Vote: Who should be the 2023 Most Influential Woman in UK Tech?

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The 12th Computer Weekly list of the Most Influential Women in UK Tech is now open for voting, giving readers and opportunity to express who they feel should be given the top spot.

Each year, the list of 50 women acts to make role models in the technology sector more visible and accessible in the hope that doing so will encourage more women and underrepresented groups to consider a role in the industry, and eventually lead to a more diverse and inclusive technology sector.

This year’s top 50 list has been whittled down from more than 650 nominated women by a panel of expert judges.

The winner of this year’s Most Influential Woman in UK Tech accolade will be announced at an event in London on 11 October 2023, planned in partnership with recruitment specialist Nash Squared, and sponsored by NatWest Group.

Hall of Fame

Alongside the top 50, each year the judges choose several women for the Computer Weekly Women in Tech Hall of Fame to recognise their lifetime achievements and ongoing contributions to the technology sector. This year’s additions have just been announced, bringing the number of women in the Hall of Fame to a total of 50:

  • Flavilla Fongang, managing director, 3 Colours Rule; founder, TLA  Black Women in Tech;
  • Clare Sutcliffe, co-founder, Code Club; community strategy consultant;
  • Janet Coyle, managing director business growth, London & Partners;
  • Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder, CognitionX; executive director, Innovate Cambridge;
  • Wendy Tan White, vice-president, X, Alphabet’s Moonshot Factory; board trustee, Alan Turing Institute; member, Digital Economy Council.

Vote now

Computer Weekly readers can now vote for who they feel is the most influential woman in UK technology in 2023.

Click on your choice below and then on the “submit” button (or the arrow button on mobile) at the end of the list and your vote will be registered. Note that the list appears in a randomised order.

Voting closes at midnight on 7 September 2023.

Editor’s note: The final list of the most influential women in UK tech will be chosen by combining the decision of the judging panel with the votes of our readers. The combined reader vote will carry the same weight as that of one judge, and will provide the UK IT professional input into the order of the list. The editor’s decision on the list will be final.

The shortlisted 50 (in alphabetical order) are as follows – click on each name to visit her Twitter profile (where available):

Abadesi Osunsade, founder and CEO, Hustle Crew

In 2016, Osunsade founded Hustle Crew, a platform offering career development resources for groups who are under-represented in the technology sector, and she is currently CEO.

Summer of 2020 saw her start a new role as the VP of global community and belonging at consumer insight firm Brandwatch, where she spent two years focused on developing and sticking to inclusion practices for the firm.

Part time, Osunsade is a scout for venture capital (VC) firm Ada Ventures and until last year was an advisory board member for startup founder community Your Startup, Your Story.

Over the past few years, she has appeared on several notable lists, including the Financial Times Top 100 Influential Leaders in Tech, Tech Nation Top 50 Influential Voices in Tech and the Dots 100 Trailblazers.

Adelina Chalmers, founder and CTO, The Geek Whisperer

Chalmers founded The Geek Whisperer in 2015 to advise IT decision-makers on how to better communicate with non-technical members of businesses to drive better outcomes.

She is also the co-host of the Scaling, Failing & Prevailing Podcast, and has won several awards for her skills in public speaking.

Allison Kirkby, incoming CEO, BT; current CEO, Telia

With a long history of CEO positions, Kirkby has experience in running companies with a background in telecoms, and at the time of writing is soon to be the CEO of BT.

Her past CEOships have included TDC group, Tele2 and currently Telia, and she is also a non-executive director of Brookfield asset management.

Amanda Brock, CEO, Open UK

Amanda Brock’s role at Open UK sees her leading the sustainable and ethical development of open technologies in the UK, including technology such as open source software, hardware and data.

She also sits on the boards of both the Cabinet Office Open Standards Board, and US cyber security firm Mimoto, as well as acting as a judge for the CIO 100 Awards.

Anna Brailsford, CEO, Code First Girls

An entrepreneur and co-founder, Brailsford joined Code First Girls as CEO in 2019 where she works to encourage more women into the tech sector by providing software development skills and education.

