ABIE Awards honour women technologists and those who support women in tech. Through their achievements, contributions, and life stories, the ABIE Award winners demonstrate that each of us has the power to improve our world, individually and collectively, says AnitaB.org
The awards are presented at the annual Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) of AnitaB.org, and the 2017 award ceremony is being held during October 4 - October 6, 2017, in Orlando, Florida. It is our privilege to feature the extraordinary women living a life of great purpose. They are an inspiration.
Student of Vision ABIE Award
Mehul Smriti Raje
Mehul Smriti Raje is an Harvard University graduate student, having done her undergraduate studies from Manipal Institute of Technology, India.
The Student of Vision ABIE Award honors young women dedicated to creating a future where the people who imagine and build technology mirror the people and societies for which they build it. Winners of this award have a unique vision of how technology innovation can solve important problems, and how inspiring more women in technology enables meaningful innovation.
Technical Leadership ABIE Award
Diane Greene Diane Greene is a Co-Founder of VMWare, the company that created the market for virtualization. Diane founded the company and oversaw all aspects of it as CEO, from inception to almost a $2 billion revenue run-rate, 6,000 employees, operations in over 140 countries, and over 1 million customers (130,000 of which were enterprise customers).
In 2007, Diane Greene took the company public, which later sold to EMC. She left in 2008 and went on to create BeBob Technologies in 2012, which she sold to Google in 2015 for almost $400 million. She now leads Google’s cloud business, which is poised to surpass the rest of Google in revenue in short order.
Diane Greene currently serves on the Boards of Google, Intuit, and Khan Academy. She is a lifetime member of the MIT Corporation Board of Trustees, a Member of Stanford University’s School of Engineering Advisory Board, and a Member of UC Berkeley’s School of Engineering Advisory Board.
The Technical Leadership ABIE Award recognizes women technologists who demonstrate leadership through their contributions to technology and achievements in increasing the representation of women in tech.
ABIE Award for Leadership
Mercedes Soria is VP - Engineering at Knightscope, and leads the engineering team tasked with building the company’s core software product: the Knightscope security operations center. The technology stack involves artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision, and Cloud and web technologies. She is playing an important role to ensure gender diversity at Knightscope, where there is a 25% women to male ratio. This is awesome, especially in Silicon Valley, but she thinks it can be even better. She has two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree in Computer Science in addition to an Executive MBA.
In 2002, at Deloitte, Mercedes Soria worked with the most cutting edge technologies at that time, as a Senior Software Engineer, and was the only female in a team of 40 people. She was quickly promoted to Manager and then Channel Leader for the Ethics and Compliance channel. Her role involved leading engineering teams to work on applications that were used by over 150,000 people around the world, with an up time requirement of 99.999%. She then focused on large scale deployments of human resources, ethics, compliance, financial, and product development enterprise tools.
She was invited to join the Tech Women program from the U.S. State Department, which aims to teach, mentor, and educate women in STEM from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Only distinguished women are invited, and even less get approved to participate, yet Mercedes made it into the program. Her project with the Tunisian team won a cash prize during the evaluation period in 2016. She is a true mentor and advisor to women’s technology projects, not just here but around the world.
The Leadership ABIE Award recognizes a woman who has served in a significant leadership role in advancing technology, with a strong focus on increasing women’s representation and success in the field.
ABIE Award for Technology Entrepreneurship
Dr. Laura Mather
Dr. Laura Mather is an expert in cybersecurity, HR technology, nudge technology, and machine learning. She built her career creating innovative software solutions for the National Security Agency (NSA) and eBay.
After working at eBay, she turned down a job at Google to found her own cyber security company, Silver Tail Systems, which used real time behavioral analytics to map normal user behavior and identify anomalies in that behavior to prevent online fraud. She sold Silver Tail Systems to RSA/EMC in 2012, for hundreds of millions of dollars.
She was an Everwise mentor, helping guide high-potential proteges through their first business ventures and developing their leadership capabilities. Now, Dr. Laura Mather is focused on developing technology that will help advance women and people of color in Silicon Valley and other sectors where they are perennially underutilized and underrepresented. Her software, Talent Sonar, is the only hiring platform that addresses unconscious bias at every stage of the hiring process.
Dr. Laura Mather was honored as one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs, and a Top Global Thinker by Foreign Policy. She is a featured speaker at Techonomy, the NationalCenter for Women in Technology Summit, Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Generation Summit, and Ad Week, among others.
The ABIE Award for Technology Entrepreneurship recognizes a woman who is the builder of an innovative, ground-breaking, and game-changing technology venture startup (within a larger organization or not).
Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award
Dr. Aysegül Gündüz
Dr. Aysegül Gündüz was born in Ankara, Turkey in 1981 and was the overall winner in the European Council of International Schools Mathematics Olympics in 1997. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Middle East Technical University (Ankara, Turkey) in 2001.
