Top 10 Women in Cloud to Watch

Sheryl Sandberg’s lean-in organization has been grabbing headlines and creating a renewed media frenzy in the long held debate of how best to promote women in tech.  Conversations around the  value of women on boards, and national initiatives like 2020 Women on Boards are taking center stage. One women in tech non-profit, CloudNOW, is actively contributing to the solution by approaching the problem with a fresh perspective: women in tech should work in partnership with the tech industry, and their male colleagues to promote equality and not separatism, and bring attention to women who are contributing– beyond the dog and pony show of trotting out Marissa Meyer, and a couple of other obvious choices.

CloudNOW isn’t just a feel-good, look at us organization. It is fundamentally focused on providing women a way to succeed. It’s not about focusing on women, but rather the contributions of women to technology. The organization can’t do that if it doesn’t actively interact and collaborate with the industry, otherwise such contributions would not just go unnoticed, but they would not enrich the industry in any way.

While other “women power” organizations actively applaud and award women for their leadership, these often tend to be handed to women who are already in the spotlight and often well-known. CloudNOW takes a different approach when it considers its annual Top Ten Women in Cloud awards, looking not only in the public eye but going behind the scenes to find the women who have contributed significantly to the industry through technology innovation, education, and leadership.

The good news on women in tech is that there actually are many well-respected, inspiring women currently in technical roles. The bad news is that they’re often not in the limelight because they aren’t necessarily in marketing or part of the organization that emphasizes outbound communications. They’re the ones making decisions, leading organizations, and setting strategy for government agencies, for their own startups, for technology giants, and in a hundred different vertical industries around the globe.

If you’re wondering who these women are and what kind of ideas and thoughts and industry-revolutionizing leadership they can bring to the board, consider the women named to CloudNOW’s  Top Ten Women in Cloud 2013 list:

Vanessa Alvarez, Director Product Marketing, Gridstore

Vanessa’s expertise in enterprise infrastructure technologies is long-standing. She is an acknowledged leader in cloud computing among her peers and is currently responsible for setting the company’s go-to-market strategy for Gridstore. Her blog is read and referenced by thousands of industry professionals.

Cara Beston, Partner, PwC, National Cloud Assurance Leader, and Partner

Cara currently serves as the national cloud assurance leader for PWC’s Risk Assurance practice which focuses on services for technology and cloud computing. She focuses on IT, and was influential in evangelizing the impact of cloud computing at PwC, driving hiring practices that included cloud expertise.

Margaret Dawson, VP Product Marketing & Cloud Evangelist, HP Cloud Services

Margaret’s more than 20 years of leadership extends across Fortune 500 companies and startups. With an initial focus on security, Margaret recognized early the importance of cloud computing and has been an influential member of the cloud community with respect to developing best practices for security in the cloud.

Lydia Leong, Vice President of Research, Gartner

Lydia is no stranger to IT organizations, having consulted for and guided their strategy for many years. She has been an influential partner with organizations, guiding them in their transition to cloud computing as well as providing insight and thought leadership to service providers, vendors and investors.

Rhonda MacLean, Founder, MacLean Risk Partners

Rhonda has more than 30 years of IT industry experience, including serving as CISO at two global banks. Her security expertise flowed naturally into the realm of cloud security and she founded MacLean Risk Partners LLC to provide strategic security and risk advisory services.

Lori MacVittie, Senior Technology Marketing Manager, F5 Networks

Lori has been named one of the top 50 bloggers on cloud computing as well as one of the top 10 powerful voices in security. Lori has been actively involved in educating and evangelizing cloud computing. Her blog is read by thousands of IT professionals, analysts and investors and she frequently speaks on cloud and SDN at industry wide conferences.

Michelle Munson, Co-Founder & President, Aspera

Michelle not only takes an active role in guiding her company’s direction, she is also the co-inventor of its core transport technology. She has been involved in cloud since its early days, and she inspires the entire industry with her ability to see a concept through from conception to delivery.

Becky Swain, Cloud Assurance Director, PwC Risk Assurance Practice

Becky is the lead director of PwC’s Cloud Assurance practice. Having been a founding member of the Cloud Security Alliance, Becky’s cloud and security insight have informed and guided the alliance and the industry with respect to security issues related to cloud computing. The “Star” program, a certification standard, has been adopted by organizations around the world.

Manjula Talreja, VP Global Cloud Business Development, Cisco

Manjula is another woman whose success and initiatives might otherwise remain behind the scenes. She helped launched the VCE (Virtual Computing Environment) coalition and is respected for both her technical expertise in cloud and her understanding of how the shift to cloud computing impacts business models.

Susan Wu, Founder, Persona Equity

Susan is most recently the founder of Persona Equity, a startup focused on representing the candidate in recruitment efforts. Her contributions to cloud computing started with product management at dotCloud where her technical and industry leadership propelled the company higher in the cloud sector.

About CloudNOW

CloudNOW is a non-profit consortium of the leading women in cloud computing, focused on using technology for the overall professional development of women from around the world by providing a forum for networking, knowledge sharing, mentoring, and economic growth.  CloudNOW offers members the opportunity to creatively approach the technological challenges of cloud today, working in partnership with the tech industry, and cloud thought leaders.  CloudNOW is sponsored by IBM, PwC, and member support. To join CloudNOW go to:

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