5 Women IT Leaders to Watch in 2016

DECEMBER 15, 2015 • Blog Post • By Ritika Puri, HPE Matter Contributor


  • IT plays a crucial role in innovation, with CIOs and their teams spearheading initiatives that are essential to an organization’s growth
  • Here, we highlight five women IT leaders who are making a big impact in their markets

It's an understatement to say that the developer community is full of some brilliant minds. Technology is at the heart of so many successful businesses today, with global customers relying on strong engineering leadership. IT plays a crucial role in the innovation equation with CIOs and their teams spearheading initiatives that are essential to an organization’s growth.

At the same time, there's an underrepresentation of women in the sector. Study after study shows that stats related to women in tech are actually getting worse, which is why it’s important to highlight amazing role models in the sector. Here are five leaders to watch.

  • Prepare to be amazed by these 5 female IT leaders.

1. Sharon Mandell, CIO at Harmonic

Harmonic provides supply chain infrastructure for digital video producers and has earned a reputation as the leader in deploying video delivery infrastructure at a global scale. IT is a critical part of Harmonic’s business strategy and Sharon Mandell is playing a key role as CIO, leading the organization through the development and implementation of its large scale content management systems. Her work has contributed to the development of many industry “firsts,” including the world’s fully converged platform for broadcast and on the air delivery of HD media content.

2. Cindy Taylor, VP of information systems at Oxford Industries

Oxford Industries is a billion-dollar retail apparel company that serves as an umbrella for multiple brands including Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer, Lanier Clothes, Kenneth Cole and Dockers. As you may imagine, it's a company with many moving parts that include retaining quality-minded customers, harnessing creativity for stunning displays and constantly needing to unify IT processes for security and collaboration. For Taylor, these challenges represent ambitious growth goals for her organization—she’s leading efforts to improve efficiencies, consolidate operations and serve customers all over the world faster. You can read more about her story and experiences here.

3. Dawn Foster, PhD student and former director of community at Puppet Labs

Dawn Foster is serving a critical role in the IT world by focusing on online community building, open source strategy, community metrics, data analysis, content strategy, custom employee training sessions and more. A PhD student who has worked with open source communities for the past 14 years, she is passionate about network analysis and her dissertation examines contributions to the Linux kernel community. Prior to pursuing her PhD, Dawn was the director of community at IT automation leader Puppet Labs. Check out her personal blog for more information about her research here.

4. Mary Sobiechowski, VP of IT at the ASPCA

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is responsible for saving the lives of tens of thousands of animals each year. The biggest challenge that the organization faces? Reaching and responding to a stakeholder base that cannot communicate or advocate for themselves. To that end, the ASPCA has a dynamic IT presence. When responding to natural disasters or going undercover, team members can share information with each other in near real time. Behind the scenes of it all is IT mastermind Mary Sobiechowski who is the ASPCA’s VP of information technology and CIO.

5. Joanne Molesky, principal consultant at ThoughtWorks

ThoughtWorks is a strategy consulting firm for development teams. As an experienced strategist, Joanne Molesky is on a mission to help companies innovate in highly regulated, compliance-driven environments. With specialties in Lean Enterprise, continuous release cycles and IT service optimization, she helps IT teams find ways to reduce risks related to software delivery and use without compromising creativity, experimentation and learning. You can learn more about Molesky here.

Final thoughts

The IT sector needs more women and these five leaders are strong role models to follow. Pay attention to their work, conference appearances and guiding philosophies in the coming year, and prepare to be amazed.


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