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Diversity in Design: Women Pushing Boundaries in Tech

It’s International Women’s Day, so in this article we’ll recognize a small sample of the many women who are making an impact in various tech industry positions today. Through design, development, data science, and everything in between, these inspiring women are pushing boundaries and redefining what it means to work in tech.

Kimberly Bryant

Founder @ Black Girls Code

Kimberly is impacting the future of diversity in the tech industry through young women of color learning development.

Photo Peter DaSilva
Photo: Peter DaSilva

Kimberly is the founder of Black Girls Code. Since Black Girls Code launched in 2011, Bryant has introduced more than 8,000 girls to computer science. Today there are thirteen chapters in the U.S. and one international chapter in Johannesburg–and BCG is growing daily. By 2040, Bryant aims to reach 1 million girls with code. Their mission statement: 

“Black Girls Code’s goal is to empower young women of color, ages 7-17, to embrace the current tech marketplace as builders + creators.”

Black Girls CODE
Black Girls CODE
Screengrab via Black Girls CodeYouTube
Teaching 1 Million Girls to Code

Allie Miller

Senior Associate Offering Manager @ IBM Watson

Allie is using AI to help businesses understand the context of their images, enabling them to become “more creative, inspired and resourceful”–ultimately, more human.

Allie started her first company as an eight-year-old, created the country’s largest AI student group, and now, is the Product Manager for Watson Visual Recognition at IBM. She’s helping build core artificial intelligence vision technology for clients ranging from start-ups to Fortune 50. Watson performs image recognition, text recognition, and face recognition for photo analysis, inspections, insurance, fraud detection, and media tracking.

Allie remarked in a recent interview,

“The progress we have made with visual recognition technology in just the past few years, to me, is astounding. Beyond pulling insight out of content, Watson Visual Recognition can really be customized for any use case. And, since Watson can understand industries inside and out, it’s almost like having an instant co-pilot that understands exactly how you live and work, and makes you smarter about what you’re doing. It’s really that simple.”

Lynn Fisher

UI/UX design, front-end development, and illustration @ &yet

Lynn Fisher brings joy, delight, and wonder to an industry that often lacks those qualities.

At each responsive breakpoint, the homepage design of Lynn’s personal website is an entirely different, quirky web design experience. Experiment for yourself by visiting lynnandtonic.com; change the size of your browser to see dynamic designs at different breakpoints.

Lynn’s driving motto: 

“I make things for the web and for walls. I specialize in light-hearted projects that make people say, ‘I don’t get it.’” 

Check out a popular project of hers chronicling Airport Codes, her web design and her art, and the things she is also doing with andyet.com.


Caitie McCaffrey

Principal Software Engineering Lead @ Microsoft Research

Caitie is innovating in the space of software design, specifically game development and distributed systems, to network and build things that socially connect people.  

Of the Order of Billions Building Observability at Twitter
Of the Order of Billions: Building Observability at Twitter

Prior to joining Microsoft Research, Caitie was the Tech Lead for the Observability team at Twitter, and built large scale services and systems that power the entertainment industry at 343 Industries, Microsoft Game Studios, and HBO.

“In college I also TA’d a class that was the Intro to Data Structures course in Java. I also became interested in game design and built a couple video games, via an elective program. I was also incredibly interested in computer graphics because I liked the idea that I could visualize or see what I was making and create art.”

Bethany Heck

Of Heck House, Creator of the Font Review Journal, Head of Design @ Medium

Bethany is pushing the boundaries of multi-typeface systems for work on the web, in print and on physical products.

Check out Bethany’s passion project Eephus League (including the fancy Magazine platform), an interview about her Font Review Journal, and some other fun typography work on her dribbble account. Bethany also has a Net award to her name.

She has moved from Creative Director of Microsoft Power BI, to Creative Director at Vox, to now Head of Design at Medium.

Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin

Founders @ theSkimm

Danielle and Carly are innovating the way millennial women deliver and digest news.

“theSkimm” is a subscription-based product and read by over five million people.

“We didn’t create theSkimm for lack of intelligence or lack of interest in the news. What we figured out was a way to make it easier for our readers to understand the world around them in a way that they enjoyed hearing about and in a way that made it easy to remember.”

theSkimm App combines future events in culture, politics, and tech by integrating directly into your calendar. The goal is to make you more aware and smarter each day, on everything from “tax policies to how to fold a fitted sheet.”

Danielle and Carly have notably made out quite successful on a co-CEO title and positioning in their business model. Read a recent interview from these inspiring female founders.

Elena Grewal

Data Scientist @ AirBnb

Elena is pushing the boundaries of using data science by using it to improve diversity and education in her workplace.

Elena realized that the new workforce she joined was predominantly male. By using data to find a weak-link in the take-home exercise grading rubric during AirBnb’s interview process, she was able to help the rubric adjust. After this change went into effect, the percentage of women on the data science team has since doubled to 30%. Read more about Elena’s story of leading the data science team.

Elena and her team also recently established Data University at AirBnb. 

“We characterize data as the voice of our users at scale.”

Danielle Wood

Assistant Professor of Program in Media Arts and Sciences @ MIT Media Lab

Danielle is pushing the envelope in research to utilize space engineering in order to improve life on Earth.

David Silverman Photography via wwwmediamitedu
David Silverman Photography, via www.media.mit.edu

Danielle Wood recently joined the MIT Media lab to establish a new research group, Space Enabled. Her mission is to advance justice and development in Earth’s complex systems using designs enabled by space.

Check out her video presentation from SGx2017, she begs the question: Is space for the benefit of all humankind?


Yes, you. I encourage you to envision your name, title and snapshot here.

Set of Funny vector avatars
Set of Funny vector avatars on Envato Elements

What could you do to push the boundaries of technology in design, development, or data in the days and years to come?

The reality is, this industry is open to anyone, and everyone–any background, any race, any gender. Regardless of your education, the tech industry needs talented, driven people… like you.

Explore other content for International Women’s Day across Envato