She is also a board member for the Institute of Coding, where she is focused specifically on diversity and inclusion, and is a self-employed commercial and strategy consultant.

Prior to her work at Code First Girls, she co-founded and was CEO of performance management firm Frisbee, which was part of venture capital fund Founders Factory.

Anne Keast-Butler, director, GCHQ

The first female to head up GCHQ, Keast-Butler moved into the role this year after serving as deputy director general of MI5.

With a long career in security and defence, part of her previous roles have included overseeing the upkeep of functions that support MI5’s operational activities, and the launch of the UK’s National Cyber Security Programme.

Annika Small, co-founder, CAST (Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology)

Alongside her role as co-founder of CAST, Small holds several non-executive directorships in firms such as Wey Education, The John Ellerman Foundation, and Here (Care Unbound) all focused on making the world a better place.

Passionate about tackling social injustices, Small is also a regular volunteer, and was awarded an OBE in 2018 for services to social innovation and digital technology.

Anushka Sharma, founder, Naaut; co-founder, London Space Network

It’s not uncommon to see Anushka Sharma on the news, discussing technology, artificial intelligence and space.

Her firm Naut is designed to help provide innovation strategy to technology-based organisations with the mindset of the future being “multi-planetary”.

She also founded the London Space Network with the view of building a more connected “space community” in the UK.

Arfah Farooq, scout, Ada Ventures; founder, Muslamic Makers; community manager, Big Society Capital

An expert in diversity, inclusion and community building, Farooq co-founded Muslamic Makers in 2016 as a networking group for Muslims in tech, design and development.

As well as a freelance diversity and inclusion consultant, Farooq is a scout for Ada Ventures with special interest in edtech, healthtech and fintech and a community manager for Big Society Capital.

She has an extensive background in digital and artificial intelligence in both the private and public sector.

Beckie Taylor, CEO, co-founder, TechReturners

Taylor co-founded TechReturners, where she is currently CEO, to give skilled individuals who have has a career break the opportunity to connect with firms and help them back into mid-to-senior level tech roles.

She is also co-founder and CEO of The Confidence Community, which aims to provide resources, training information and events to give people more career confidence. Taylor is co-founder of community WIT North, and co-founder of ReframeWIT.

Bev White, CEO, Nash Squared

As CEO of Nash Squared, White heads up the global firm which provides IT recruitment, technology solutions and leaderships services out of 36 offices across the world.

White has a long background in the tech sector, having previously held roles as CIO and director of IT, as well as completing a degree in computer science.

Bina Mehta, chair, KPMG UK

In her 30 years at KPMG, Mehta has had many responsibilities, including building the firm’s focus on trade and investment, and helping scaleup clients to access financial support.

She is now chair of the organisation, and this year was awarded an MBE for services to UK trade and investment and supporting female entrepreneurs.

Bindi Karia, venture partner, Molten Ventures

Karia has spent much of her career in and around the startup ecosystem, most recently as a venture partner for venture capital firm Molten Ventures.

For five years, she led BizSpark in the UK (now known as Microsoft Ventures), concentrating on early-stage technology businesses, as well as being responsible for working alongside venture capitalists and angels on behalf of Microsoft.

She sits on many industry advisory boards, including CognitionX, Humanity, Bootstrap Europe SCsp, The Work Crowd and Wrisk.

Charlene Hunter, CEO and founder, Coding Black Females

Hunter founded Coding Black Females in 2017 to help black female software developers meet each other and network. Alongside her work at Coding Black Females, Hunter is a software developer.

She is an advisory board industry representative in University of Essex Online’s computing department, is technical director at SAM Software Solutions, and technical director at full-stack and front-end training organisation Black Codher Bootcamp.

Previously, Hunter was lead software engineer at Made Tech, and held roles such as senior software developer, lead Java developer, app developer and technical consultant at various firms.

She was named a Computer Weekly Women in UK Tech Rising Star in 2020.

Christine Ashton, non-executive director, RBS International

Christine Ashton is non-executive director at RBS, a role she took on in 2020, joining SUSE as its CIO shortly after for a year and a half stint.

She has held several CIO and CDIO roles, including at firms such as BG Group, SAP, Thompson Reuters and Transport for London.

