The 10 Most Impactful Women in Technology

Page 1

ISSN 2582-127X

MAY 2021



Most Impactful

Women in Technology 2021

Feminist Internet: A Reality Check

Women are Essential to the Development of AI and Data Science





omen are often labeled as creators. Rightfully they are, but their creations are often

confined to the social constraints. Nearly 600 women had served in the American civil war

but they still fail to find a place in the pages of history.

When talking or releasing discourses on women empowerment, one should not oversee the embellishments brought in the tech industry ever since it has started welcoming women and acknowledging their efforts. Women leaders in the tech industry are often said to be able to nurture more diversity and creativity within the work environment. Women founders all across the world have made tremendous strides, taking their company to the unicorn status. While we should not undermine their success, we should recognize that the tech sector is overall not so easy for women entrepreneurs and businesswomen. Nonetheless, the new age women entrepreneurs are however setting out to change this flawed and exclusive notion of women's empowerment. The tech industry is widely known to be exclusive to women. It is largely considered to be a boys club, and increasingly an old man's club with more and more elderly CEOs of big giants taking over small start-ups throughout the industry. As of today, only 19% of the tech workforce across the world is constituted by women. This is further exaggerated by the nature of gross racism within the sector, as only 3% of the total workforce is Hispanic women and only 5% are Asian women. In terms of pay, about 60% of women in 2019 believed that there was a gender pay gap. One explanation given about this is that very few female STEM graduates tend to enter the tech industry, as they are more likely to go into academia or research. Further, the women who enter tech industry take up more junior roles. But it is probably worth inquiring that why women feel such a lack of enthusiasm? There are abundant pieces on how women are often exposed to unsafe, risky environments in the society they function within. Women working in high-tech companies who often contribute to revolutionizing the companies are not given enough credits or the honor they deserve. In the industry, this means sexual abuse, or perpetually lowering the glass ceiling. About 77% of the top executives within the industry are males. And this perceived gender imbalance is reflected across all scales and sizes of tech companies. In fact, even 97.3% of the funding going to start-ups goes to the ones led by men. Socially vulnerable groups like LGBTQ, or black, Hispanic or Asian women are much more vulnerable according to the respondents of a survey, which was conducted among female techies during the #MeToo Movement. Nevertheless, women entrepreneurs/technopreneurs are using technology to make their space in this men's world. They are starting women-specific travel apps, ridesharing platforms, or beauty and other products. They are recognizing the potential of women as a customer base in a better way, but also making the industry more sensitive to women.

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08 Nedra Barr Spyder, Inc

Executive of the Month

Cicely Peace-Edouard The Simple VUE

16 24 Caroline McCaffery ClearOPS

30 Cristina Dolan InsideChains

38 Louise West Adarga

46 Marina Tognetti mYngle

54 Sherry Vaswani Xalient



Feminist Internet:

Women are Essential

A Reality Check

to the Development of AI and Data Science

Nedra Barr Co-founder, and CEO




couple of years ago, we'd be having a completely different conversation about women in technology.

The situation was bleaker than now and women

were struggling to get their capabilities and desire to work in this field visible. At present, the number of women in technical roles across organizations has increased and we can only be hopeful that the journey for women in


Changing The Landscape of Insurance With Technology

technology is uphill. This is a result of a combination of things like awareness within the companies to release the potential in women, the shift in the global outlook online, factual research in favor of women. The world becomes a better place when every woman is able to realize her dreams, and while there are several notable women in technology to talk about, we're commencing this magazine issue with the spotlight on The 10 Most Impactful Women in Technology 2021 by talking to Nedra Barr, Cofounder and CEO of Spyder.


Data is gold. Combining advanced

cloud computing methods, AI and

big data, we can understand buying

behaviors that facilitate and

predicts the purchase of products

and services with the click of a

button. This “magic” only happens

with data.

Nedra Barr



Spyder is a new SaaS software

Spyder's e-commerce platform

company serving the insurance

provides the tools and services

industry. The company loops

every producer needs to manage

together licensed insurance and

their business digitally. Its full suite

financial services representatives

of digital solutions helps home

with home offices to connect and

offices streamline the management

provide products and services

of their field force.

throughout the entire supply chain.

Her Role at Spyder

Her Success Credits – Kindness and Comedy

Nedra Barr is the Co-Founder and

sought ways to help others succeed

CEO of the newly launched SaaS

and found the opportunity in 2000

Software company, Spyder, Inc. A

when she moved into

dynamic leader, she helps

Insuretech/Fintech. Nedra has led

companies visualize, strategize, and

teams and guided tech firms,

engage in new technology solutions

including SunGard Insurance

that improve their businesses.

Systems, Insurance Technologies,

Nedra is an accomplished speaker

Experian, and Docupace

and author who has contributed to

Technologies. Most recently, Nedra

many industry white papers

was the Chief Revenue Officer for

throughout her career. She was

Skience. She has been instrumental

awarded a “Top 50 Tech Visionary”

in solution designing and providing

as well as a “Top 50 Tech Leaders”

the vision for how technology can

award from Intercon.

meet companies' operational and

After starting her insurance career

regulatory needs. In addition to her

at the age of 16 in Fort Scott,

role at Spyder, she sits on various

Kansas, throughout her career, she

Advisory Boards.

“I realized many years ago that

ethic and love of solving problems to

people respond positively to

achieve strong results for

kindness and comedy, so I insert a

companies”, she continued.

little bit inin every conversation. You

“Because I started my work life so

never know what kind of day

young; I've had opportunities to

someone is having and sometimes a

seek out top-performing individuals

little kindness and comedy can help”,

to understand how they've had such

said Nedra in high spirits.

success in their lives. Very early in

She further added how she learned

my career I incorporated what I

long ago that a strong work ethic

learned from their experiences and

coupled with high achievement

modeled my behaviors to track to

would serve her well. “I also think

success, while ensuring I learned

women are problem solvers by

from my own bumps and bruises.”

nature and I've combined my work 11

A Journey with Stop Signs and Bumps

The biggest challenges she faced

already working in the insurance

early in her career were being

industry selling all types of

female (and a very short one at that)

insurance. This was a great

and that she doesn't have a four-

experience for me as I learned about

year college degree. She always had

all things insurance and business in

to physically look up at the men that

the early stage of in my career. “

she was working with and they were

To overcome these perceived

looking down at her. Nedra says that

challenges, her philosophy at that

psychologically, that's not a good

time was just to outwork everyone

place to start with someone looking

else. Outwork them physically, be

down at you. She knew she had to

mentally tougher than anyone else

find a way to get through that would

and execute on every little thing

allow others to see her as an equal

that she was taught to do.

not less than.

“I had great mentors when starting

She further talked about how her

out in insurance, Mr. William

education panned out her career as

Hammer and his son Jim Hammer.

we know it today. “I don't have a 4-

Both taught me to have a strong

year college degree; however, I

work ethic and that you build your

graduated from High school and Jr.

business brick by brick. Lay the

College within a few months of each

proper foundation so your business

other. I started going to the Jr.

will grow the right way. I translated

College the summer of my 9th-grade

that into the notion that every

year because it was something

customer and their experience is

interesting to do, but in the end that

important and reflects on you as a

was a smart decision as it turned out

person. Make those interactions

that by senior year, the 4-year

count”, she exclaimed.

college just wasn't in the cards. I was


Continuous Learning

“This is an exercise we have just

individuals working in the area

gone through with the evolution of

where we want to learn more to pick

Spyder and it's a continual process

their brains and learn from those

of learning”, explained Nedra

who actually do the jobs on a day-to-

regarding the innovation it takes to

day basis.”

satisfy the target audience. “We find

Embracing Disruptive Technologies

According to Nedra, the role of a

processes and products into one

leader has changed pretty

platform for producers and home

drastically over the last few years.

offices to leverage to help manage

CEOs and other leaders used to set

and grow their respective

the strategic direction, pace, tone,

businesses. We are using Cloud

and culture for the company and it

Computing and Big Data in our

was left up to the workers to

solutions in cutting-edge ways. The

execute those plans. Today, more C-

focus of software today needs to be

level executives are rolling up their

automation, integration,

sleeves and being more involved

digitization, and simplification”, she

with the day-to-day business.


