Top 11 Women in Enterprise Networking

Identifying female role models in the technology sector is important for so many reasons, the most important being that female representation in IT is severely lacking. A 2017 survey by ISACA “The Future Tech Workforce: Breaking Gender Barriers” found that 87% of respondents were concerned about the low numbers of women in the technology sector; the survey documents that men outnumber women in the industry across all levels.

The tech sector, however, has certainly had outstanding female leaders – pioneers in technology largely forgotten – including Ada Lovelace, a very early computer programmer who lived from 1812-1852, and Joan Clarke, a mathematician from the early twentieth century who worked alongside Alan Turing.

Indeed, today, there are notable female leaders in enterprise networking opening up the sector to others and serving as examples of leaders in the industry. Here is our top pick of 11 women in enterprise networking today.

Padmasree Warrior (@Padmasree)

Padmasree has had an illustrious career working with Motorola for 23 years before becoming the first-ever CTO of Cisco. She has since become CEO for smart car industry leaders NIO. Forbes named Warrior as one of the “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.” Padmasree is a regular conference speaker and recently spoke at RSA. You can watch her keynote speech on “Women of Vision”.

Denise Fishburne (@DeniseFishburne)

Denise Fishburne, also known as “Fish” works as a solution architect at Cisco’s PoV Services and is a keen troubleshooter. In her blog, “Networking with Fish” she writes about IWAN and security and has networking videos with networking “how-to’s” and troubleshooting tips.

Michele Chubirka (@MrsYisWhy)

Michele, also known as “Mrs. Y” is a security architect, analyst, and researcher. She has expertise in SDN, virtualization, microservices, and cloud. Michele has been an author and broadcaster on enterprise networking podcast network, Packet Pushers. She writes regular blog posts for her blog Post Modern Security about security and enterprise networking. Her latest blog Five Stages of Cloud Grief is well worth a read. Stage three of cloud grief is, “Anger – IT staff shows up at all-hands meeting with torches and pitchforks demanding the CIO’s blood and demanding to know if there will be layoffs.”

Lori MacVittie (@lmacvittie)

Lori used to write for Network Computing Magazine but now works as a “Technical Evangelist” at F5 Networks. She has had a glittering career as a systems engineer, writer, analyst, and lately, technology evangelist. Recognized as one of the top 50 Most Prominent Cloud Bloggers, she has published articles on network architecture and security, etc at Lori’s areas of expertise include application and network architectures, and she is currently on the advisory board member of CloudNow, a not-for-profit think tank for women in Cloud computing.

Melissa Di Donato (@mdidonato1)

Melissa is currently Chief Revenue Officer at SAP and previously was Vice President at in the Wave Analytics Cloud division. She plays a strong role in promoting STEM initiatives to girls and mentoring women in business. In a recent tweet, Melissa reminds us that, “empowering women is empowering business.”

Melissa is a regular speaker at conferences such as “Cloud and DevOps World.” Melissa will be speaking at London Tech Week next month.

Naomi Climer (@naomiclimer)

Naomi Climer is a software engineer who served as president of Sony’s Media Cloud Services start-up business in 2012, and became the first female president of the Institution of Engineering and Technology in 2015 and was awarded the first “Broadcast and Media Technology Industry Woman of the Year” in 2015. Naomi is currently Chair of the UK Government’s “Future Communications Challenge Group” which is exploring the challenges of 5G networks.

Danielle Haugedal-Wilson ( )

Danielle works for UK retailer the Co-Op as the Head of Business Architecture and Analysis. Next month she will be speaking in London at Cloud and DevOps World on “Moving To And Being Part Of The Cloud.” Danielle works with girls and women to champion the placement of women in technology.

Lisa Pierce (

Lisa Pierce is Managing Vice President at Gartner where she leads the Enterprise Network Systems and Services Research team. Her expertise is in network-related infrastructure, including, SD-WAN, IaaS, and PaaS. Lisa is a regular speaker at shows, and recently gave a talk on “Gartner Perspective on SD WAN: Enterprise Benefits and Challenges” at the February 2018 SD-WAN Expo.

Jezzibell Gilmore (

Jezzibell is an entrepreneur who works in the enterprise networking space. She is currently Senior Vice President of Business Development & Co-Founder of enterprise networking company, PacketFabric. Jezzibell recently spoke at WAN Summit New York 2018 on a panel called Delivering the Cloud: CSP Connection Models, Security, and Performance.

Yulia Duryea (@YuliaDuryea)

Yulia is Director of Product Management at Windstream Enterprise where she manages the SD-WAN portfolio. She has blogged on various aspects of SD-WAN including a recent one on the use of SD-WAN to support financial operations. Yulia also served on a panel entitled The Underlay Network – Selecting and Sourcing Local Access and Broadband at the WAN Summit in New York.

Donna Johnson (@drdesler)

Donna Johnson has completed her role as Director of Product Marketing for NetScaler SD-WAN at Citrix and is joining CradlePoint, a 4G LTE network solutions provider. Donna gives regular talks at enterprise networking events and also has taken part in a number of informative Citrix webinars. This included a recent Citrix joint webinar looking at how an SD-WAN architecture has evolved to meet secure Multi-Cloud requirements “From SD-WAN to secure Multi-Cloud.”

To the Future

In the U.S. alone, the computer and information technology occupations are expected to grow 13% between 2016 and 2026. The tech jobs gender gap is growing too; women will need to continue to be encouraged to enter technology and networking, and then to serve as mentors to the next generation of leaders in the industry.

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