From 2001 to 2008, Ashton held senior IT positions at BP. She is a fellow of the BCS, has appeared in the Computer Weekly UKtech50 list several times, and has won several awards for her work in technology.

Claire Thorne, co-CEO, Tech She Can

Thorne is co-CEO of Tech She Can, a charity aimed at increasing the number of women in the technology sector, as well as a venture partner at Deep Science Ventures and diversity and inclusion advisory board member for the Institute of Coding.

She has a background in the education sector, previously holding roles as director of innovation strategy for the University of Surrey, and executive officer to the vice-president (innovation) at Imperial College London.

Clare Barclay, CEO, Microsoft UK

Barclay has been with Microsoft for more than 10 years, holding several roles including director of SMB, general manager of small and mid-market solutions and partners, and COO.

She is now CEO of Microsoft in the UK, responsible for the firm’s product and service offerings in the region.

She volunteers as a board member of the British Heart Foundation, and a non-executive director at CBI.

Deborah Okenla, founder and CEO, Your Startup, Your Story (YSYS)

Named a Computer Weekly Rising Star in 2020, Okenla is founder and CEO of Your Startup, Your Story (YSYS), a community for startup founders aimed at making the startup ecosystem more diverse.

She is an advisory panel member for IT services firm AND Digital, and an advisory board member for not-for-profit Coders of Colour.

Okenla is also an advisory board member for The No.10 Innovation Fellowship Programme, is part of the Atomico Angel Programme 2021 and a is on the Telecoms Supply Chain Diversification Advisory Board for DCMS’s Digital Economy Council.

Prior to her current role, Okenla led engagement and groups for Google for Startups and was previously membership manager at co-working space Huckletree.

Elizabeth Varley, dealmaker – Global Entrepreneur Programme, Department for Business and Trade

Currently a dealmaker for the Department of Business and Trade’s Global Entrepreneur Programme, Varley supports and mentors the programme’s tech founders and scaleups.

She is a serial founder, having founded tech entrepreneur community TechHub, editorial agency Online Content UK and acted as a founding steering committee member of the DigitalEve women in technology organisation in the UK.

Varley sits on many boards, and is an adviser for lawtech firm Legal Geek.

Emma Wright, director, Institute of AI; director, Interparliamentary Forum on Emerging Technology; Partner, Harbottle and Lewis

With a background in law surrounding telecoms, the internet and media, Wright now uses her expertise as director of not-for-profit The Institute of AI, as well as non-executive director of Playfinder and partner at Harbottle & Lewis, heading up the tech, data and digital group.

She has worked in the tech sector for over 20 years. Her team at Harbottle & Lewis is comprised of 66% female and 66% ethnic minority members.

Over the past year, she has been working with the OECD, WEF and the ITU and is building a reputation in relation to regulation of AI. She is also working with the Ditchley Foundation, considering whether the collaborative approach in relation to telecoms can work for AI regulation.

Gill Whitehead, group director, online safety, Ofcom

Whitehead is currently leading Ofcom’s input into the UK’s new Online Safety Bill using her background in customer insight, data and digital.

With a long history in working in entertainment and media, including roles at Channel 4 and BBC, Whitehead is currently chair of the Rugby World Cup 2025, and non executive director and audit committee chair for the British Olympic Association.

Hayaatun Sillem, CEO, Royal Academy of Engineering

Sillem worked for the Royal Academy of Engineering for 12 years before being appointed its CEO in 2018.

Previous roles at the Academy include deputy CEO and director of strategy, director of programmes and fellowship, and head of international activities.

As well as her work for the Academy, Sillem is a trustee of EngineeringUK and the Foundation For Science and Technology, chair of the Business Innovation Forum for the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, and CEO of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.

Helen Kelisky, managing director UKI, Google Cloud

With experience in cloud at companies such as Salesforce and IBM, Helen Kelisky started her role at Google last year well equipped with the skills needed to run its cloud division.

Alongside this Kelisky is on the board of directors for Calnex Solutions, and is a member of the board of directors for the Women in Telecoms and Technology networking group.

