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Readers can now vote for who they think should be named the 2021 Most Influential Woman in UK Technology.
Many have blamed young women’s lack of interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) as due to a lack of role models – so Computer Weekly’s list, now in its 10th year, aims to make under-represented role models in the tech sector more visible and accessible.
Out of the more than 500 women considered for the list, 50 have been shortlisted by a panel of expert judges.
This year’s winner will be announced at an online event on 30 September 2021, held in partnership with recruitment specialist Spinks. The theme for this year’s diversity and inclusion event is looking back at the last 10 years of the diversity in tech movement, what has changed, and how we can continue to progress now the pandemic has shone a light on the disparity the sector still faces.
Hall of Fame
Alongside the top 50, each year the judges also choose several women for the Computer Weekly Women in Tech Hall of Fame to recognise their lifetime achievements and ongoing contributions to the technology sector. This year’s additions have just been announced.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Computer Weekly’s list of the most influential women in UK tech, this year 10 women have been added to the Hall of Fame:
- Carrie Anne Philbin, director of education, Raspberry PI Foundation
- Cindy Rose, president of Western Europe, Microsoft
- Elizabeth Denham, information commissioner, Information Commissioner’s Office
- Helen Milner, founder and CEO, Good Things Foundation
- Jo Twist, CEO, UKIE
- Rebecca George, previous managing partner for government and public services, Deloitte
- Sarah Burnett, founding partner and non-executive director, Emergence Partners
- Sue Daley, director of tech and innovation, TechUK
- Trudy Norris-Grey, chairperson, Wise
- Last year’s winner Anne-Marie Imafidon, CEO, Stemettes.
Computer Weekly readers can now vote on who they feel is the most influential woman in UK technology in 2021.
Click on your choice below and then on the “submit” button (or the arrow button on mobile) at the end of the list and your vote will be registered. Note that the list appears in a randomised order.
Voting closes at midnight on 5 September 2021.
Editor’s note: The final list of the most influential women in UK IT will be chosen by combining the decision of the judging panel with the votes of our readers. The combined reader vote will carry the same weight as that of one judge, and will provide the UK IT professional input into the order of the list. The editor’s decision on the list will be final.
The shortlisted 50 (in alphabetical order) are as follows – click on each name to visit her Twitter profile (where available):
In 2016, Osunsade founded Hustle Crew, a platform offering career development resources for groups who are under-represented in the technology sector, and she is currently also CEO.
Summer of 2020 saw her start a new role as the VP of global community and belonging at consumer insight firm Brandwatch, where she is focused on developing and sticking to inclusion practices for the firm.
Part time, Osunsade is a scout for venture capital (VC) firm Ada Ventures and an advisory board member for startup founder community Your Startup, Your Story.
Over the last few years, she has appeared on several notable lists, including the Financial Times Top 100 Influential Leaders in Tech, Tech Nation Top 50 Influential Voices in Tech and the Dots 100 Trailblazers.
Morris is the founder and CEO of Compare Ethics, a platform which uses data to allow customers to compare ethical and sustainable fashion brands. Until the beginning of 2020, the company was a resident of Google for Startups.
Morris is an advocate of both technology and sustainability despite not originally coming from a tech background. While working at ethical policy and communications consultancy AEQ Global, Morris earned a masters in conflict, security and development.
Bentinck has co-founded several organisations, including Entrepreneur First, a firm that supports European technology startups, and not-for-profit coding training programme Code First Girls.
She is on the Computer Science Department Industrial Liaison Board for Imperial College London, is a board trustee for Generation and is a member of the UK’s AI council.
Bentinck appeared on Computer Weekly’s rising star list in 2014.
Andrea Palmer, business change and digital transformation manager; BCS fellow; chair, BCS Women
Palmer has led a long career in business change and digital transformation, having held various roles in energy firm BP over a 15-year span.
She is currently the chair of BCS Women, sits on the BCS society board and volunteers as a Programme Manager for iSAW International.
Before this year, she has served as one of Computer Weekly’s expert judges for the most influential women in UK tech list, dedicating a lot of time both in and outside of her work to furthering the conversation surrounding getting more women into the tech sector.
An entrepreneur and co-founder, Brailsford joined Code First Girls as CEO in 2019 where she works to encourage more women into the tech sector by providing software development skills and education.
She’s also a board member for the Institute of Coding where she’s focused specifically on diversity and inclusion, and is a self-employed commercial and strategy consultant.