“Spyder is automating many

The Future of Spyder

“I see a great future for Spyder. It is

life far more manageable than it is

purpose-built for


insurance/financial services

As evident from many industries,

representation and their home

automation can mean a reduction of

office relationships. It's not an

overall costs and time savings with

understatement to say there is

better communication outcomes.

nothing like it on the market. We will

This is what Spyder plans to

be automating and streamlining the

accomplish in insurance.

supply chain to make a producer's


Vital Attributes of a Transformational Leader, From One Leader to Another

As one of the lead women in

individuals in the right roles.”

technology, Nedra said,

She also stresses the fact that

“Transformational leaders pose a

leaders have a very important role

strength or confidence that can be

to make their employees feel

felt throughout the team. Every

welcome, valued, and heard.

team needs leadership, structure,

Leaders need to make sure that

and accountability that are felt by

people have a path for growth

every employee at the company. If

within their role or the company.

your people or employees don't

People tend to leave when they feel

know what the mission is….it will

underappreciated or underutilized.

likely fail. Leaders also need to know

It's poor business to invest in

how to build the right teams. It takes

recruiting talented employees only

a team to win and execute, so build

to have them sit on the shelf.

your teams with the right

Always be Ready


“Pay your dues. Learn all you can

considerate of your employees?

and make sure you're ready to step

What is your tone with your

into that role before you do. When

employees? How do your direct

you're ready….go for it! While you

reports perceive you and how you

can learn a company's products and

carry out your messages? Thinking

services fairly easily; having your

about these things before you take

management style defined will help

on a leadership position will help in

you align the two easily and faster.

the long run. Lastly, speak up and be

For instance, know who you are as a

heard. A silent leader isn't a leader”,

boss – are you kind, fair, and

she concluded.

Nedra Barr Spyder, Inc, Co-Founder and CEO Nedra Barr is the Co-Founder and CEO of the newly launched SaaS So ware company, Spyder, Inc. As dynamic leader, she helps companies visualize, strategize, and engage in new technology solu ons that improve their businesses. Nedra is an accomplished speaker and author who has contributed to many industry white papers throughout her career.

Louise West

Head of Customer Success, Adarga As Head of Customer Success within Adarga, Louise West feels honored to work with customers who face some of the greatest data challenges and enable them to transform the value they get from their data. She does this by ensuring that the voice of her customers are heard and understood throughout the customer lifecycle.

Cicely Peace-Edouard


Co-Founder and CEO, The Simple VUE Cicely Peace-Edouard is the CoFounder and CEO of The Simple VUE. She is a businesswoman with more than a decade of experience in the consumer products industry. At her role, Cicely is responsible for and supports all aspects of data, analy cs, applica on development, and IT infrastructure management solu ons and oversees all revenue-genera ng programs.

Most Impactful

Women in Technology 2021

Marina Tognetti

Sherry Vaswani

Tech Entrepreneur, Founder and CEO,


CEO and Co-Founder,

Sherry Vaswani is the Founder and CEO of Xalient, who leads through her exper se and talent to develop the best innova ve business solu ons. Before star ng Xalient, she did a lot of research and took advantage of the technology shi wherein companies started migra ng more applica ons to the cloud. Sherry successfully used SD-WAN technology to connect networks more easily, flexibly and securely than previously possible.

ClearOPS Caroline McCaffery is the CEO and Co-Founder of ClearOPS and is a recognized thought leader in the privacy world. She is frequently featured as a guest on podcasts and contributes to conferences and publica ons on topics such as privacy tech, data privacy, cybersecurity, law and women in leadership. Caroline is also an experienced execu ve and mentor.

mYngle Marina Togne is a Tech Entrepreneur, Founder, and CEO of A er gradua ng from University, Marina built a successful career by working at large mul na onals. Later, she realized the poten al of the internet to disrupt industries and how it changes the way people buy/sell/interact forever. That drive made her start an innova ve company- mYngle.

Caroline McCaffery

Founder and CEO,


Annie Tao

Neeti Mehta Shukla

Rana el Kaliouby


Vice President of Opera ons and Co-Founder,

Co-Founder, Senior Vice President Brand Strategy and Culture Architect


Horizon Robo cs

Automa on Anywhere

As the co-founder of and InsideChains, Cris na Dolan has been playing a big role in transforming healthcare, insurtech and fintech. She has also co-authored the book 'Transparency in ESG and the Sustainable Economy, Capturing Opportuni es through Data' to provide clarity to a space filled with acronyms and a wide variety of lenses.

Annie Tao is the Co-founder and Vice President of Opera ons at Horizon Robo cs. She has extensive experience in top-notch technology and internet companies globally with in-depth strategic thinking and analy c capabili es of the industry in both the United States and Canada. Before star ng her own company, Annie worked in Google and Baidu where she led a number of global projects.

Nee Mehta Shukla is a co-founder, senior vice president and culture architect at Automa on Anywhere. At her role, she is responsible for leading brand and culture strategies and ini a ves across the company. An avid strategist, Nee brings over 20 years of business management, marke ng and entrepreneurial experience from a wide variety of industries including technology, business consul ng and adver sing.

As the CEO & Co-Founder of Affec va, Rana el Kaliouby is a rarity in both the tech world and her na ve, Middle East. A pioneer in ar ficial emo onal intelligence, Rana led the innova on of the company’s award-winning technology, which uses deep learning and massive amounts of data to analyze complex and nuanced emo ons and cogni ve states from face and voice.



CEO & Co-Founder, Affec va

Cicely Peace-Edouard Co-founder and CEO

The Simple VUE


Executive of the Month

An Impactful Businesswoman In The Analytical World


icely Peace-Edouard is a businesswoman with more than a

decade of experience in the consumer products industry. A

dedicated professional with the insight, vision, and

enthusiasm necessary to drive revenue and results, her career comes with a solid history in developing innovative programs that have produced maximum growth and business success. For this edition of the 10 Most Impactful Women in Technology, we interviewed Cicely Peace-Edouard to get her insights into the present technological world and her company. The following is an excerpt of our interview with her.


Advancing technologies are transforming

business models in every industry and

unlocking massive opportunities. Today’s

competitive advantages are short-lived if

company leaders cannot adjust and quickly address these disruptive technology opportunities. Anticipating change can lead to important and courageous decisions to

stretch a company’s brand and capabilities.

Ignoring these disruptive changes can yield

an obsolete business model.

Cicely Peace-Edouard 18

About Her Company - The Simple VUE As a company, The Simple VUE helps public and private

management positions at Russell Athletic, Sara Lee Corporation, and Carter's Inc. With a reputation for

sector organizations exploit the power of data and

innovative design and optimization, Cicely's work has

technology for actionable insights. The company works

been instrumental in producing leading products that

with clients to build valuable and scalable solutions that

were critical to each company's overall financial

empower their organizations to use data to solve their

performance. She holds a Bachelor of Science in

most critical business problems. The Simple VUE delivers

Management and an Associate of Arts in Design both

Predictive Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Legacy to

from the State University of New York at F.I.T.

