Today’s fast-paced technology environment changes rapidly. Even trying to decide which influential scholars, entrepreneurs, influencers, doctors, engineers, etc. should be included in the top 18 leaves out far too much talent.
There are so many people who have made the world a more innovative and generous place with their contributions to Information Technology. That’s why I’ve selected the eclectic array of influential people that follows.
1. Jessica O. Matthews, CEO, Uncharted Power
Matthews’ passion is helping African countries. At 22, the Nigerian-American innovator and entrepreneur created a soccer ball that produced enough energy to power a lamp or cell phone.
A decade later, that invention had grown into Uncharted Power, “an energy and data technology firm that produces infrastructure solutions for communities, especially in Africa.”
2. Anne Wojcicki, Founder of 23andMe
Wojcicki has done remarkable work in health information technology, “changing the game” by putting health information of its the hands of its rightful patient-owners.
With its strong position in medicine and pharmaceuticals, 23andMe can now leverage its data to create an individualized approach to healthcare.
3. Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft
Born in Hyderabad, India, Sadella began his career with Microsoft in 1992. There, his projects have included the company’s move to cloud computing and, eventually, the world’s most extensive cloud infrastructure.
Nadella states, “As CEO of Microsoft, I define my mission and that of my company as empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”
4. Daniel Zhang (Zhang Yong), CEO of Alibaba Group
As Alibaba’s CEO since 2015, the reserved, low-profile Zhang took over as Chairman of this giant online marketplace after executive chairman after cofounder Jack Ma retired in 2019.
According to Wired, “Zhang is being watched with both curiosity and anticipation.”
5. Jack Ma (Ma Yun), Cofounder and Former Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group
It is no surprise that the now 56-year-old Ma supports open and market-driven economies.
As of January 2021, his net worth is $50.9 billion. He was, at one point, the third-wealthiest person in China, though.
6. Elon Musk
This ubiquitous and super-wealthy business magnate, industrial designer, and engineer needs no further introduction. He’s Elon Musk.
7. Marc Brown, Corporate Vice President of Corporate Development, Microsoft
An 18-year Microsoft veteran, Brown is the brains behind its strategic direction. He has led more than 100 high-value transactions there. An attorney, he began his career as a corporate lawyer at Boston-based Global Goodwin Procter L.L.P.
8. Tim Cook, Apple CEO
Heir to the legendary Steve Jobs, Cook has been with Apple since 1998 and has played a pivotal in bringing the company into the 21st Century.
9. Antonio Neri, HPE CEO
A strong interest in AI and the IoT has guided Neri’s belief in moving to an “Everything as a Service” model by 2022.
According to the Forbes Technology Council, “The disruption of a…hardware-based sales model in enterprise IT is a bold move.”
10. Ginni Rometty, Former IBM CEO
Described by the New York Times as “the longtime face of IBM and one of the country’s most prominent female business leaders.”
At the time of her 2020 retirement, Rometti had been instrumental to IBM for close to four decades.
11. Jeff Bezos, CEO and President of Amazon
According to the latest Bloomberg Billionaires Index, as the world’s wealthiest person, Bezos has a net worth of $182 billion. Need we say more?
12. Bill Gates
Probably the most significant figure in the introduction and world-changing rise of the personal computer (PC), Gates became a household name.
Still, we also must recognize the scope and magnitude of his roles in thought leadership and charitable giving. He made a fortune, and now he’s using his wealth and abilities to make the world a better place.
13. Miguel Gamiño, Mastercard EVP, Enterprise Partnerships, and Head of Global Cities and City Possible
Gamiño’s many roles in helping cities and regions plan their IT infrastructures through public-private partnerships have been noteworthy. IN 2018, he left the role of CIO for New York City to assume his current role
14. Joanna Young, Vice President for IT and Chief Information Officer, Michigan State University
A prolific writer—of everything from books to tweets—Young has done a great deal of work in technology and education success. She is also Sr. Managing Director for BlueLine Associates.
15. Meredith Whittaker, Distinguished Research Scientist at New York University
A former Google employee, Whittaker led walkouts over diversity and accountability. Then, she started a career as an AI ethicist to create awareness of algorithmic bias.
16. Aicha S. Evans, Former Chief Executive Officer, Zoox Inc.
Formerly Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Intel Corp., Aicha S. Evans is currently CEO of the self-driving car company, Zoox.
Evans has explored many avenues with her bold entrepreneurial spirit since graduating from George Washington University with a Computer Engineering degree.
17. Wanji Walcott, Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Discover Financial Services
As senior vice president and general counsel at PayPal, Walcott built and oversaw a legal team of more than 170 professionals across the globe.
With over 20 years of legal experience, this Howard University graduate continues to take on new challenges in the realms of law and finance.
18. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO
Zuckerberg’s founding of and career at Facebook have, in many ways, transformed how people communicate socially online. It’s impossible not to include him in this list.
Who Really Are the Most Influential People?
What does it mean to be among the “Most Influential People” in a category like information technology? Is an information technology degree enough? Or does it take personal qualities too?
Leadership isn’t only about what you’ve learned and what your qualifications are, it’s often about what you do with that knowledge.
Leadership and influence often mean recognizing and celebrating the talents and accomplishments of others. If you read my blog, you’ll see that I have worked hard to discover and share those whose work, and values, I admire.
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