Prior to her work at Code First Girls, she co-founded and was CEO of performance management firm Frisbee, which was part of venture capital fund Founders Factory.
Boden founded digital challenger bank Starling in 2014 to build an organisation focused on customer experience. She is currently its CEO and a member of its board of directors.
Prior to Starling, Boden was COO at Allied Irish Bank, and was head of EMEA global transaction services for RBS.
Her book The Money Revolution was released in 2019 and aims to help people manage their money in a digitally driven world.
Neatham leads Ocado Technology’s teams focused on robotics and automation in her role as commercial director for the office of the CTO at Ocado Technology. She has been with Ocado since 2001, originally as a software engineer, then head of Ocado Technology in Poland in 2012, where she set up the firm’s Polish arm. She became chief operating officer of Ocado Technology in 2014, and has previously been a software engineer in software and retail firms around the world.
She believes that to get young girls into technology careers, encouragement needs to start early in the education system.
Taylor co-founded TechReturners, where she is currently CEO, to give skilled individuals who have has a career break the opportunity to connect with firms and help them back into mid-to-senior level tech roles.
She is also co-founder and CEO of The Confidence Community which aims to provide resources, training information and events to give people more career confidence. Taylor is co-founder of community WIT North, and co-founder of DisruptHR Manchester.
As CEO of Harvey Nash Group, White heads up the global firm which provides IT recruitment, technology solutions and leaderships services out of 36 offices across the world.
White has a long background in the tech sector, having previously held roles as CIO and director of IT, as well as completing a degree in computer science.
As director of the Ada Lovelace Institute, Kind is responsible for leading the institute’s strategy to increase the public’s understanding on the impact artificial intelligence (AI) has on society.
Her background is in human rights law – she currently acts as a consultant for Unicef UK, and was previously a consultant for several other firms including Ranking Digital Rights and the European Centre for Not-For-Profit Law.
She’s the acting chair on the board of trustees for charity Glitch, which aims to make the internet a safer space for everyone.
With a background in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, Breslin is an advisor at VC fund and accelerator Deeptech Labs, as well as AI consulting firm Kingfisher Labs which helps firms embed machine learning, AI and voice technology into their businesses.
She was previously a director and solutions architect at Cobalt Speech and Language, and until 2018 worked in Amazon’s Alexa AI team working to develop machine learning technologies to make more conversational interfaces.
Hunter founded Coding Black Females in 2017 to help black female software developers meet each other and network. Alongside her work at Coding Black Females, Hunter is a software developer herself.
She is an advisory board industry representative in University of Essex Online’s computing department, and is the technical director at SAM Software Solutions, and technical director the full-stack and front-end training organisation Black Codher Bootcamp.
Previously, Hunter was lead software engineer at Made Tech, and held roles such as senior software developer, lead Java developer, app developer and technical consultant at various firms.
She was named a Computer Weekly women in UK tech Rising Star in 2020.
Warner is prolific in the venture capital space, acting as a partner 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 companies and founders who might otherwise be overlooked.
Cynthia Davis, CEO and founder, BAME Recruitment Ltd; chair, the board of directors at Pop Up Projects
With a career focused on diversity and inclusion, Davis is both the co-founder of diversity career platform Diversifying, and founder and CEO of recruitment organisation BAME Recruitment and Consulting.
She is chair of the board of directors for Pop Up Projects, and a board trustee for charity Over the Wall, both aimed at changing young people’s lives for the better.
Davis has previously held roles in talent acquisition in the STEM sector, both at telecoms firm BT and as part of a short term project at an Aerospace, Aviation, F1 and Motorsport organisation.
Okenla founded Your Startup, Your Story (YSYS), where she is currently CEO, in 2017 to act as a community for startup founders and to help make talent in the startup ecosystem more diverse.
She is an advisory panel member for IT services firm AND Digital, and an advisory board member for not-for-profit Coders of Colour.
Okenla is also and advisory board member for The No.10 Innovation Fellowship Programme, is part of the Atomico Angel Programme 2021, and is a council member for the Digital Economy Council for DCMS.
Prior to her current role, Okenla led engagement and groups for Google For Startups, and was previously membership manager at co-working space Huckletree.
She was named a Computer Weekly most influential women in UK tech Rising Star in 2020.
Sinel founded Teens in AI and Acorn Aspirations to help young people who want to solve real-world problems using technology such as artificial intelligence, virtual, augmented and mixed reality.