Cloud Migration, Applications Development, Data Management, and Security, and IT Infrastructure

Channeling the “You Can Do Anything” Attitude

Program Management Services, which makes them an ideal partner to take any organization to the next level.

Through Experience Like many women, Cicely didn't have many great female

The expert team of consultants, data analysts, data

role models in her career. Fortunately, she had a few

scientists, and engineers work together with clients to

women outside of work who influenced her in a big way.

identify opportunities, assess available data, define

Her mom and her grandmother were instrumental and

solutions, develop optimal analytic infrastructure, ingest

raised her to understand that she could accomplish

data, and visualize outputs while building capabilities to

anything she set her mind to. She also had some

sustain and expand it. With a bigger picture to empower

wonderful female professors who nurtured this sense

companies and organizations to drive business

that she could pursue her passions in life. Through all the

performance through the use of data, analytics, and

life lessons, she channeled the “you can do anything”

technology, Simple VUE helps clients:

mindset by being a leader who provides a springboard for others in their career. That is another reason why she



Empower data-driven decision-making: Deliver

started the Women's Data Collective, with a vision to

powerful solutions that transform data into decisions

foster a community where women can network, share

and ideas into action Reduce Time-to-Insight: Create solutions that

resources, and gain valuable insights through training classes, workshops, and education materials. “We know

intuitively display relevant analytics and reduce the

that when women are supported and given the right

time-to-insight Ÿ Make complex data simple: Focus on design, training, and support during implementation to ensure utility and adoption

tools, they can thrive”, said Cicely. Navigating Through Challenges When asked about the challenging initial phase of her journey, she said “Like many entrepreneurs, we faced

A Solid Career in Business Growth As the Co-Founder and CEO of The Simple VUE, Cicely is

employees to finding funds to grow the business have

responsible for and supports all aspects of data,

been the most challenging. We are constantly looking for

analytics, application development, and IT infrastructure

networks, connections, and mentors who can provide

management solutions and oversees all revenue-

the guidance needed through the various phases a

generating programs. She has an impactful career history

business goes through as it evolves. Because the industry

in developing innovative programs that have produced

is male-dominated, it can also be a challenge to find social

maximum business growth, increased market share, and

networks that uniquely understand the journey.” She

profits. Prior to starting The SimpleVUE, Cicely has held

further added that chairing the Atlanta chapter of

several obstacles. From finding customers, skilled


Women in Data provided some support, but the

innovation roadmap. Anticipating change can lead to

organization's shift in its mission pushed her to start a

important and courageous decisions to stretch a

new organization – Women's Data Collective.

company's brand and capabilities. Ignoring these disruptive changes can yield an obsolete business

Attributes Of a Transformational Leader Cicely believes the attributes that every transformational leader should have are: Ÿ

Entertain new ideas - A leader is receptive to new ideas and realizes growth only happens in an organization with a culture of openness to new ideas

from all levels. Ÿ Ability to take the right risks – A leader trusts their intuition and uses the intelligence gathered by team members to make informed decisions. Ÿ Ability to be Adaptable – A leader is constantly adapting to changing market conditions and seeks creative ways to respond to the dynamic business environment. Ÿ Internal motivation – A leader finds motivation from within and uses that as the driving force to effectively manage the direction of the company.

model”, answered Cicely. As a business leader, she believes it is crucial that her company exploits these technologies and constantly pushes her organization to think creatively on how it can improve the companies they serve and the industry as a whole. How Does The Future Look Like? The Simple VUE aims at expanding its expertise in many of the emerging technologies that complement the products and services – AI being at the top of the list. According to her, AI is touching everything from banking to healthcare and how we do business, giving industries incredible new tools to change the world. This 21stcentury breakthrough is fuelled by four innovations — the Internet of Things, AI, cloud, and data security, and The Simple VUE are making investments to meet the demand. “We are excited about the possibilities of empowering organizations to become more efficient,

Knowing What the Audience Wants Through

drive improvements, increase market share and have a

Innovation Ÿ Developing a team – looking for partners and

positive impact on their bottom line”, concluded Cicely.

employees that share our vision on innovation. Ÿ Staying agile – to be ahead of the curve by constantly

Her Shout-out to the Emerging Women Leaders “The first big piece of advice I would give emerging

exploring applications and solutions to today's most

women leaders would be – find a mentor. We know that

pressing problems. Ÿ Analyzing the Marketplace – by studying the

having the support of a mentor can boost confidence, expand capabilities, and open the door to new

marketplace and looking for new ways to implement

opportunities. I believe that any woman can rise to

emerging technologies to add value and efficiencies.

success, as long as she has access to the skills and tools. She needs to realize her full potential. Secondly, no

Exploiting Disruptive Technologies For Creativity “Advancing technologies are transforming business models in every industry and unlocking massive opportunities. Today's competitive advantages are short-lived if company leaders cannot adjust and quickly address these disruptive technology opportunities. These technologies are emerging at accelerated rates. Business leaders must be thoughtful about their


matter how difficult the road gets, never give up. Here are five key pieces of advice: 1. Have a clear set of values, goals to reach, and don't wait until you think it's perfect 2. Follow your dreams and believe in the positive changes you want to make 3. Remember the decisions you make impact others 4. Play to your strengths and not your weaknesses 5. Always be yourself

Caroline McCaffery CEO and Co-Founder



Providing Privacy And Security Operations To Enterprises of Different Industries


learOPS is a B2B SaaS privacy tech company

a corporate securities attorney for the prominent law

offering vendors questionnaires-as-a-service

firm, Gunderson Dettmer. She graduated from NYU Law

and vendor risk management tools. Vendor risk

and holds her bachelor degree from the University of

due diligence is a pain. The company is unique because it


focuses on solving the pains of vendors who are on the receiving end of risk due diligence. ClearOPS currently

Leading Through Difficult Times

offers two solutions: “Clear Answer Management”,

Caroline believes forcing herself to become a public

which automates response to privacy and security

speaker has been one of the most important keys to her

assessments, and “Service Provider Reports”, which

success. As an introvert, she was afraid of speaking in

generates weekly privacy and security operation reports

public, but whenever she has a weakness, Caroline

on vendors and its downstream service providers.

dedicates herself to overcoming it. Thus, she started taking all kinds of speaking opportunities. Caroline went

The Brain Behind ClearOPS

from being nervous on stage to now being able to stand

Caroline McCaffery is the CEO and Co-Founder of

up confidently and enjoy the experience. She feels

ClearOPS and is a recognized thought leader in the

finding success is oftentimes one's metric of success, not

privacy world. She is frequently featured as a guest on

how the world defines it.

podcasts and contributes to conferences and publications on topics such as privacy tech, data privacy,

Combating the Challenges and Barriers

cybersecurity, law and women in leadership. Caroline is

Caroline has gone through the same challenges most

also an experienced executive and mentor. In prior roles,

women have. One of her first challenges to overcome

Caroline has been the General Counsel for a tech

was the general expectation of success. As someone who

company, a VP of Business Affairs for an A.I. company and

wanted to have a career in business and also a family, she


The goal is that every person's own

personal right to privacy can be

exercised online, giving each person

control. That is what technologies

like artificial intelligence or the

blockchain should be doing.

