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At Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit: Leaders optimistic about fixing tech industry's gender disparity

Fortune last week hosted its annual Most Powerful Women Summit in Laguna Niguel, CA, bringing together leaders across various industries for three days of interviews, panels, and candid conversations about both the evolving business world as well as the influence and role of women in that evolution.

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Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on stage with Michal Lev-Ram, senior writer at Fortune. Photo courtesy of Fortune.

Clara on CNBC -- Oct 2014
Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih interviewed by CNBC live at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit.

Attendees at the event included executives, entrepreneurs, and innovators from across the spectrum, including Warren Buffett (Chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway), Gary Cohn (President and COO, Goldman Sachs), Mary Callahan Erdoes (CEO, J.P. Morgan Asset Management), Mary Meeker (Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers), Sheryl Sandberg (COO, Facebook), and Debra Sterling (Founder and CEO, GoldieBlox).
The agenda was packed with a wide-ranging set of sessions. On Monday afternoon, attendees heard about how (and how much) leaders should connect on social media. On Tuesday, another discussion addressed the challenges and solutions in motivating and inspiring workers across different generations. The last day featured special talks on philanthropy and entrepreneurship.


One core topic discussed by attendees was that of gender inequality, which still pervades executive and management teams across the Fortune 500 as well as greener sectors, like the technology industry.
Seeking to unpack this very issue, CNBC interviewed several women leaders closely involved in technology, including Rebecca Rhoads (chief information officer at Raytheon), Sonja Hoel Perkins (managing director of Menlo Ventures and founder of Broadway Angels), and our very own Clara Shih (CEO and Founder, Hearsay Social).
In the interview, Clara explains how she is hoping to impact change at Hearsay Social: “We specifically try to recruit women and we are open-minded about women who may not have a programming background.”
Clara also shared her broader perspective that a key way of nurturing a more diverse tech workforce is by making sure girls are confident in their technical skills from a young age. This helps set the stage for later in their lives, so they can be confident when faced with more male-dominated fields, like science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
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Ronny Kerr

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