She has won awards for her work, including CogX 2017 Award in Using AI for Social Good Projects, and is currently an education taskforce committee member for the All Parliamentary Group in Artificial Intelligence.
Before working on Acorn Associates and Teens in AI, Sinel was a consultant for several firms, including the British Council, NGOs, Chittagong Hill Tracts and the Ethiopian Cultural Heritage Project.
As head of digital safety at cyber firm RazorSecure, Taylor is responsible for implementing and leading the integration of safety and cyber in the railway vehicles industry.
She has been on the receiving end of many awards including the WeAreTechWomen #TechWomen100, the Daily Telegraph Top 50 Women in Engineering and the Cranfield School of Management 100 Women to Watch 2020.
Prior to her current role, Taylor was part of the Safety and Reliability Council and has also held roles at RSSB.
Fongang is a strategic brand specialists aimed at helping technology companies with brand engagement. She is the managing director of creative agency 3 Colours Rule, as well as a branding, neuromarketing and social selling course instructor for the agency.
She is a brand advisor at the BBC, a brand specialist for Consilience Ventures and an entrepreneurship expert with the Entrepreneurship Centre at the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford.
She founded the Tech London Advocates Black Women in Tech group which aims to support and accelerate diversity and inclusion in the tech sector.
Sillem worked for the Royal Academy of Engineering for 12 years before being appointed its CEO in 2018.
Previous roles at the Academy include deputy CEO and director of strategy, director of programmes and fellowship, and head of international activities.
As well as her work for the Academy, Sillem is the commissioner and chair, expert stakeholders panel for Made Smarter UK, chair of judges for the St Andrews Prize for the Environment, a trustee of EngineeringUK, and CEO of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.
Joshi joined NHSX in summer 2019 as the head of digital health and AI, before becoming director of AI five months later, overseeing the development of the NHS AI lab.
As a subject matter expert for the World Health Organization (WHO), Joshi is part of a technical advisor group which 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.
An entrepreneur and advisor, Taylor is considered an expert several tech areas and is an expert advisor for the European Commission and U4SSC, and is a technology advisor for TenureX.
She founded and is CEO of web services company FlyingBinary, and also acts as an entrepreneur mentor for Tech Nation.
Coyle has held several roles at London & Partners, including principal advisor, director of trade and growth, leading the export and growth strategy for the firm, and managing director of growth before being made managing director of business growth in early 2021.
She has several other roles, non-executive director for Rocketseed, and acts as co-chair for the Tech London Advocates Scale Up Group.
In the past, she was the managing director of Silicon Valley Comes to the UK, and was an advisor for charity Founders4Schools.
Tennison was recently appoint the Open Data Institute’s (ODI) vice president and chief strategy advisor.
Prior to her current role she was CEO of the ODI, and was awarded an OBE for services to technology and open data in 2014. Previously, Tennison was technical architect and lead developer for Legislation.gov.uk and acts as executive director for Open Addresses UK.
Until 2015, Tennison was a member of the Open Data User Group, an independent ministerial advisory group for the Cabinet Office.
Davinson is the executive director of the Cabinet Office’s Central Digital and Data Office, responsible for leading the government’s use of digital, data and technology.
She was the chief digital, data and technology officer at the Home Office for three years prior to her new role, where she is responsible for delivering the department’s digital, data and technology solutions, including high-profile projects such as the UK border systems.
Prior to this role, she spent time working on public sector ICT projects at PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM.
Previously chosen as a Computer Weekly women in UK technology Rising Star, 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 is a founding ambassador of the FiftyFiftyPledge.
She is an honorary fellow and the Institute of Engineering and Technology, an Oxford Foundry mentor at Oxford University, an ambassador at Huckletree and a board observer for both Global App Testing and EVERPRESS.
Rosenshine has held several roles in her years at Microsoft, including Head of Data & AI Cloud Solution Architecture, Financial Services, and Head of Azure Cloud Solution Architecture - Media, Telco & Professional Services before becoming responsible for leading the firm’s global cloud architecture team working with Unicorns and startups.
As well as her role at Microsoft, she is an advisor for not-for-profit AI-Global.org, and has previously worked in customer success roles for firms such as Stack Overflow and data analytics firm Windward.
Jennings advises BT on strategy, as well as acting as a spokesperson at media events, and is also an author. At BT she has led the BT Skills for Tomorrow programme which helps people across the UK use digital to their advantage. The programme has helped 10 million people learn digital skills and confidence with technology.