Caroline McCaffery 26

changed the way she thought about traditional career

overall market is moving, then he/she can be considered

and family goals. “I asked myself, 'is a linear career that

as innovative.

results in seniority a success?' Keeping an open mind is what has helped me succeed in my chosen path,” says

Data is Driving Today's Innovation


ClearOPS uses deep learning and natural language processing. Caroline feels that these technologies are

Vital Attributes Every Transformational Leader Must

fabulous for making connections in data that would take


a lot of time. She thinks they surface important

According to Caroline, listening is a vital attribute that

connections within disorganized data enabling people to

any leader needs to have or practice to perfection.

make good decisions. Caroline believes the best leaders

Another one is a piece of advice that she received, i.e. a

are making substantive decisions powered by data.

good manager manages themselves, not others. Caroline thinks the two together form the keys to great

Towards the Future

leadership. Controlling one's reactions and being aware

ClearOPS is paving the way for the future where the

of how others are feeling and what they are thinking puts

personal right to privacy online can be respected.

a person in the position to inspire others to be their best

Caroline has talked to a lot of emerging privacy tech

and feel good about themselves.

startups who are building that future but the world can't get there without a process that breaks the current one,

Advancing Technology Revolution Through Strategic

which starts with getting companies organized. Hence,


getting companies organized is what ClearOPS is doing.

Caroline loves technology and she is also the type of person that likes to do research and become an expert.

Essential Advice to Rising Female Leaders

She thinks that is how one can innovate in products that

Caroline advices, “No one will claim you to be a leader

appeal to its audience. When a person spends a lot of

until you claim yourself as a leader. Only accept critical

time on his/her problems and is willing to get good at

feedback if it is fair.”

solutions, but also keep the perspective of how the


Feminist Internet: A Reality Check



n the world today, especially in the virtual world,

It is not an illogical demand. In the face of ever steeped

Internet has made a transition from a 'growing

patriarchy, it is an ethical issue. Feminists have long

network' to a near-omnipotent medium. It has made

argued that women are being compelled to remain

its presence through PCs, laptops, televisions and

beyond the orbit of the Net forcefully by the patriarchal

mobiles. Its manifold functions have made sure that

forces. It has also been seen that with the growing use of

beyond its original status as an ICT item it becomes an

the Internet by women in some developed western

everyday companion. But questions remain whether

s o c i e t i e s , t e c h n o l o g y i s p l ay i n g a key r o l e i n

behind its astonishing growth there lies strains of various

transformation of the patriarchal elements existing in

biases based on age, region, ethnicity, nationality, and not

those societies. Side by side, the various practices of male

the least, gender. Feminists, cyber-feminists in particular,

dominance are being challenged and the Net is

have long argued that the democratizing potential of

facilitating the struggle of women to bring it closer to

Internet has to be harnessed by not only removing its

women and make it acquire a 'feminine' character. To

gender bias but aggressively making it feminist. This is

reiterate, the trend still escapes the non-western world.

the sense of serving the specific interests of women by appropriating the radical potential of the Internet.

There is little doubt that a feminist Internet can contribute immensely, structurally and culturally, in

Let us remember that with the passing of more than two

providing a new gender scenario by breaking existing

decades of the twenty first century, the world seems to

blocks, which prevent access of women to the new

be highly divided in this case. While in the US, the number

technology. It will help the fight against the huge

of men and women having online presence is equal, and in

instances of pornography, sexual harassment and trolling

the Scandinavian countries it is as good, in the UK only

of women in the virtual world but will also result in a

one woman against two men use the Internet. In the non-

tough fight against all these in the real world itself. Wider

western developing states, it is far worse with steep

and appropriate use of technology by women would

gender bias marking the Net. As a whole the ICT scenario

certainly lead to a better world. But at the same time, the

in the world is grossly discriminatory against women

roadmap must include the following steps: first, the

because women users are much less in number than men.

greater use of the Internet by women should not imply women would only act as consumers and/or shoppers. It

If Internet would conform to the feminist argument, the

must give equal status to women as creative users of the

world would have been much better? It is a fact that

World Wide Web. Second, the whole endeavour in

women constitute half of the humankind and with their

feminizing the Internet should include men and not be a

history as 'laggards' in the use of the Internet, they

'women only' process. Some feminist Internet should not

remain deprived of much of the advantages that it offers.

be an excessively utopian vision marked by reverse

The advantages are not just technological. They are

gender bias. The Digital Divide can be challenged by

heavily economic and also social, cultural, and

firming up the Internet in the Feminist way but in such a

commercial. The ethical question is why women should

challenge men also have to be active. In other words, the

be deprived of its potential just because they are of the

feminist Internet is only as good as a feminist society in

other gender.

the inclusive sense of the term.


Cristina Dolan Co-Author, Transparency in ESG and the Sustainable Economy Founder & Co-Founder

InsideChains & Additum 30

Driving Digital Transformation through the Development and Incubation of Technology-driven Products


n almost every area, technological advancements

for modern society. This is why Cristina is hyper focused

are needed for innovation, development, and

on cyber security technologies; it is the most impactful

problem-solving. The corporate world has changed

component of ESG metrics especially for financial,

dramatically as a result of the innovation and widespread

digital, healthcare and infrastructure organizations.

acceptance of technologies, which has influenced the way the entire industry operates in today's modern

Kindly brief us about your Book.


The pandemic has proven how critical it is to build

In an exclusive interview with engineer and serial

sustainable organizations, and that requires

entrepreneur, Cristina Dolan shares her inspiration on

understanding all of the components that make up the

working with organizations to digitally transform

ESG to weave it into an organization's DNA. You can't

business models through advanced technology, data and

manage if you can't measure, which is why I was inspired

blockchain ecosystems with economic layers that offer

to co-author the book 'Transparency in ESG and the

members greater visibility, richer data, cybersecurity,

Sustainable Economy, Capturing Opportunities through

new business models and dynamic new products. As the

Data' to provide clarity to a space filled with acronyms

co-founder of and InsideChains, she has

and a wide variety of lenses. The growing interest by

been playing a role in transforming healthcare, insurtech

investors, executives, entrepreneurs and students has

and fintech.

made this book very timely, and we are excited that the

Digital Transformation has created greater cyber

publisher will be launching the book in the coming

security risk, which is the biggest and most immediate


financial risk organizations and communities face today. It is complex, and not well understood, yet as the world

There are many different lenses and approaches to

depends on connected technologies to improve our way

defining and measuring sustainability and ESG. For

of life globally. It has become the most important sector

some people, the focus is primarily on the environment, 31

Fueled by intelligent networks, our

connected world is sharing massive

amounts of data, which can improve our society in many ways. Every industry

including healthcare, agriculture, transportation, retail, media, finance, law and entertainment are all

transforming through the use of

technology, connectivity, computational

and data science.

Cristina Dolan 32

yet many other critical components affect the

Throughout my career, I have been fortunate enough to

sustainability and survival of organizations. With the

have leadership roles with the opportunity to lead digital

world's dependence on connected technologies and

transformations by building out the next generation of

data, cybersecurity has become an even bigger threat.

disruptive platforms. I started my career at IBM when

The social components can affect direct and indirect

networked computing created distributed business

stakeholders and can devastate entire ecosystems,

opportunities. At Hearst and Disney, I built the first

which was evident during the financial crisis in 2008.

generation consumer media and streaming content

Cybersecurity has the potential of being an even

platforms in lead technology roles. Later at Oracle, I

greater risk for the most critical infrastructure and

focused on taking eCommerce to market, enabling

services that communities depend on than the financial

secure shopping and transactions which powered

crisis or the pandemic have been. Understanding how

companies like eBay and Amazon. As a co-founder of

to build and grow sustainable organizations extends

Internet Service Provider, OneMain, built out the first

beyond large public companies, and this knowledge

personalized geographic content, which didn't require

needs to be integrated into all organizations to support

the unauthorized collection of personal data. The

all the stakeholders and their respective dependant

company was acquired by Earthlink after growing it to be

ecosystems. Sustainability is strongly tied to the

one of the ten largest ISPs and completing a highly

technology and data that are powering our economies.