Janine Hirt, CEO, Innovate Finance

Hirt joined Innovate Finance in 2015 as the industry body’s head of community, before eventually becoming its CEO six years later. She now heads up the organisation, aiming to drive innovation and transformation in the fintech sector to make it more inclusive.

She has worked around the world in a variety of roles, including acting head of corporate relations for Chatham House in the UK, head of membership for the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce in New York, and head new hire trainer for an English language training programme in Japan.

Karen Emelu, CEO and founder, Black Girls in Tech

Karen Emelu founded, and heads up, community Black Girls in Tech in 2020 to help support the black women already in the sector, and to encourage others to join the technology industry.

Her background is in UX/UI and product/visual design, having held these roles in companies such as Prenetics, Lick, Accenture and Trust it Entertainment.

She is a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion, and is a frequent public speaker on the subject.

Katie Gallagher, managing director, Manchester Digital

Katie Gallagher heads up Manchester Digital, and is co-founder of the Cyber Resilience Centre for Greater Manchester, both of which support businesses in the Manchester area.

Alongside this she is chair of the UK Tech Cluster Group which regularly discusses the technology issues affecting particular areas in the UK.

Katrina Novakovic, open source culture lead, Citi

An expert in open source, agile, DevOps and cloud, Novakovic is working to make sure open/inner source development is a standard working practice within Citi.

She is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in the technology sector, and has had a long career in technology including roles at Red Hat, The Fintech Open Source Foundation and BAE System Applied Intelligence.

Kerensa Jennings, director, data platforms, BT Group

Jennings began a new role at BT in 2022 heading up the group’s data platforms, helping to create new business models using data and AI. At BT, she has led the BT Skills for Tomorrow programme, which helps people across the UK use digital to their advantage. The programme has helped 10 million people learn digital skills and confidence with technology. 

She was previously the director at the Royal Household, and chief executive responsible for strategy and delivery of iDEA CIC, the inspiring digital enterprise award, and before that spent 15 years with the BBC in a variety of roles, including programme editor for BBC Breakfast with Frost and executive editor for BBC News.

She spent two and a half years as programme executive for the BBC Academy, helping develop a leadership programme for senior creative leaders throughout the BBC. Jennings has also held roles at major broadcast organisations ITN and Sky.

Lindy Cameron, CEO, National Cyber Security Centre

As part of her role at the National Cyber Security Centre, Cameron helps the UK to plan for, and respond to, risks and opportunities posed by emerging technologies.

She has a long history of roles in the public sector, including at organisations such as the Department for International Development, the Northern Ireland Office, the Cabinet Office, and the Government’s Stabalisation Unit.

Liz Williams, CEO, FutureDotNow; chair, GoodThingsFoundation

Williams is CEO of inclusion campaign FutureDotNow which aims to ensure people are not left behind by the growing skills gap caused by digital adoption.

She is a member of the UK government’s Digital Skills Council, is a member of the board of trustees for Transport for London and is chair of the Good Things Foundation.

Prior to her current work, she spent more than 20 years at BT in a number of different roles, including programme director for sustainable business, director of tech literacy and education programmes, and director of digital society.

Mary McKenna, co-founder, AwakenHub

Mary McKenna is a huge supporter of entrepreneurship and startups, holding several roles as an adviser and investor.

Her social enterprise AwakenHub, where she is co-founder, is focused on building a community of female founders in Ireland.

As well as expert adviser for the European Commission, she is an entrepreneurship expert with the Entrepreneurship Centre at the University of Oxford’s Said Business School, and a board member for CAST, amongst many other board memberships and non-executive directorships.

Melanie Dawes, chief executive, Ofcom

Dawes has headed up Ofcom since 2020 following her previous role as permanent secretary at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, as well as many other roles across the Civil Service.

She has previously been a trustee at Patchwork Foundation, which aims to encourage underrepresented young people to participate in democracy, and a non-executive director of consumer group Which?.

Melissa Di Donato, non-executive director, Department for Science, Innovation and Technology

Donato stepped back from her role at SUSE in 2023, and is now focused on her foundation Inner Wings, which she founded in 2020 with the aim of giving young girls more confidence and work towards worldwide gender equality.