She was previously the director at the Royal Household, and chief executive responsible for strategy and delivery of iDEA CIC, the inspiring digital enterprise award, and before that spent 15 years with the BBC working on a variety of roles including programme editor for BBC Breakfast with Frost and executive editor for BBC News.
She spent two and a half years as programme executive for the BBC Academy, helping develop a leadership programme for senior creative leaders throughout the BBC. Jennings has also held roles at major broadcast organisations ITN and Sky.
Oniwinde founded BYP Network in 2016 to help black professionals network and more easily have access to jobs after a trip abroad confirmed the challenges young black people face getting jobs both in and outside of the UK.
She is board trustee for volunteer organisation Getting On Board and has received several awards and accolades, including Forbes 30 under 30 and Financial Times Top 100 BAME Leaders in Technology.
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 tech.
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.
Williams is the CEO of inclusion campaign FutureDotNow which aims to ensure people aren’t left behind by the growing skills gap caused by 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.
Marta Krupinska has run Google’s UK startup support organisation since December 2018. Previously, she co-founded fintech startup Azimo in 2012, to make sending money 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.
As well as heading up cloud and storage firm SUSE, Di Donato is founder of foundation Inner Wings, which aims to give young girls more confidence and work towards worldwide gender equality.
Prior to her current roles, she was chief revenue officer, then COO, digital core for SAP, and was previously at Salesforce.com as area vice-president of Wave Analytics Cloud.
Before her six years at Salesforce, Di Donato was the area vice-president of ISV and channel programmes for EMEA and Asia Pacific (APAC), during which she chaired a European ISV Advisory Innovation Board.
Di Donato is a board member and advisor to various technology companies in the UK and in Silicon Valley. She is a philanthropist, focusing on STEM initiatives and mentoring women in business. She has recently been named as leader of the Tech Working Group of the 30% Club.
Naomi Timperley, co-founder, Tech North Advocates; growth and innovation consultant; project director, FreelanceHER100
One of Computer Weekly’s 2017 women in technology Rising Stars, Timperley is a freelance consultant, and co-founder of Tech North Advocates, a private sector-led collection of tech experts who champion the technology sector in the north of England.
She is also an honorary industry fellow at the University of Salford Business School, a board member of FutureEverything and chair of the Salford Business School Industry Advisory Board. In the past she co-founded Enterprise Lab.
With a background in science and technology, Blackwood uses her knowledge in her roles as chair of the board of Genomics England, chair of Public Policy Projects and board trustee for the Alan Turing Institute.
Prior to her current work, she spent time in the public sector, originally as the first female MP for Oxford and more recently minister for innovation for the Department of Health and Social Care.
She has been a chair of the Human Tissue Authority, a board member for Oxford University Innovation, an advisory board member for Eagle Genomics and on the board of directors for the Campaign for Science and Engineering.
Gustafsson has been at cyber security and AI firm Darktrace since 2013, holding several roles, including CFO and COO, before becoming co-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.
Guha took the role of venture partner at Merian Ventures at the beginning of 2019, having previously been ecosystem general manager for the London campus of Silicon Valley-born 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 become more informed about possible career choices.
Guha also acts as an adviser for Tech London Advocates and The Youth Group, as well as a council member for InnovateUK, and a member for the international committee at the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Edwards-Brown, entrepreneur and founder of So You Wanna Be on TV?, is an advocate for diversity and has extensive media experience.
She began So You Wanna Be on TV? as a community outreach programme after her son was shot and stabbed at school, and 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 community. Based on her already successful model, she launched So You Wanna Be In Tech? in 2016.
Sarah Armstrong-Smith, chief security advisor, EMEA, Microsoft
Initially starting her career in disaster recovery and risk, Armstrong-Smith works as chief security advisor for Microsoft in EMEA working with customers on projects such as security strategies, cloud adoption and digital transformation.
She is a board advisor for Vaultree and Avnos, as well as a company director for Secure Horizons.
Previously Armstrong-Smith has been non-executive director for Decipher Security, group Head Business Resilience & Crisis Management at the London Stock Exchange, and until 2019 was the head Continuity & Resilience, Enterprise & Cyber Security at Fujitsu.