successful IPO. Recruited by the board of a venturebacked spinout from Harvard and MIT, I took on the role

Give a brief overview of your background and your role

of CEO, commercialising the computational linguistics

in the company.

and machine learning start-up. Later, I joined the fintech

Over the past five years, I have been focusing on

transformation by joining a leading institutional trading

cybersecurity, cyber risk, data governance and access

platform, TradingScreen, leading product management

control. Cybersecurity is one of the most immediate

for data and content. I got involved very early in

material financial risks that companies are facing today.

blockchain and crypto innovation and went on to co-

While the headlines are filled with data breaches and

found several companies in the insurtech space. In

ongoing hacking, it doesn't seem to be included in the

addition, I am a co-founder of, a European

ESG and sustainability discussions in the same way as

healthtech company focused on value-based medicine,

climate risk. There is no greater immediate financially

which utilizes IoT and blockchain to capture the value

material risk facingorganizations, governments or

created throughout patient journeys.

society today. Cybersecurity represents the greatest

Cybersecurity has been an area that I am passionate

threat to the sustainability of organizations and all the

about because it is so closely tied to sustainability. In

stakeholders, including their respective communities.

addition to being a founder of an early blockchain cyber

As an engineering, computer scientist and entrepreneur,

insurtech, I was a board advisor to an Israeli cyber risk

I have been building products and organizations at the

assessment company that was acquired by

leading edge of data-rich and connected technologies.

MasterCard. Additional advisory roles include

Over the last decade, I have focused on transformational

Crayonic, an award-winning passwordless access

technologies like blockchain and data science in fintech,

solution, and WiseKey, a global cybersecurity company

insurtech, health tech and media. Technology has been a

deploying large scale digital identity ecosystems for

driver of every industrial revolution and has been the key

people and objects using Blockchain, AI and IoT.

to maintaining sustainability and competitiveness as

Currently, I am focused on building alliances at RSA

market needs evolve. 33

NetWitness, which is one of the most exciting

2015 Stevie Awards – four awards including

companies in the cyber security. Sustainability requires

Gold: Dream it. Code it. Win it. – Organization of the Year

the ability to protect organizations from cyber threats,

for Government or non-profit

which is the biggest more immediate material financial

Silver: Cristina Dolan (Founder and Organizer) – Female

risk we face today. It affects every stakeholder in so

Innovator of the Year for Government or non-profit

many different ways. This is a space that requires just a

Silver: Cristina Dolan (Founder and Organizer) – Female

much attention as climate change.

Executive of the Year for Government or non-profit Silver: Dream it. Code it. Win it. – Startup of the Year for

What were the past experiences, achievements or

Consumer Services Industries

lessons that shaped your journey as a successful

2014 - Traders Magazine Charitable Works Award

women leader?One of the most enjoyable experiences

These are presented to women who devote considerable

came from my volunteer work with the MIT community.

resources and energy to philanthropic causes that

As an alumnus that has gained so much from my

benefit society as a whole.

education at MIT, I have always felt it is important to give back.

Kindly mention some of the primal challenges that you

In 2013, several members of the MIT Corporation,

faced during the initial phase of your journey.

which is effectively the MIT board of trustees, talked

Science fiction inspired my desire to be an engineer.

me into launching a global student competition, Dream

When you watch movies like Star Trek or Lost in Space,

it. Code it. Win it. (, to

the women who knew how to solve problems and

encourage students to engage in engineering. The

understood technology were all heroes. They wore cool

competition rewarded students with over $250,000 in

outfits and were engaged in the community. I

prizes for solving interesting problems using

consideredthem as my role models. I believed the

technology and code. Being an engineer, I didn't realize

future would be transformed with technology and I

that problem-solving skills were not traditionally

wanted to be a part of it.

taught in schools. Before launching Dream it. Code it.

As a student at an elite private girl's high school, my

Win it, I didn't appreciate the gift of being a problem

college advisor felt I would be better off pursuing law or

solver, which is a critical skill for an entrepreneur at the

something more traditional. Luckily I was too stubborn

leading edge of industry transformations.

to listen. I remember my mother told me that lawyers

Dream it. Code it. Win it. has received numerous

are involved in everything and have so many

awards including the Traders Magazine Charitable

opportunities and the flexibility to do whatever they

Works Award and four Stevie Awards for the best

want. Funny enough, that was what I thought of

innovator, executive, start-up and non-profit

electrical engineers and computer scientists. I was

organization. Additional honors include the MIT with

fortunate not to have doubted my vision for the future.

an MIT Harold E. Lobdell Distinguished Service Award. The related TED Talk, Just Solve It, which encourages

Describe some of the vital attributes that every

people to learn to solve problems and pursue

transformational leader should possess.

engineering studies, has over 900k views.

Transformational leadership at the edge of industrial revolutions has no guidebooks or blueprints, so you

2016 MIT Harold E. Lobdell Distinguished Service

need to be comfortable building the roadmaps and


communicating the vision to engage your community.


You also have to be a lifelong self-learner and problem solver, because you won't find the answers without doing the work. As a mentor to many very bright students and young executives, I always recommend they learn about the journeys of executives or leaders they admire. There are so many history lessons that offer ideas and guidance. How do you innovate your products/solutions that appeal to your target audience? Connecting with people and communities is critical because that is how you learn. I am fortunate to have been educated at MIT where I started building a strong network of critical thinkers that are engaged in transforming so many aspects of the world we live in. Living in New York and travelling extensively to speak at events has provided insights into how industries and society is transforming societies globally. I have built a global professional network that has been critical to my success throughout my career. How are disruptive technologies like Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning/Deep Learning/ Automation/Cloud Computing/Big Data impacting today's innovation and how has the role of a leader has changed over the years? We live in a connected world that is transforming faster than ever. Every industrial revolution has been fuelled through technological innovation. Fueled by intelligent networks, our connected world is sharing massive amounts of data, which can improve our society in many ways. Every industry including

How do you see the ESG (the topic of the book) in the future ahead? ESG has become one of the most important criteria for attracting employees, consumer engagement and investment. Today, there are many different methodologies, data sets, lenses,frameworks and reporting standards. Space is filled with many different acronyms, and few people understand the space holistically, especially concerning what it takes to build resilient and sustainable organizations. MBA programs are graduating students that are focusing on ESG and corporate boards are starting to develop ESG KPIs for management at all levels of organizations. The space is still young, and yet it is more critical than ever. The sustainability of organizations and communities requires an understanding of ESG and how to define, measure and integrate it into the fabric of society. The future of ESG is just beginning. I am thrilled to be working in cybersecurity, which is one of the most critical pillars of sustainability. What is your advice for budding or emerging women leaders? Ÿ

create opportunities for a better world.

healthcare, agriculture, transportation, retail, media, finance, law and entertainment are all transforming


Of course this makes cyber security more critical than ever as we grow more dependent than ever on connected computing and intelligent networks.

Be a self-learner and push yourself beyond your comfort zone.

through the use of technology, connectivity, computational and data science.

Gain the skills to lead sustainable transformation and


Be a problem-solver. If you can solve customer problems you will have a successful company, if you can solve an employer's problems you will have a job. More importantly, if you can solve your own problems you will have fruitful and happier life.


