The Top 5 Women Leading the Cloud

Posted by on Jul 19, 2013

For a long while, the tech world and especially cloud computing was considered a male-dominated industry. And while there’s still a long way to go, women have flocked to the cloud, rising through the ranks of some of the biggest companies, and driving innovation. To celebrate the most innovating and inspiring women in cloud computing, CloudNOW, the world’s leading network of women in the cloud, puts on the annual CloudNOW Top Women in Cloud Awards. These awards were started in 2012 and honor 10 of the year’s most notable women in the cloud industry. According to CloudNOW advisory board member Bernard Golden, “Cloud computing is going through an exciting and vibrant evolution and many of the leading participants are women. Fostering conversations and collaboration on cloud computing is critical and an organization that provides an opportunity for that discussion is an excellent addition to the ecosystem.”


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According to the U.S. Department of Labor projections, the cloud will help enable around 1.4 million IT and computing jobs by the year 2020. And many of these jobs are sure to be be filled by women. Director of global cloud solutions at VMware JJ DiGeronimo, “Cloud computing presents an opportunity for women who are not as heavily focused on the architectural design, and how bits and bytes move through the organization. We’ll still need women who are technical, but cloud provides the chance to also champion ideas and work cross-functionally to define how IT is delivered to business.” Along with offering women new positions and job opportunities, the cloud provides appealing solutions like mobility and work place flexibility. As CEO of Delphi Group Thomas Koulopoulos says, “Cloud provides greater flexibility into how we integrate people into the process. For instance, a stay-at-home mother can manage the cloud just as well as an in-house worker. Most businesses just want the greater skill set – technology and innovation — and that levels the playing field.”

While the future for the cloud is promising for women, there are still plenty of prominent power players that have risen to the tops of tech giants, security firms, and cloud providers. Take a look at our list of five of inspiring women from CloudNOW’s Top Women in Cloud Award winners. These women are still leading the cloud to new heights:

Lydia Leong, Vice President of Research at Gartner

Lydia Leong

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Lydia Leong has helped IT teams in a wide range of industries to make a smooth transition to cloud computing. Ms. Leong holds a degree in Computer Science Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and has experience in DevOps, product management, and systems architecture. Before landing at Gartner, Ms. Leong served as Director of Product Engineering and Operations at Digex/Intermedia Communications as well as Director of Server Engineering at Excite@Home.

Manjula Talreja, Vice President of Global Cloud Business Development at Cisco

Manjula Tareja

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As Cisco’s VP of Global Cloud Business Development, Manjula Talreja is currently one of the leading women in the cloud world. Business leaders around the world turn to her keen grasp of how the cloud impacts current business models. In her role at Cisco, Ms. Talreja helped launch the Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) coalition, a joint venture between Cisco and the EMC Corporation.

Vanessa Alvarez, Director of Product Marketing at Gridstore

Vanessa Alvarez

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In her daily role as Gridstore’s Director of Product Marketing, Vanessa Alvarez is responsible for developing marketing strategies and scalable pay-as-you-grow software-based data storage. Ms. Alvarez has been a part of CloudNOW since its origins and her widely read blog has helped all sorts of industry leaders navigate the murky cloud market.

Margaret Dawson, Vice President of Product Marketing for HP Cloud Services

Margaret Dawson

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After starting out her career as a security expert, Margaret Dawson’s journey eventually found her serving as VP of Product Marketing & Cloud Evangelist for HP Cloud Services. For over 20 years, Ms. Dawson has led innovations for Fortune 500s and tech startups like Hubspan. With a passion for all that the cloud can offer, Ms. Dawson has continued to advise IT leaders on better ways to utilize the cloud in their field.

Rhonda MacLean, Founder of MacLean Risk Partners

Rhonda MacLean

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As the Founder of MacLean Risk Partners, Rhonda MacLean has more than 30 years worth of experience in the technology industry. Her consulting firm helps enterprises, businesses, and governmental agencies navigate the world of cloud security. She continues to provide industries of all sorts with risk advisory and strategic security services.

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