Dr. Gündüz’s undergraduate advisor was a female professor, Dr. Aydan Erkmen, who convinced her to pursue graduate studies in the U.S., emphasizing the importance of female engineers with doctoral degrees. Aysegül attributes her success to having Dr. Erkmen as a role model and mentor at an early stage of her career.
She joined the Biomedical Engineering department at the University of Florida (UF) as an Assistant Professor in 2012. For her work, Aysegül received the National Science Foundation (NSF) Early CAREER Award in 2016, the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering Early Career Award in 2015, and the UF Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute NIH K12 Scholarship in 2015. She is the Academic Advisor for the UF IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.
Dr. Aysegül Gündüz has served in the Executive Board of UF Association of Academic Women (AAW) since 2013 and is President Elect for 2016-17. As part of her NSF CAREER proposal, she established the AAW Emerging STEM Scholar Award in 2016. This award aims to promote the career of a young woman in the final year of her doctoral studies. In 2016, she joined the University Minority Mentorship Program as a mentor, and is currently mentoring a female freshman engineer who is the first in her family to attend college.
The Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award recognizes a junior faculty member for high-quality research and significant positive impact on diversity.
A. Richard Newton Educator ABIE Award
Dr. Marie desJardins
Dr. Marie desJardins joined the faculty at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) in 2001, after spending 10 years as a research scientist at SRI International in Menlo Park, California. She is currently the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (College of Engineering and Information Technology) and a Professor of Computer Science at UMBC. She is also an ACM Distinguished Member and an AAAI Senior Member.
Dr. desJardins was named one of UMBC’s 10 “Professors Not to Miss” in 2011, and is regularly sought out to give invited talks to student groups. In 2010, she was invited to be a CRA-W/CDC Distinguished Lecturer. She was also one of the inaugural Hrabowski Innovation Fellows, and with that award, helped to create the ACTIVE Center, a new classroom that supports pedagogical approaches that increase student engagement and active problem solving.
At UMBC, Marie has been PI or co-PI on over $6,000,000 of external research funding, including a prestigious NSF CAREER Award, and has graduated 11 Ph.D. students and 25 M.S. students. She is particularly well known on campus and in her professional community for her commitment to student mentoring. She has been involved with the AAAI/SIGART Doctoral Consortium for the last 16 years and has worked with 90 undergraduate researchers and high school student interns. She was awarded the 2014 NCWIT Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award and the 2016 CRA Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award in recognition of her commitment to undergraduate research.
The A. Richard Newton Educator ABIE Award recognizes educators who develop innovative teaching practices and approaches that attract girls and women to computing, engineering, and math.
Social Impact ABIE Award
Dr. Sue Black
Dr. Sue Black is an award-winning computer scientist, radical thinker, and social entrepreneur. She is well known for founding the high profile campaign to save Bletchley Park, the site of World War II code breaking, capitalizing upon social media as a fitting continuation on Bletchley’s technological legacy.
Sue is a passionate advocate for women in tech, and has spent the last 20 years campaigning for more recognition and support for women in computing. This let her to found #techmums, a social enterprise which empowers mothers and their families through technology. Sue is also an academic with more than 20 years’ experience, over 40 publications, and a Ph.D. in software engineering. She is an honorary professor in the Department of Computer Science at University College London, an associate at DSRPTN (an all female technology and digital consultancy), and a mentor at the Google campus for mums.
In 2016, Dr. Sue Black made Maserati’s list of 100 Social Entrepreneurs Who Give Back, City AM’s list of Top 100 Entrepreneurs, and was named one to the top 50 women in tech in Europe. Dr. Black also sits on the Government’s new advisory board for improving digital services.
The Social Impact ABIE Award recognizes a woman whose work is making a positive impact on women, technology, and society.
Change Agent ABIE Award
Marie Claire Murekatete
Marie Claire Murekatete, is a Software Development Division Manager (Technical lead) at Rwanda Information Society Authority (RISA), formerly RDB-ICT. Prior to that position, she was a senior software engineer at Rwanda Development Board.
Marie Claire was a vice president of a masterminding cycle called GIRLS IN ICT Rwanda (an International Telecommunication Union “ITU” led initiative) in 2013. She worked within Rwanda’s ICT sector alongside a group of passionate ladies who instantly nominated her to serve as ICT’s vice president. She remains the vice president of ICT for the third consecutive year in a row.
In 2015, Marie Claire won the Technovation Challenge and became Rwanda’s Master Educator. She coordinates Technovation in 20 high schools in Rwanda by teaching young girls how they can build mobile application to resolve community challenges. In 2016, Marie Claire was nominated by SAP as Africa Code Week’s Rwanda ambassador. She helped 1,000 school girls and boys in Rwanda learn programming languages such as Scratch.
Marie Claire is a Techwomen and Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Fellow. She holds a master’s degree of Science in Information Technology from Carnegie Mellon University and bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and Information Technology from University of Rwanda College of Technology.
The Change Agent ABIE Award honors an outstanding international woman (non-U.S. resident with an emphasis on developing countries) who created or expanded opportunities for girls and women in technology.