Luxford is co-lead of Tech London Advocates’ women in tech group and was co-founder of Croydon Tech City, the second-fastest-growing tech cluster in the capital, in charge of developing new relationships with investors, tech companies and potential stakeholders. She is now a partner (digital, data and technology) at advisory firm GatenbySanderson.
Previously, she was director at recruitment company Global Resourcing, and before that as director at Nexec Leaders, Luxford worked with founders, investors and business leaders to find the talent they needed. She was noted as one of Computer Weekly’s 2015 Rising Stars.
Turner founded Angel Academe, a pro-women and pro-diversity angel investment group focused on technology. She is currently CEO of the group, and until 2019 was an external board member and chair of the investment committee for venture capital fund the Low Carbon Innovation Fund.
Turner is also a board member of the UK Business Angels Association, the trade association for early-stage investment, and in 2007 co-founded consultancy Turner Hopkins, which helps businesses create digital strategy.
Moore is CTO for public sector at IBM UK, having previously focused on designing technical solutions for IBM’s clients in the travel and transportation industry, incorporating engagement, IoT and analytics technologies, in her role as industry technical leader for travel and transportation. Moore is also deputy chair of BCS Women, and is the BCS Women Scotland lead.
A past Computer Weekly Rising Star, Atcheson is the global director of diversity and inclusion at Valtech, as well as an outspoken advocate for diversity and inclusion both in and outside of the tech sector.
Previously she has been global director of diversity, equity and inclusion, and head of diversity and inclusion at Monzo and prior to that 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. She is now an advisory board member.
Over the years, Atcheson has held several tech roles, including a technical business consultant for technology, strategy and architecture at Deloitte, software engineer for Kainos and product analyst for SR Labs.
Sheridan Ash, technology and investments director, women in technology leader UK, PwC; founder Tech She Can
Ash holds several roles at PwC as director of technology investments, and as its UK women in technology leader.
As well as her role at PwC, Ash is the founder of Tech she Can, an initiative aimed at giving women a safe space for technology education and career opportunities.
In 2020, Ash received an MBE for services to young girls and women through technology.
Patel has a history in both tech and healthcare, currently heading technology at NHSX where she is responsible for developing models and guidance for technology and digital transformation.
Her previous roles include joint CIO for London North West Healthcare NHS Trust and The Hillingdon Hospitals Foundation Trust, CIO of NHS Westminster, and head of solutions delivery for NHS Commissioning Support for London.
Fuller founded Miribure in 2015. The company uses data gathering and analytics to promote strategic decision-making in firms.
She is also a founding ambassador of the FiftyFiftyPledge, an advisory board member of Tech London Advocates and Tech Global Advocates, and the TLA Women in Tech co-lead.
Fuller co-founded, and until 2019 was CEO of, incubator and accelerator Salaam Ventures, which focuses on assisting ethical startups.
Goldstaub is an expert in the impact that AI has on society, co-founding CognitionX, a platform and network that helps to build AI and data-driven systems.
She is the chair of the government’s AI Council, which aims to offer advice and guidance to the government in the ongoing use and development of AI.
She also acts as marketing counsel for Founders4Schools, adviser for The Prince’s Trust and is the co-founder of Future Girl Corp, an organisation that runs free events for future female CEOs. She also acts as a judge for Teens in AI, and is a board member for techUK.
Currently chief digital officer at NHSX, Donnelly was one of the founding team to establish the unit responsible for digital transformation of healthcare in the UK.
She is also a member of the board of trustees for the Nuffield Trust, president of The Health CEO’s Club and a senior volunteer/vice president for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Tanaka is currently part of the programme team for All4Health&Care, a community launched during the pandemic to connect digital healthcare providers with the public sector.
She is also the head of the CMO Office for Black Country and West Birmingham CCGs, a fellow, independent audit for AI systems for ForHumanity, and a BCS Women membership secretary.
Bahrololoumi has had a more than 20-year career in technology, spending 22 years in various roles at Accenture including resources industry technology consulting lead, technology global I&D lead and technology lead UK&I.
She is currently the CEO for UK&I at Salesforce, and is also an advocate for diversity and inclusion having held roles in D&I throughout her career.
Zara Nanu, CEO and co-founder, Gapsquare; Global Future Council on Equity and Social Justice at World Economic Forum
Nanu is the CEO and co-founder of Gapsquare, an organisation aimed at providing analytics surrounding people and pay to work towards diversity, inclusion and equity in organisations.
She is also part of the Global Future Council on equity and social justice at the World Economic Forum.