She was appointed non-executive director at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology in April 2023.

Prior to her current roles, she was chief revenue officer, then COO, digital core for SAP, and was previously at Salesforce.com as area vice-president of Wave Analytics Cloud.

Before her six years at Salesforce, Di Donato was the area vice-president of ISV and channel programmes for EMEA and Asia Pacific (APAC), during which she chaired a European ISV Advisory Innovation Board.

Di Donato is a board member and adviser to various technology companies in the UK and in Silicon Valley. She is a philanthropist, focusing on STEM initiatives and mentoring women in business.

Michelle Donelan, secretary of state for Science, Innovation, & Technology, Department for Science, Innovation & Technology

In February of 2023 Donelan took on the role of secretary of state for Science, Innovation and Technology responsible for areas such as the Online Safety Bill, economic and national security, and the department’s overall research and development budget, amongst other things.

Prior to this role, she was secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for five months.

Her background is in marketing, having held marketing roles in firms including Sky and WWE.

Musidora Jorgensen, chief sustainability officer, Microsoft UK

With firms such as HP, BT, Oracle and Salesforce on her CV, Musidora Jorgensen has a background in technology holding many different roles throughout her career including regional account manager of BT Government, sales director of human capital management at Oracle, and area VP – head of UK energy and utilities at Salesforce.

In her current role at Microsoft UK, Jorgensen is a member of the UK’s senior leadership team, responsible for heading up the firm’s sustainability strategy.

In her spare time she volunteers as a mentor to final year STEM students at the University of Greenwich.

Naomi Timperley, co-founder, Tech North Advocates; innovation director, Oxford Innovation

Timperley is a freelance consultant and co-founder of Tech North Advocates, a private sector-led collection of tech experts who champion the technology sector in the north of England.

In 2021, she co-founded advisory firm Growth Strategy Innovation, which helps to grow startup and scaleup organisations, and is now innovation director for Oxford Innovation which helps organisations develop ecosystems for entrepreneurs and innovators, in turn boosting local areas.

Named a Computer Weekly Women in Tech Rising Star in 2017, is also a board trustee of charity Digital Advantage and, until 2021, was a board member of FutureEverything. In the past, she co-founded Enterprise Lab.

Natalie Black, HM trade commissioner for Asia Pacific

As the first HM trade commissioner for Asia Pacific, it’s Black’s responsibility to help British companies to thrive in the Asia Pacific region, and she is responsible for the UK’s trade strategy across countries in this region.

Her background is in cyber security, having been director of the office of cyber security and information assurance at the Cabinet Office, and chief of staff to the director of security and resilience for the London 2012 Olympic Games.              

Nicola Martin, head of quality engineering, Adarga; BCS Women committee member and BCS Pride vice chair

Currently the head of quality at Adarga, Martin has a history of working as a test consultant at firms such as Barclays, Sony, the UK Home Office, Shazam and Sky.

She is currently chair for the BCS Special Interest Group in Software Testing, and until January 2023 was the vice-chair of the BCS LGBTQIA+ tech specialist group.

Paulette Watson, founder and managing director, Academy Achievers

Paulette Watson is passionate about encouraging more women into the technology sector, specifically into the WEB3 community.

She founded, and is managing director of, Academy Achievers, a not-for-profit organisation focused on encouraging young people to consider a career in STEM, mainly through accessible events aimed at particular age groups.

This year she became the co-founder/AI business adviser for Crunch Base in Nigeria.

Priya Lakhani, founder and CEO, Century Tech

Lakhani founded Century Tech as a teaching and learning platform focused on subjects such as AI, cognitive neuroscience, big data analytics and blockchain, where she is also CEO.

A frequent speaker, she is a member of the UK’s AI Council, and has previously been a board member for the Foundation for Education Development, a board member for uboxed2022, and a non-executive director for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

She was awarded an OBE in 2014.

Reshma Sohoni, founding partner, Seedcamp

Sohoni co-founded Seedcamp in 2007, an early-stage venture capital firm which has invested in more than 200 companies since its inception, where she is a partner.

