Turns out Al Gore didn’t invent the Internet. Shocker right? Nope, it was Ada Lovelace, the daughter of a poet, who came up with the language now known simply as “code” all the way back in the 1800s.
Women in technology and leadership positions are not new. Brilliant women have been making advances in the world of business and tech for a long time, and they are the perfect examples for up-and-coming female moguls to look up to and learn from. Their hardships and missteps are blueprints for overcoming adversity to reach their goals no matter what.
This list has to start with the original Beyonce of the Internet — Countess Ada Lovelace. The daughter of a famous poet, Lord Byron, Ada shocked her family with her incredible aptitude for mathematics and science. Her mother encouraged her talents in her father’s absence, which was an almost unheard of practice for women at the time.
Ada is touted as the first person to come up with the concept of code writing. She would translate her mentor’s work into different languages and add her own notes, which were usually longer than the work itself. In her personal life, Ada thrived with a supportive husband and three children. They all shared a love for horses and hung out with impressive influencers of the time like Charles Dickens.
Unfortunately, Ada lived too short a life and was only recognized for her brilliant accomplishments after her death. Reports indicate that she died of uterine cancer and also was sick with cholera and asthma, for which doctors prescribed opium, causing her to hallucinate and have terrible mood swings. Perhaps if she had had access to better care, Ada could have contributed even more to the advancement of math, science and technology.
Sara Blakely is not only the founder of the then revolutionary and now ubiquitous line of women’s shapewear called “Spanx,” but she’s also the youngest self-made female billionaire in America. She started in an Atlanta, Georgia, apartment fifteen years ago and has never looked back, producing complementary lines of jeans, workout gear and bras. Although Spanx had a tough year after losing its longtime CEO, the company has bounced back with a vengeance by replacing her with a former Nike Apparel Executive.
Even more impressively, Blakely is a mother of three who still owns 100 percent of her private (yes, private) company. But perhaps her most inspiring keynote is the fact that she was once a Disney Land ride greeter and door-to-door fax machine saleswoman who invested her $50,00 life savings at 29 years of age into a pipe dream born out of necessity.
Gwen Braygreen and Valeria Maltoni
Braygreen and Maltoni may not have achieved mogul status just yet, but this dynamic duo’s advances in cloud solutions are pretty revolutionary. Their baby, Aspect Zipwire, takes cloud-based customer service call centers to a whole new level of support and accountability by providing a much richer experience for customers, startups and corporations all over the world. In an age where customers have more options and more shopping savvy than ever before, their innovative performance management and supervisor followup tools are changing the e-commerce industry for the better, resulting in higher returns, less hassle for businesses and happier, more loyal customers.
Founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Stewart claims her new motto is: “When you’re through changing, you’re through.” If there’s anyone that can teach women about building an empire, taking a serious dive and reinventing herself, it’s Martha Stewart. Beyond her dining and cookware collection at Macy’s, books, blogs and much, much more, Martha Stewart has become a pop culture icon. She even was a hit at Comedy Central’s roast of pop star Justin Bieber.
About the Author: Stacy Eden is a Phoenix, Arizona native with a passion for art, power tools, and historical significance. She draws inspiration from classic cars, ancient mythological sculptures and jewelry designers such as Delfina Delettrez, Shaun Leane, and Dior Jewellery creative director Victoire de Castellane.