Louise West Head of Customer Success



Empowering customers to make faster, better and more accurate decisions with cutting-edge AI


darga provides a powerful AI Knowledge

terminology. Users can explore, visualize and share

Platform that helps its customers in defence,

insights and intelligence via Adarga's intuitive UI, Adarga

intelligence, government and beyond to


harness the power of the vast, untapped and growing

The company's focus on surfacing the hidden value of

information resources at their disposal at a speed and

data stems from real-life need with Adarga's CEO and

scale beyond human capability. Adarga collates, reads,

Founder Robert Bassett Cross having served in the

understands and analyzes huge, disparate data sets in a

British Army and experienced first-hand the challenges

secure platform at high speed to help customers

in analyzing vast amounts of data, a very human-

discover the deep and critical insights that drive faster

intensive job when it comes to text, in a short time to

and better decisions, in turn allowing them to gain a

make mission-critical decisions. Louise West, Head of

significant information advantage.

Customer Success says, “I have worked with many


Adarga's Knowledge Platform is uniquely positioned to

Government departments, all of whom need to rapidly

read, understand and interpret huge amounts of

understand the huge volumes and varieties of data they

complex data, including human-generated data like text

face on a daily basis to make evidence based decisions.”

and video, from within an organization or from external platforms, thanks to its best-in-class natural language

Walking With the Customers

processing techniques. This is a form of AI focused on

As Head of Customer Success within Adarga, Louise

understanding and interpreting human language. This

West feels honored to work with customers who face

allows Adarga to transform raw data and information

some of the greatest data challenges and enable them to

into knowledge. From here, the platform builds an ever-

transform the value they get from their data. She does

growing, advanced knowledge graph, powered by

this by ensuring the voice of her customers are heard and

cutting-edge AI, which surfaces hidden, meaningful

understood throughout the customer lifecycle.

insights and discovers evidence-based connections in

Louise has vast public sector experience having worked

context with algorithms that understand sector specific

with Government departments including the Ministry of


Organisations must move quickly to

harness the power of their data to

gain an information advantage. AI will be crucial in reducing cognitive

burden on humans and enhancing

critical decision-making as it never

gets tired or overwhelmed by


Louise West 40

Defence, Home Office, Ministry of Justice, Police, Local

her career journey. From an early stage, she learned to

Authorities, and Health. The roles Louise has held have

follow a career based on her interests so that the natural

given her a real understanding of operational

passion for the work is never lost.

considerations, mission-critical delivery, the importance of data, and the experience of many traditional

Drawing Inspiration from Around Her

challenges in transforming data into intelligence.

Louise believes that she has been privileged enough to

Stepping out of your comfort zone

work with great transformational leaders and her

Taking risks can be daunting, yet Louise believes that this

experiences of working with them have influenced her

is necessary to accelerate capabilities. She says, “I've

working practices. She is further inspired by the thought

frequently been given the opportunity to step outside of

provoking conversations she has with her customers and

my comfort zone, to test and overcome self-imposed


barriers. In stepping outside of my comfort zone, it is fair

A key principle Louise holds is to surround herself with

to say that I did not always get it right!” It was in these

clever people and provide an environment where people

scenarios that Louise made sure she gave attention to

are inspired to go the extra mile and are able to make

the guidance and used these experiences as a method to

mistakes. Louise reiterates that this is how people can

rapidly grow and improve.

learn and become more effective at their roles.

Louise believes that it is important to retain a positive

According to Louise, work should be fun and all

attitude and mental resilience when faced with

transformational leaders need to create an inspirational

challenging situations. These attributes are further

workplace where people desire to work and engage with

enhanced by identifying the type of leader you want to be

one another.

and the underlying values. Louise believes that everyone is different and by knowing her own values, she was able

Vast Industry Expertise and Continuous Listening

to adapt to different situations.

Louise suggests that listening to customers, advisors, and internal experts drives product innovation. While

Embracing the Challenges

being deeply embedded and trusted in the industry,

From the start of her career, Louise has embraced

Adarga possesses the first-hand experience of the

challenges; she was given the tremendous opportunity

challenges their customers are facing in harnessing the

to build a company-wide network at all levels of seniority.

power of the data. The company understands how its AI

From this point, Louise has sought roles that give her

platform can be applied to tackle different paint points

flexibility in how she goes about achieving the desired

and use-cases. By taking a customer-centric approach,

results .

Adarga understands how to meet their needs and

Understanding how to engage with a wide range of

accelerate the delivery of any transformation program.

people was another challenge Louise met. It was in the

The company's world-leading scientific advisory group

initial phase of her career that Louise started adopting

and deep links with academia worldwide ensure they are

methods and tools that helped her to think about what

at the bleeding edge of innovation. Adarga's high-fidelity

the other person may want to get from the meeting and

AI models are uniquely trained and positioned to

the key messages she needed to deliver.

understand and analyze complex Defence and National

Both in terms of skillsets and market sectors, Louise has

Security data to help its customers gain an information

hehad the opportunity to experience different shades in



Accelerating Digital Transformation

intensive analysis of this information, leading to

The advent of the Information Age has already catalyzed

increased interested in AI as a means to do that.

AI's ascension into a realm previously reserved

There have been many reports on the consequences of

exclusively for humans. Louise mentions that we are at a

making decisions without the right evidence and yet

pivotal point of AI being adopted into organizations in

traditional approaches impose natural limits on the

order to generate insights across the ever-increasing

capacity of individuals and teams. Against this landscape,

volumes and variety of data pouring in.

Adarga is in a fortunate position. The company has

According to Louise, cloud computing has played a vital

harnessed the potential of the Cloud since 2016 and has

role in transforming the pace at which AI and machine

been working closely with its customers to expand its AI-

learning products are developed and has offered

driven platform. With the ever-increasing interest and

customers the flexibility to process varieties of data

adoption of AI across the globe, Louise expresses her


excitement to work with Adarga's expanding customer

As a leader in an AI organization, Louise operates as an

base to help customers harness the full potential of data.

advisor and encourages her customers to get involved in the agile development of products. Leaders within the

Befriend the Risks, Love What You Do

company's customer base are overcoming traditional

Louise confidently says, “Take risks. Be bold. Step outside

speeds and approaches to digital transformation in order

of your comfort zone. This is how we all learn and grow, as

to move rapidly from concept to delivery, says Louise.

scary as it may seem at the time.” Louise concludes by asking people to identify their values, work for a

The Future Looks Bright

company they respect, and find a job they love, and says it

Louise highlights that the unprecedented growth in data

will enable everybody to find excitement in the work and

is impacting everyone and her customers frequently

a passion to make a difference.

raise that they are looking at alternatives to the labor-


Women are Essential to the Development of

AI and Data Science



he world of technology offers both women and men a wide variety of opportunities. Despite their superior qualifications, women are significantly underrepresented in AI and Data Science today. Instead of rising to managerial and C-suite positions, they are more likely to quit their employment. Women in AI AI is one of the fields in which women can excel, particularly if the right incentives are put in place to encourage female participation. They are a necessary force that businesses must incorporate in order to advance their AI development. In particular, a strong focus on the female workforce in an AI environment will help overcome some of the more serious issues that businesses face when it comes to ML technology, such as selection bias. As a result, for companies to reach the highest levels of AI development, women must be mobilized on a large scale and included in all AI-related business endeavors, from analysis to product release. Women in Data Science Women are more mindful of the pitfalls of big data, which is a bonus. They have a natural knack for making the right decisions and reacting to all of the data's responses, and they thrive at teamwork, team management, and problem-solving. Gender diversity can attract new customers, allowing businesses to tap into previously untapped markets. Since the concept of a data science team is fresh, businesses must recruit leaders who can collaborate horizontally and learn about new insights. Shutting down the technology gap between men and women, on the other hand, should not be limited to achieving a certain women-to-men ratio within the industry. Although recruitment is still a problem, the emphasis should be on inspiring and recognizing women in the industry, as well as educating women and girls interested in or joining the profession that expertise are not gender-based. How can More Women be Involved in AI and Data Science?