A regular in the startup and venture capital space, she is also an adviser with Credo Ventures in the Czech Republic, a fellow of the Kauffman Fellows Program, and a senior adviser with Anthemis Group SA.

Ronda Zelezny-Green, co-founder and director, Panoply Digital; CAN programme director, Data,org

Zelezny-Green is passionate about using technology and data to educate people, as well as building communities and networks to increase the diversity and inclusion in the technology sector.

She has many roles at many different companies and organisations, including director of Panoply Digital, an organisation she co-founded which is focused on providing advisory services and education to overcome development challenges.

She is also the programme director for the Capacity Accelerator Network for DataDotOrg, helping the organisation with its goal to train a million data professionals by 2032.

Rose Luckin, professor of learner centred design, UCL; founder/CEO, EDUCATE Ventures Research

Using her background in academia, Luckin founded EDUCATE Ventures Research in 2020 with the goal of combining artificial intelligence and human intelligence to ensure people are getting the most out of technology.

In the past she has been director of UCL EDUCATE, and is currently a professor earner Centred Design at UCL Knowledge Lab.

Sarah Corbridge, healthcare director, Credera

Passionate about using digital technologies for better health outcomes, Sarah Corbridge heads up healthcare for tech consulting firm Credera in the UK.

Prior to this, she was healthcare director and global account manager for EMEA at Dell Technologies.

She is also a board trustee for the Ethos Academy Trust, and has previously worked for the NHS.

Sarah Turner, CEO and co-founder, Angel Academe

Turner founded Angel Academe, a pro-women and pro-diversity angel investment group focused on technology, and is currently CEO of the group.

Turner is also an advisory board member of tech recruiter Spinks, and in 2007 co-founded consultancy Turner Hopkins, which helps businesses to create digital strategy.

Previously, Turner was an external board member and chair of the investment committee for venture capital fund the Low Carbon Innovation Fund and a board member of the UK Business Angels Association, the trade association for early-stage investment.

Sheridan Ash, technology and innovation, women in technology leader, PwC UK; founder, Tech She Can

Ash has two major roles – as technology innovation leader at PwC UK, and co-CEO and founder of the charity, Tech She Can. She’s a board member of the Institute of Coding and, in 2020, received an MBE for services to young girls and women through technology.

Tech She Can is an award-winning charity with over 240 member organisations, who together work with industry, government and schools to improve the ratio of women in technology roles. It provides initiatives and pathways into tech careers across all the different stages of girls’ and women’s lives.

At PwC, Ash led change in the technology workforce, pioneering initiatives which saw the percentage of women in tech more than double to reach 32%.

Suki Fuller, founder, Miribure

Fuller founded Miribure in 2015. The company uses data gathering and analytics to promote strategic decision-making in firms.

She is also a founding ambassador of the FiftyFiftyPledge, an advisory board member of Tech London Advocates and Tech Global Advocates, and the TLA Women in Tech co-lead.

Fuller co-founded, and until 2019 was CEO of, incubator and accelerator Salaam Ventures, which focuses on assisting ethical startups.

Tessa Clarke, co-founder and CEO, Olio

Tessa Clarke co-founded and is CEO of food-sharing app Olio which helps users share food that would otherwise be wasted.

She is a fellow of business fund Unreasonable, a business mentor for Virgin StartUp, and a venture partner for early-stage generalist impact fund Mustard Seed MAZE.

Toni Scullion, computing science teacher; founder of dressCode

Scullion is a serial founder, having founded dressCode, a not-for-profit that encourages young women in Scotland to consider a career in computer science; and co-founded the Ada Scotland Festival, which aims to use collaboration to close the gender gap in computer science education in Scotland.

These endeavours stem from her being a computer science teacher passionate about encouraging more children to take the subject.

Tristi Tanaka, head of the CMO portfolio, NHS Black Country ICB; BCS Women committee member; fellow, ForHumanity

Tanaka is currently part of the programme team for All4Health&Care, a community launched during the pandemic to connect digital healthcare providers with the public sector.

She is also the head of the CMO Office for NHS Black Country ICB, a fellow, independent audit for AI systems for ForHumanity, and a BCS Women membership secretary.



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