Top 10 women CIOs changing the globe through tech

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Wendy Pfeiffer - Nutanix

The CIO at Nutanix and a member of the Board at Girls in Tech, Wendy has had a finger in every technologically significant pie for a while. Her previous work resulted in her leading tons of technical projects for GoPro, Yahoo! and Cisco, while her current work keeps her busy grinding away at fulfilling Nutanix's vision of making infrastructure invisible through IT.

The constant challenge of reinventing oneself to fit a CIO role while also championing the deserved seat in high-level IT jobs for women is admirable, and Wendy was able to do that and then some, as you can see here.

Sheila Jordan - Symantec

Sheila loves tackling the more complex business problems technology has to offer, stepping in when others are too perplexed by the ever-changing rules and dimensions of tech-led business. Her goal is always to turn an ambitious vision into a successful execution, motivating her team to come along with her for the ride and work together to spear-head real change.

Having been named "CIO of the Year" in the Innovation and Transformation category by the Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2015, Sheila has been hard at work and continues showing why that title has bestowed upon her. Her persistently brilliant ideas in transformation have granted her the title of reputed change agent.

Marcy Klevorn - Ford Motor Company

Currently the executive vice president and sitting president of Mobility for Ford, Marcy has had giant responsibility after giant responsibility. She was the group VP and CIO of Ford of Europe, and even before that she sat as the Director of Global IT Operations.

Every role she undertook depended on her overlooking all changes and strategies involving technology, which must have required a sort of holistic pragmatism you just couldn't find in anyone. But technology is only one side of it. To really understand the flows and intensities of change, digitisation and other embraces of our new world, the global CIO position has to be sharply aware of people. As Marcy says: “The business of being a CIO is a people business.”

Pam Parisian - AT&T Services

Inducted into the Women in Technology Hall of Fame in 2015 for being the CIO of AT&T, Pam is a visionary who oversees technology development, systems enabling ordering, care, rating and billing, as well as securing strategic mobility, business and home solutions.

Before her work with AT&T she was the vice president of IT Acquisition Strategy and Planning for Cingular Wireless. Her role there consisted of integrating strategies between Cingular Wireless and the former AT&T Wireless. Before this she was the CIO at BellSouth Cellular, so by now her spot in this top 10 should seem quite obvious. Not only is Pam a global CIO, but she is one that has experienced being a CIO that has fortified several different companies rather than just one.

Kim Stevenson - Lenovo

“I believe nearly every business decision today is shaped by technology because it has the power to transform markets, relationships and processes.” And how right she is. Currently the Senior Vice President at Lenovo and the former CIO and COO of Intel, Kim oversees and oversaw not just information, but the constant practice of executing this information in the most effective way possible.

Her input was deemed so valuable that she landed herself in the Board of Directors for several companies, including the National Centre for Women in IT, Cloudera and Boston Private to name a few.

Cynthia Stoddard - Adobe

Making her name heard in our top 10s for a second time, Cynthia is the Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Adobe. To give you an idea of where her head is at with such a position, she recently gave an interview talking about customer thinking and AI.

Yet another difficult task of being a CIO is understanding that changes in technology necessarily mean automation and prediction, meaning the hard job of bringing AI into one’s business has to happen in order to simplify the work flow later. These are the things that require constant attention, global thinking and pragmatism in order to be achieved.

Sarah Flannigan - EDF Energy

Last year Sarah was awarded the title of European CIO of the Year, this year she's given the even higher and more prestigious title of being part of EM360's top 10 list. As the overseer of EDF Energy, Sarah's responsibilities are doubled by the fact that missteps in her work could have terrible consequences for those dependent on EDF for energy and protection. Luckily for all of us, Sarah's work in assuring this never happens has earned her accolades and recognitions of the best kinds.

Before her move to EDF, Sarah was the CIO of National Trust, highly focused on restoring technology as a special place within the Trust. "Looking back at just what we achieved it was the whole organisation galvanised by opportunity. It has been six and a half years in two phases; three years of fixing the basics and three years of transformation and it is now delivering and leaving the National Trust in a substantially better shape," she told Horizon.

Michelle McKenna-Doyle - National Football League

Yes, the actual NFL, which sounds like possibly the coolest or most stressful job of all time as a CIO. Being responsible for the football league's tech strategy, Michelle overlooks shared service deliver and manages their corporate technology activities. We are told she might even be responsible for removing all the tech gear from coaches before they experience the ritual known as the Gatorade Shower.

But Michelle is not coming to the job empty-handed, having held CIO positions at Universal Orlando Resort and Constellation Energy, while also having been the VP of information technology for Disney. It's safe to say her expertise in handling giant areas of entertainment and interest makes her one of the most skilled CIOs in the list.

Christina Scott - News UK

The former Financial Times CIO and currently the CTO at News UK, Christina has been busy at work in a controversy-filled field of work. It's no secret that newspapers and news sites have had ongoing changes in leadership and revelations of some pretty fascinating backdoor activities, but Christina has held her head up high and was a high-flyer in the 2018 CIO 100, recognised for her work in putting data at the centre of the organisation's strategy.

Christina also has a global role as the Deputy CTO of News Corp, and did not leave the Financial Times without first being trusted as the CPO as well as the CIO. Christina is way too accustomed the news world and its widely complex webs one must pass through, but her fine and dedicated work keeps her effective as ever in spite of that.

Karenann Terrell - GlaxoSmithKline

The former Walmart CIO, Karenann joined GSK back in 2017 and now acts as the CDO and CTO, developing the pharma's digital, data and analytics strategy. Her interpretation of her work at GSK on LinkedIn is, "to help people do more, feel better, live longer."

Karenann correctly sees digital data and analytics as the enablers of transformation, trying to manipulate the two in a way that will prove beneficial to those in need of better healthcare and better medicine. Before Walmart, Karenann was also focused on managing information over at Baxter, and before then at DaimlerChrysler, keeping her CIO savviness fresh and updated throughout her career.