired by fintech investor Greensill in October 2019.
38. Poppy Gustafsson, CEO, Darktrace
Gustafsson has been at cyber security and AI firm Darktrace since 2013, holding several roles, including chief financial officer and chief operating officer, before becoming CEO in 2016.
She has been featured in lists such as the Management Today 30 under 35 list, and was a winner in the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Awards in 2019.
Before joining Darktrace, Gustafsson held roles as corporate controller for HP Autonomy, fund accountant at Amadeus Capital Partners and assistant manager at Deloitte.
39. Sheree Atcheson, director of diversity, equity and inclusion, Peakon
Named a Computer Weekly women in tech Rising Star in 2014, Atcheson is now the director of diversity, equity and inclusion at employee survey firm Peakon, and is an outspoken advocate for diversity and inclusion both in and outside of the tech sector.
Previously Atcheson was head of diversity and inclusion at Monzo, and for four years she was the UK expansion director of Women Who Code, responsible for advancing the Women Who Code networks across the UK, after founding the organisation in 2014.
Atcheson has held several tech roles, including technical business consultant for technology, strategy and architecture at Deloitte, software engineer for Kainos and product analyst for SR Labs.
40. Carly Kind, director, Ada Lovelace Institute
As director of the Ada Lovelace Institute, Kind is responsible for leading the institute’s strategy to increase the public’s understanding of the impact AI has on society.
Her background is in human rights law, and she currently acts as a consultant for several organisations, including Unicef UK, Ranking Digital Rights and the European Centre for Not-For-Profit Law.
She is a board member for GeneWatch UK, and is the team leader and data protection expert for Asia on a project promoting the European Union’s approach to data protection in Asia and Latin America for consulting firm B&S Europe.
41. Abbie Morris, CEO and co-founder, Compare Ethics
Morris is the founder and CEO of Compare Ethics, a platform which uses data to allow customers to compare ethical and sustainable fashion brands. The company is currently a resident of Google for Startups.
While working at ethical policy and communications consultancy AEQ Global, Morris earned a masters in conflict, security and development.
42. Neeta Patel, CEO, Centre for Entrepreneurs
Patel heads up the New Entrepreneurs Foundation, an entrepreneur development programme to help develop the UK’s next generation of leaders through a one-year programme that combines access to networks, work experience and training workshops.
She is also CEO of the Centre for Entrepreneurs, which became part of the New Entrepreneurs Foundation in 2017 and is a think tank for entrepreneurship. She also acts as an advisory board member for Tech London Advocates, and is an entrepreneur-mentor in residence at the London Business School. She acts as a board advisor, mentor and investor for several startup organisations.
43. Sophie Deen, CEO, Bright Little Labs
Deen, a former lawyer, is CEO of social enterprise Bright Little Labs, a children’s education company.
Bright Little Labs is the creator of Detective Dot and Agent Asha, a series of children’s stories and digital resources aimed at helping children gain the skills they need for a digital future.
Prior to Bright Little Labs, Deen was head of Code Club World and Code Club Pro, and worked alongside several organisations with the Department of Education (DoE) to develop the computing curriculum introduced in 2014.
44. Rebecca George, managing partner, government and public services, Deloitte
George is the managing partner for government and public services at Deloitte, leading the firm’s public sector practices across Europe.
Prior to this role, she was lead public sector partner at Deloitte, where she was responsible for projects such as helping the public sector improve efficiency and develop best practice.
George is a non-executive chair for the DoE’s T-Level reform programme and is the current president of the BCS.
She was awarded an OBE in 2006 for her work on sustainable communities.
45. Indra Joshi, director of AI, NHSX
Joshi joined NHSX in summer 2019 as the head of digital health and AI, before becoming director of AI five months later to oversee the development of the NHS AI lab.
As a subject matter expert for the World Health Organisation (WHO), Joshi is part of a technical advisory group that helps the WHO with advice around digital health.
She is also a founding ambassador for volunteer community One HealthTech and the vice-chair for equality, diversity and inclusion (health executive) at the BCS.
46. Joanna Davinson, chief digital, data and technology officer, Home Office
Davinson is the chief digital, data and technology officer at the Home Office, where she is responsible for helping the department’s transformation projects via digital, data and technology solutions.
Prior to this role, she spent time working on public sector ICT projects at PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM.
47. Marija Butkovic, founder and CEO, Women of Wearables
Butkovic is CEO of Women of Wearables, a network for women involved with technologies such as wearable tech, fashion tech, internet of things (IoT), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) fields. She is a digital marketing, technology and business consultant, as well as a serial entrepreneur, startup mentor and an advisory board member for the Independent Fashion Advisory Board (IFAB).
48. Eileen Jennings-Brown, head of technology, Wellcome Trust
Jennings-Brown is the head of technology for research-based charity Wellcome Trust, leading a team which aims to implement new ways of working across the organisation to thrive in an increasingly digital world.
She is also the director and owner of a consultancy firm, Emerge Technical Solutions, which advises on digital and technology transformation.
She has held a number of technical roles in the past, including ICT manager at POhWER, head of managed services at Modern Networks, an IT business consultant for BCS and service delivery manager at Thales.
49. Kriti Sharma, vice-president product, GfK; founder, AI for Good UK
Sharma is the vice-president of product for market researcher GfK and founded tech company AI for Good in 2018 to provide ethical AI-driven technology.
Named one of the Forbes 30 under 30 in 2017, Sharma is an advisor for the United Nations and a board member for the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation.
Previously, she was vice-president for AI at Sage, during which time she founded Messaging Bots London, a community of chatbot developers.
Before joining Sage, Sharma was vice-president, head of product, real-time big data analytics at Barclays.
50. Helen Wollaston, former CEO, WISE
Wollaston was chief executive of not-for-profit WISE for eight years, where she focused on helping more women to take up roles in STEM before retiring in 2020. In her role, Wollaston led campaigns to encourage young girls into STEM subjects, and helped companies to ensure women have the same opportunities as their male counterparts.
Wollaston owns a consultancy company, Equal to the Occasion, and is a non-executive director for Zero Waste Scotland.