March 8, 2023

Inspirational Women in Tech and Design

A group of women gover around an iPad, inspiring and empowering each other on topics like tech and UX design.

Written by the Outwitly Team

Happy International Women’s Day! Here at Outwitly, we celebrate women every day — just ask our 100% women-owned and operated team. We thought we’d take the time to look closely at the accomplishments and strides made by women in design and tech, women that inspire us, and women that are leading the way.

Although many sectors have made large strides toward gender equality, especially in recent years, we’d be remiss not to acknowledge that there are remaining challenges for many women, especially in the tech industry. Additionally, we must recognize other intersectional disadvantages at play in this industry, to grasp issues at play beyond a binary gender disparity. Only then can we evolve the spaces where we work to truly design for everyone. After all, technology can only be a great equalizer if it is driven by diverse, cognizant creators. 

On this International Women’s Day, March 8th, 2023, we want to shine a light on eight women leading the charge in the tech and design worlds!

In this article, we will…

  • Feature inspiring women in tech and design who are on Outwitly’s radar (some even on our team!).
  • Introduce you to valuable sources and inspirational works you’ll want to dive right into.
  • Provide a resource list of related organizations and companies, books, blogs, podcasts, and more mediums to learn about and access. 

Let’s get into it!


8 Influential Women in Tech and Design to Follow Today

Narrowing this list down to only eight women who inspire us was challenging! However, we are thrilled to share the profiles of these incredible leaders and changemakers in the technology and design space. This list focuses on women from diverse industries, including UX, CX, fintech, coding, product management and design strategy, and it has no shortage of women whose accomplishments will make your jaw drop. 

Fair warning: while the summaries we’ve put together provide a solid understanding of how incredible these folks are, we couldn’t include all of their accomplishments, even if we tried. (You’d be reading this post for days.) But never fear — we’ve made sure to link their websites and social media accounts so you can dig deeper!

Odunayo Eweniyi on Twitter and website.

Odunayo Eweniyi

Organizations: PiggyVest and FirstCheck Africa

Follow on: Twitter and LinkedIn

Visit her Website

Odunayo Eweniyi is an award-winning entrepreneur working for diversity and inclusion in fintech and technology. She is the co-founder and COO of PiggyVest, a fintech company in Lagos, Nigeria, whose mission is to empower people to better manage and save their money. PiggyVest is one of Nigeria’s most successful fintech startups, with over a MILLION users to date! She’s also a co-founder and partner of FirstCheck Africa, an early-stage angel fund focused on investing in women in the very early stages of launching a startup. 

As if that weren’t enough to take on, Odunayo sits on the board of Village Capital and is a venture partner at Rally Cap Ventures. She’s also well known as an advocate for empowering women and girls — a woman after our hearts. She explains that she feels a responsibility to help other women along the way. This has led to her launching two nonprofits: Feminist Coalition and Wine and Whine Nigeria, and raising over a million dollars in support of youth-led activism against police brutality in Nigeria, including the #EndSars movement against the country’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

In a youth profile by Damilola Adewumi for the magazine, African Renewal, Odunayo explained feeling a sense of duty to start the Feminist Coalition: “For me, the mission is that all women should be included, and I feel I have a responsibility to bring more women in. As a woman, if you’ve somehow been able to keep the door open for yourself and move in and get all of the things that traditionally or historically women haven’t been able to get, you kind of have a responsibility to hold that door open for the generation of women behind you.” 

If just like us, you are eager to learn more about Odunayo, check out this interview she did with Career Foundry and make sure to follow her across social platforms! 


Michelle McCune

Follow on: LinkedIn

Visit her Website

Michelle McCune is a human-centred design leader who helps organizations design great customer experiences while building the back-of-house capabilities to deliver them. Currently, she is the Principal of Human-Centred Design at Workomics, where she collaborates with organizations who want to build the workplace of the future; a workplace that is inclusive and equitable, customer-centric, seamlessly integrated with emerging technology, and focused on employee well-being. 

Previously, she was the VP of Design and Delivery at Bridgeable. At this service design consulting firm, she spent 15 years working with clients across the healthcare, financial services, consumer and public sectors. As the company scaled, she rose to the occasion, taking on progressively more senior strategic design roles, and tackling exciting problem spaces. Her clients included Fortune 500 companies, four of Canada’s five ‘big banks’ and more than 10 multinational pharmaceutical organizations. 

Michelle is a fantastic coach to many Outwitlians (our in-house team and contract staff) who deeply value her help: from making sense of messy, ambiguous problems (“shaping fog”) to collaborating on inspired and practical solutions. She loves helping teams do really tough things, together – a passion that extends to her hobby as a resistance training instructor. Her breadth and depth of experience make for insightful takes on improving team effectiveness and client satisfaction. 