More female involvement in STEM, AI, and data science fields is urgently needed around the world. Female entrepreneurs, research scientists, and business leaders are critical to the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) and related innovations that improve our lives. Motivating Women with STEM Background Due to a shortage of qualified workers in the industry, more positions are being generated than recruiters can fill as companies seek to develop data science teams. Organizations should inspire more women with a STEM history to fill this talent gap. Women are substantially underrepresented in the field of data science, and as a result, companies are losing out on important skill sets. Customers are thought to favour businesses that are dynamic enough and hire more women in technology. One of the most effective ways to empower women with STEM backgrounds is to introduce STEM to them at a young age. Female role models in the data science sector should be more visible for the young audience, so they have someone to look up to. In addition, creating programs and conversations about female empowerment in educational institutions is critical. Industries Should Recruit a Diverse Range of Candidates Industries that employ data scientists can approach women's colleges as well as the schools they typically recruit. They should also pay special attention to schools with a large number of female tech students to demonstrate that they are valued in the industry. Workplace Culture that Is Exclusive Men still outnumber women in the fields of data science and artificial intelligence. As a result, there could be a male-dominated atmosphere at work, with fewer women applying for employment. Companies can make these fields more appealing to women by placing their female workers at front and center on the company side of the issue. Women should be empowered to pursue these positions, and the workplace should be a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere.


Marina Tognetti Founder and CEO



Changing the Traditional World of Education by Delivering Truly Customer-Oriented Solutions


Yngle offers customized language

working in different countries, and got an MBA from

training programs through video


conferencing in 45 different

It was when working as a consultant on a project on

languages anytime, anywhere. Its lessons are one-on-

internet strategy that Marina first saw the potential of

one, with highly qualified native coaches and related to

the internet to disrupt industries and change forever

the learner's job position. The company's virtual

the way people buy/sell/interact. She had to be part of

classrooms enable learners to take classes 24/7.

that! That was the driver to start an innovative

mYngle is the solution for busy professionals who need

company - mYngle.

language training to be successful in their international business and for companies that want great learning

Continuous Learning from Real-Life Experiences and

results along with a transparent and controllable


learning process to make their investment a success.

Marina likes challenges in everything she does. Entrepreneurship, especially in tech, allows one to

An Inspiring Tech Leader

look far ahead, innovate, change traditional business

Marina Tognetti is a Tech Entrepreneur, Founder, and

models and disrupt industries. Starting an innovative

CEO of Her passion for entrepreneurship

company meant that there was no set path she could

came later on in her career. When she graduated from

follow. Marina had to learn and adapt along the way.

University, it was an era when entrepreneurship was

This was true when the company started, but it is also

not very common for academics. Marina, therefore,

true today, as it develops in an industry that is in

first built a successful career by working in large


multinationals, namely Procter & Gamble, Philips, Sara

The biggest challenge was when the company had to

Lee, The Boston Consulting Group and eBay; living and

drastically change, 'pivoting' from the initial business


The goal is that every person's own

personal right to privacy can be

exercised online, giving each person

control. That is what technologies

like artificial intelligence or the

blockchain should be doing.

Marina Tognetti 48

model to a completely different one, which is the


mYngle today. mYngle was launched as a marketplace,

She adds “Continuous improvement comes from

something Marina knew very well from her previous

constantly listening to users' feedback and improving

eBay experience. “We thought we got it all: funding,

accordingly, as well as using new technologies to our

lots of Awards and PR, a very motivated team. But

advantage. Data analysis and machine learning help us

something in the business model was not functioning

triage new products better, it helps us understand clients

as we expected. We listened to our customers and they

and try to anticipate possible issues better. It also helps

gave us the new direction, from an open marketplace

the sales department with forecasting, funnels analysis,

to a quality global online school, from B2C to B2B,” says

and staff coaching.”

Marina. She believes that the key to success was accepting that

Overcoming the Challenges

change was needed and not being afraid to question

Marina believes building a business from scratch is

assumptions, and truly listening to its customers.

always challenging and building a tech start-up disrupting an industry as traditional as that of

Advanced Solutions to Attract the Target Audience

education, is exponentially more challenging

According to Marina, education was (and in large part

(especially more than 10 years ago, when the

still is) operating in the old traditional way, offering

company started). There are all sorts of resistances -

learners what is available, not what they need. But

those of a still immature market- that one has to

“One size does not fit all.” In a “Flat World”, business

bypass. From the stereotypes consumers have in

leaders are learning that the customer is central and

their minds to the (conservative) opinions of people

there is no place for traditional supply driven

around. Now online language education is setting the


standards in terms of quality and flexibility, and

Innovation needs to add real value, everything should

mYngle has been a part of that.

start and end with the customer. Constant focus on

For these reasons, the company has also won

customers and their needs is one of mYngle main pillars

numerous awards as recognition for its contribution

and that allows the company to differentiate from the

to online education. In the beginning (2008):

many new players moving online that still have to prove

Accenture Innovation Award, European Ventures

their value. mYngle nurtures an obsession for customer

Summit Award, Benelux Venture Summit Award, and

satisfaction and this is also one of its key strengths. The

more later onwards. Marina also received numerous

company looks for continuous improvement in its

awards as the Founder and CEO of Myngle, such as 50

service by constantly listening to users' feedback and

Most Inspiring Women Tech Leaders in Europe, 50

improving accordingly, as well as leveraging new

Most Inspiring Women in the Dutch Technology

technologies at its advantage.

Sector, Iconic Women Creating a Better World for All and many others.

Leveraging Disruptive Technologies Marina believes technology should be seen as an

Vital Attributes a Leader should Possess

opportunity as it opens directions that only a few

Marina suggests that in this era of challenging

decades ago seemed unattainable. It allows new

technologic evolution and, more recently, COVID

businesses that can disrupt entire industries. 'CHANGE

challenging the status quo, transformational leaders

is GOOD' as it forces improvements and continuous

must redefine their role and draw on different sets of


skills to be able to face the challenges ahead. If they

significantly more convenience in terms of flexibility-

step out of their comfort zone, they can fall. One needs

with lessons 24/7 and flexible scheduling - as well as the

to trust its own capability to be able to stand up again.

possibility of benefitting the skills of teachers that are

When one has that trust, one can be an innovative

not located in geographical proximity. These benefits go


beyond the short-term limitations of the lockdown,

According to her, this means having a strong vision, to

modernizing the world of education.

set the direction and anticipate and navigate

That is where mYngle can make an impact, being

challenges, but at the same time being flexible, not be

ahead in this digital transformation by constantly

afraid of taking (calculated) risks, in order to anticipate

innovating and pursuing the best possible quality

trends and steer the company in turbulent waters,

and results, educating the market on the difference

building an organization that is agile to respond to this

between improvised solutions and years of

fast-paced environment.

expertise. Online learning will be an intrinsic part of the new normal with mYngle a part of it.

