Ladies in Tech Who Inspire Me
December 11, 2013

One of my former colleagues at Clix Marketing sent me a super cool article in AdWeek about a recent ad campaign from Pantene Philippines done by the guys over at BBDO ad agency, and I love it.


I’ve worked in the digital agency space for several years and I have to say this business is still very MadMen and these perceptions are still alive and well. Having been on the receiving end of some of these perceptions, I completely agree with my girl Sheryl Sandburg when she calls out how poignant this ad campaign is in illustrating how men and women are received differently when their actions are identical.


Women in business are a growing voice, especially in tech, and in order to break through these barriers, we need strong role models. I thought I’d take a minute and introduce you to some of my favorite ladies in tech. These gals inspire and motivate me to be the best I can be, no apologies or excuses, to lean in!

First, I’ll start with the obvious…

Sheryl Sandberg – Chief Operating Officer at Facebook

Oh, Sheryl. *gush*

To say I have a girl crush (woman crush?) on Sheryl Sandberg is an understatement. I love this woman and everything she stands for. I love that even though many women would be way too afraid to speak out about this very topic she has wrapped her arms around it with a big warm hug, embracing both the positive and negative sentiment that comes with calling out society and demanding we do better. All the while admitting her own shortcomings and leading by example.

Marissa Mayer – Yahoo!, President & CEO

Marissa…what can I say about Marissa? This gal makes bold decisions and apologizes to no one. I think this is the best attribute a woman in her position can have. I’ve second guessed myself more than once, over analyzing things I’ve said and how I’ve said them and then kicked myself later for even worrying about it. Not Marissa.

Oh! And she’s a big ol’ nerd as evidenced by her quote in an interview in Vogue Magazine’s Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer: Hail To The Chief piece published earlier this year where she talks about her age in terms of numbers.

“I really like even numbers, and I like heavily divisible numbers. Twelve is my lucky number—I just love how divisible it is. I don’t like odd numbers, and I really don’t like primes. When I turned 37, I put on a strong face, but I was not looking forward to 37. But 37 turned out to be a pretty amazing year. Especially considering that 36 is divisible by twelve!”

Joanna Lord – CMO at BigDoor Media Inc.

Joanna Lord is so introspective. I highly recommend you give her personal blog a follow. She talks a lot about entrepreneurship, her journey through her career, and shares quite a bit of herself in the process.

Back in October, she posted a blog entitled Know Thy Work Self where she talks through our need to figure out where we fit and to make sure we’re doing just that. This article really resonated with the ‘super sensitive malcontent’ in me. I’m never satisfied with the status quo and I have an overwhelming need to always drive for better. To progress in some way. Which means I need to know me and how and why I am who I am and how I can benefit a business.

I have often described myself as unmanageable, and if you’ve worked with me or tried to manage me, you’re nodding your head violently in agreement. I can’t be managed, I have to be motivated to give 100% for the organization I work for. This often means barriers have to be removed and people/process need to get out of my way. Joanna seems to be similar in this regard and I just love reading her insightful posts.

Then, maybe the not so obvious…

Melissa Mackey – Search Supervisor at gyro

Melissa Mackey has a voice, that’s for sure. Her brain is slanted more toward PPC and I love her straight forward, just slightly snarky attitude, and her boldness to address topics that others may be too timid to broach. If you follow her blog, Beyond The Paid, you’ll see just what I mean. Definitely a read worth bookmarking and actually reading!

Merry Morud – Social Advertising Director at aimClear

There’s one word that comes to mind when I think of Merry, quirky. She’s got that aimClear flair, the kind of uniqueness that comes with brilliant minds like Einstein. She marches to the beat of her own drummer and we just have to sit back and watch as the brilliance emerges. If you get a chance to work with Merry on anything social, make sure and soak up every minute!

There are so many amazing women role models out there, these are just a few of my top picks. Please share the gals you follow in the comments, I’m constantly looking to learn from other ladies in tech!


About author

Heather Cooan

Heather is a marketing executive turned nutrition consultant and educator. Heather advocates for informed consent, bodily autonomy, and healthcare authorship. She speaks and writes on nutrition and lifestyle design interventions for health recovery. Heather successfully recovered her health from vulvar cancer, Hashimoto's, and lichen sclerosus. She reversed estrogen dominance, insulin resistance, arteriosclerosis, and fatty liver utilizing a food-as-medicine and integrated clinical treatment approach. Heather is a certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner and Nutrition Therapy Practitioner.

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