We highly recommend following Michelle and Workomics on LinkedIn to see what’s next.


April Dunford

Organization: Ambient Strategy (Founder)

Follow on: Twitter and LinkedIn

Visit her Website 

April Dunford is a globally recognized leader in positioning (think: launching new products in new and established markets and absolutely crushing it!). As a consultant, speaker and author, April helps B2B (business-to-business) tech companies tighten and finetune their positioning to improve their marketing and sales performance. 

Her book, Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get it, Buy it, Love it, captures her ideas about positioning in an easy-to-follow guide. In it, she introduces a structured positioning methodology she developed during her 25-year career as a marketing executive at a series of successful startups. Her book has become a best-seller among product and marketing folk and entrepreneurs alike. Trust us, you’ll want to get your hands on a copy!

You might recognize April as a Board Member of MESH/diversity or as a keynote speaker covering topics such as: innovation and positioning for innovation, new product introduction, selling new offerings, and marketing leadership

We especially love her down-to-earth approach, relatable anecdotes and deep understanding of the wild world of startup culture.


Julie Zhuo

Organization: Sundial (Co-founder)

Follow on Instagram and Twitter

Visit her Website 

Julie Zhuo is one of Silicon Valley’s top product design executives. She leads the teams behind some of the world’s most popular mobile and web services used by billions of people every day. 

Currently, she’s building Sundial, which will enable everyone on your team to understand the story of your product, so you can prioritize the most meaningful goals, strategies and tasks. Join the waitlist to be among the first to receive updates. (Seriously — run, don’t walk! This product will be unreal.)

She’s a former VP of Product Design at Facebook, where she led design teams focused on engagement and core experiences, including Facebook’s News Feed, mobile apps, and content discovery. She writes about technology, design, and leadership on her popular blog and newsletter, The Year of the Looking Glass, and in publications like the New York Times and Fast Company — no big deal (!!!).

Julie also wrote about her time at Facebook in her New York Times bestseller, The Making of a Manager, a favourite over here at Outwitly! It’s a modern field guide packed with her own everyday examples, transformational ideas and some fun illustrations. 

Another notable and meaningful work of hers is  A Letter to My Younger Asian American Self, a post on Medium, with the subtitle, “Now that I’m twice your age, I can assure you of this: You don’t need to be ashamed of your story.” She discusses the process of accepting and embracing of her Asian American heritage.


Reshma Saujani

Organization: Girls Who Code (Founder)

Follow on: Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook

Join her Newsletter

Visit her Website 

Advocate and founder Reshma Saujani began her career as a democratic organizer and attorney but didn’t stop there. During the race as the first Indian American woman to run for congress (mic drop), Reshma visited schools and saw the gender gap in computing classes firsthand. This is what inspired her to start and lead Girls Who Code as their CEO for a nine year tenure. Girls Who Code is leading the movement to inspire, educate, and equip young women with computing skills.

Reshma launched the Marshall Plan for Moms (now called Moms First) to advocate for policies that value women’s labour in and out of the home, in response to the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on American moms. She has successfully worked with House and Senate leaders to introduce legislation for moms at the federal level, and is continuing to act as an outside agitator to change the culture through creative awareness campaigns.

Reshma is the author of four books you must add to your reading list, including:

She speaks on a wide variety of topics, including closing the gender gap in tech, democracy, women and leadership, advocacy, gender, youth, technology, and perhaps most famously, her advice to “fail first, fail hard & fail fast.” Reshma’s TED talk, Teach girls bravery, not perfection, has more than six-million views and has sparked an international conversation about how girls are being raised. 

We’re so grateful for Reshma’s advocacy, especially when it comes to difficult contemporary topics. We’re also inspired by her continued efforts to back innovative companies with underrepresented founders as an angel investor. We know you will be too!


Ellen Lupton

Follow On: Twitter and LinkedIn

Visit her Website

Ellen Lupton is a writer, curator, educator, and designer. Last summer, Ellen concluded her 30-year tenure as the senior curator of contemporary design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. That said, Ellen’s schedule is still jam-packed. She’s working on an expanded third edition of her book, Thinking with Type, and will continue teaching at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. According to her interview with ARCHITECT, she’s “looking forward to doing more writing, lectures, and workshops.”

Ellen’s CV is an extraordinary roster — check it out, and prepare to be majorly impressed. Of the many works she has authored and co-authored about design practice, these are some of our favourites:

She recently co-authored Extra Bold: A Feminist, Inclusive, Anti-racist, Nonbinary Field Guide for Graphic Designers with other notable inspirations, Farah Kafei, Jennifer Tobias, Valentina Vergara, Josh A. Halstead, Kaleena Sales, and Leslie Xia, who together created “the inclusive, practical, and informative career handbook that we’ve all been waiting for.” We love that it’s full of ideas and stories that are often left out of the design canon. We highly recommend it to all designers!