The Future Ahead Marina feels that the adoption of online solutions will

Radiating Key Advice to Emerging Women Leaders

continue post-pandemic and online learning will

On advising to budding leaders, Marina says,

accelerate over the next months or years. After years

“The most important advice I can give to an aspiring

of encouraging eLearning and virtual classroom

entrepreneur is to stop comparing. The stories you

approaches, the pandemic has helped move the needle

read about the few that ''got it all'' are rare exceptions

on technology acceptance for learners and L&D

and often not the full truth. Let that go. Let go of trying

professionals alike.

to imitate types of leadership you see around but

Customers are now discovering all the advantages of

which are not you and be really true to yourself. Don't

virtual education compared to the traditional one in a

look around for answers, look inside.”

physical classroom. It offers the same results, but 50

Sherry Vaswani Founder & CEO



'Never Stop Learning and Challenging', Says Sherry Vaswani, the Leader Wearing a Cape of Confidence and Transforming Businesses


alient is an award-winning network

1994, shortly after graduating. It was a business in the

transformation company providing consulting

telecoms sector, and it grew successfully until it was

and managed services to large enterprises.

acquired by a global telco some 17 years later. Sherry

Established in 2015, it is an independent specialist in SD-

admits learning so much during that journey and hence,

WAN, cloud security and cloud-driven communication

wanting to do it all again with a new company and new

technologies. The business has grown rapidly to become

idea was inevitable.

a multi-million-dollar global company, trusted by many of

Sherry founded Xalient after a lot of research, to take

the world's leading brands including Kellogg's, Keurig Dr

advantage of a technology shift wherein companies

Pepper, Avis and WPP.

started migrating more applications to the cloud. Sherry

With offices in the UK, US and Romania, the company

states that the SD-WAN technology was new and

delivers services to almost 100 countries globally today.

offered a new way, using the cloud, to connect networks

Having received several international business awards

more easily, flexibly and securely than previously

and accreditations in 2020, Xalient feels honoured to be

possible, at a fraction of the cost. Networks were largely

listed sixth in Dun & Bradstreet's 2021 Fastest-Growing

unchanged in design and delivery over 15 years, and

Tech Companies report. Sherry Vaswani, Founder and

Sherry was aware that businesses desperately wanted

CEO, leads Xalient through her expertise and talent for

viable alternatives to the traditional players and had a

developing the best innovative business solutions.

clear vision.

Dreams Coming True

Sherry says, “I wanted to create a company that would

Sherry Vaswani started her first business venture back in

offer that alternative model, specializing in new cloud


Harnessing the power of AI is a game-

changer for Xalient in how we manage

global networks and their security.

Powerful, predictive analytics and new,

self-healing capabilities mark a new

era of cloud networking, keeping our

customers connected, secure and fit for the future

Sherry Vaswani 56

technologies, where building and managing networks

footprint. Convincing such giant companies that a UK-

are fast, reliable, high performing and above all, future-

based start-up could be trusted to manage their global

proof and resilient.”

network sounds already a complicated task. Sherry took

Sherry's idea was to compete head-to-head with global

on this challenge by perseverance, focus and passion.

players but with an alternative proposition defined by

Here, the power of one's network becomes evident, as

Xalient's deep specialism, responsiveness, flexibility and

Sherry gained support from people who trusted her and

customer focus. Sherry's happiness and pride are evident

her work from experience. Thus, with a well-tested

as she reflects on how the idea worked out and just a few

proposition, and a first-class team, Sherry had the core

years on, she is the CEO of a successful global business,

makings of a successful business. Sherry highlights

with multi-million revenues and a portfolio of prestigious

Xalient's first major global client, Kellogg's back in 2016,

global brands, with customers that welcomed the

and proudly says that they remain one of their major

different, disruptive approach and want the company to

clients today.

be successful. Stairway to Success A Strong Heart and Focus is What a Business Demands

According to Sherry, the key to transformational

The initial lesson that Sherry learned was to have an

leadership is having a clear view of the start point, end

unwavering focus on her end game -believing that it is

goal and a roadmap to get there, which should be simple

easy to get distracted from the main goal and thus one

and easy to understand. Armed with that, she believes

should learn how to say no and to delegate.

that the next vital step is to communicate your vision

As Sherry mentions, building a business is a high-

very clearly, and often, to everyone, showing the part

pressure job, and not for the faint-hearted since there

they will play and the value that achieving success will

are tremendous highs and just as many lows, particularly

deliver. Sherry reiterates that getting buy-in from your

in the initial phase. Sherry has consistently tried to

team and ensuring they will be there at every step of the

savour these by celebrating the wins, learning from the

way is critical to success. Hence, being a strong

mistakes, constantly being prepared to challenge the

communicator, a team builder, team player and a

status quo, and finding new innovative ways to do things.

s t r a t e g i c t h i n k e r, a r e a l l c r i t i c a l s k i l l s f o r

Sherry asks people to not wait until they need to

transformational leaders in Sherry Vaswani's words.

innovate or change and make it intrinsic in the business. As the world is moving fast, no business can afford to

Xalient: Innovation and Collaboration as the Core

stand still for long, especially in technology. As a leader,


Sherry would always keep this in mind.

Like most tech companies, innovation is absolutely core to Xalient's long-term success. Sherry elaborates the

Do You Have Your People?

process as continuous and collaborative, managed

One of the significant challenges for Sherry was getting

through an Innovation Board, with the partners and

the right people around her, who shared similar vision,

customers, and engaging with industry experts such as

values and ambition. Another was to persuade a

Gartner and IDC as valuable sounding boards to ensure

customer to buy the services and gain those critical early

that it directs investments in the best possible way. As

references. Sherry reveals that, for Xalient, it was even

well as this, Xalient engages with academic institutions,

more difficult as its target market comprised entirely

for example, it currently has a multi-year partnership

large enterprises, specifically those with a multinational

with the University of Bradford in the UK where they


combine their teams of data scientists to exploit the

market, spurred on by so many companies increasing

potential of AI/ML in network management. Sherry is

their investment in transformation, especially in

sure that this collaboration with all stakeholders has

networks and cyber security, as a response to the

been the key to Xalient's successful service innovation.

pandemic. Sherry says this will increase the competition

Last year, Xalient developed a “first of type solution”, Iris,

and hence, Xalient's challenge is to stay ahead of the

that adapts SD-WAN technology for high-speed trains.

curve, maintaining an edge through flawless delivery and

The company also launched a breakthrough AI-driven

constant innovation. For instance, Sherry considers

network monitoring solution, Martina, that predicts

progressing the company's investments in AI and more

network behaviour, spots anomalies and applies fixes

generally in new solutions and services as a method to

before they are visible to, or adversely impact, a business.

stay in a competitive edge. Sherry confidently states that

Sherry says that the company has focused too on

Xalient's customers are its best references and the

commercial innovation, offering delivery models that

company's task is to make sure it stays that way so the

use Opex rather than Capex, something proving

company can continue to grow at an above-average

attractive to many companies in the post-pandemic

market rate. Sherry is excited about her company and its


growth ambitions and the dynamic industry in which Xalient operates - and reassured that she has a brilliant

Say Yes to Disruptive Techs and Automation

team and set of clients with whom those ambitions can be

Sherry reveals that the cloud has driven the business at


Xalient as old data centre and office-based network models have been eroded, IoT growth has exploded, and

Authenticity is the Key

remote working is here to stay. Enterprises are now

Sherry asks budding leaders to always be authentic,

accelerating their digital transformations to meet the

irrespective of gender. However, for women, she feels it

demands of the post-Covid world, with a definite focus

is important to understand that being clear and

on automation, harnessing the power of AI and machine

disciplined in business does not mean trying to be macho

learning. As Sherry puts it, leaders must invest time to

and aggressive. Sherry believes that women do not need

understand all new disruptive technologies and then

to be pushy or loud to succeed. Intuition, nurturing and

encourage their teams to constantly ask how it could

emotional intelligence are assets that differentiate

benefit the business or a customer's business. Never stop

leaders, according to her and thus adding rational

learning and challenging, repeats Sherry.

analysis to this mix will enable a powerful winning formula. Lastly, she urges young leaders to be aware of

Staying Ahead of the Curve

their strengths and weaknesses, and balance this with

Xalient is operating in a high-growth sector of the

the team they build.