Angelica Ross

Organization: TransTech Social Enterprises (Founder)

Follow on: Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram

Visit her Website 

Angelica Ross is a leading figure in the movement for transgender and racial equality as an advocate, actress, and founder/CEO. Angelica Ross is the President of Miss Ross, Inc., her personal enterprise, and she’s also founder of the highly notable TransTech Social Enterprises. TransTech is a program that helps marginalized people emerge from poverty through leadership and training in tech.

TransTech Social was inspired by Angelica’s journey. She taught herself graphic design, photo editing and coding, and she realized that technology was a powerful tool for change in her life. Her success in tech brought not only financial security for herself, but also the ability to share her skills with her community. 

In addition to job training and leadership, this amazing organization empowers trans and gender non-conforming people through many other mediums of support, including professional equipment, office spaces, workshops, mentorship, and even job opportunities. It’s a thriving community whose resources help to build careers in tech by focusing on empowerment, education, and employment. These efforts are furthered by the annual TransTech Summit, which was also launched by Angelica. Oh, and did we mention that the TransTech membership is free? That’s right! They can bring all these resources to their members at no cost. It’s safe to say Angelica has created a much-needed haven for the LGBTQIA+ community in this industry.

In case you weren’t yet in awe, Angelica is soon to be a published author! Join the waitlist for her upcoming book.

“And by the way, trans women are women!” —Angelica Ross 


Mabintou Kolley

Follow on: Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram

Visit her Website 

Mabintou is a highly accomplished Senior Product Designer working in cybersecurity. She was the Founder, Director and Creative Chief Officer at Forbes featured agency, Clamp Digital (2020-2022). Clamp was an incredible all-black all-female agency which offered creative initiatives for others to grow and thrive. Her accomplishments are many — we highly recommend snooping on her website to see them all. She’s even had huge brands like Adidas and Google as personal clients!

She also founded BeautyHive, the first mobile application to connect beauty brands and consumers through social media. She has been featured in GUAP’s 30 Under 30, and their Creative G-List. If you’re still craving more inspiration this Women’s Day, be sure to check out the other women on that list! 

Mabintou is an all-around creative: an interdisciplinary designer who loves the arts and isn’t afraid to embrace her authenticity and her entrepreneurial spirit. She’s a winner of the Makers 2020 Women in Software Power List and has been featured in the likes of Net-A-Porter and BuzzFeed. Her viral commentary has been used by publications such as Dazed, Refinery29, New York Times, LA Times, and TeenVogue

She is currently working with the cybersecurity-meets-ed-tech product,, which enhances the user experience and interface to enable better learning outcomes for all.


Now, we said we were sharing eight women with you today, but we must make space for a bonus entry. Introducing the fearless leader behind Outwitly Inc., Sara Fortier.

Sara Fortier

Organization: Outwitly Inc. (Founder/CEO)

Follow Outwitly on: Instagram, LinkedIn, & Twitter

Follow Sara on LinkedIn

We may be biased, but we love her and she inspires us every. Single. Day. As you all know, Sara is the CEO and founder of Outwitly. She’s our boss, our mentor, and our fearless leader. She is a “designer with a capital D,” having studied and worked in the design field for over 18 years in strategic design, service design, UX design, and design research. She’s our very own designer unicorn. 

Not only is she an expert in human-centred design, but she also has a passion for teaching it. Sara is an instructor and advisor at Carleton University (her alma mater), and in 2022 she launched Outwitly Academy to bridge the gap in training resources for intermediate and advanced designers. In less than a year, the academy has seen over 50 graduates from her flagship Design Research Mastery course. Sara has aspirations that aim for the moon, and back, and she plans to expand her platform to cover all aspects of human-centred design.

Sara believes deeply in the power of diversity, equality, and inclusion, and the proof is in the pudding: over 70% of Outwilians are women, and over 54% are BIPOC. We have all worked for organizations that talked the talk, but might not have walked the walk. Sara has built an organization and network that celebrates diversity. It’s important to her that everyone has a seat at the table, and that all voices are heard. Sara leads by example, and it’s infectious! She attracts people with similar values who, in turn, perpetuate these values. We’re proud to be a part of such a value-driven team.

Like many of the amazing women on this list, Sara is so much more than her work. On top of everything, she’s also the mother of a three-year-old boy. And, in addition to her love for family and her passion for HCD and entrepreneurship, she (somehow!) finds the time to delve into home decor, self development, sketching, painting (acrylic and watercolour), and exploring in nature to feed her soul. Oh and, fun fact: she has a 19-year-old cat named Mia that likes to make appearances in meetings every now and then. On this International Women’s Day, we all feel very proud to celebrate her leadership! Thank you, Sara.


We’re always growing the Outwitly network and our independent contractors are diverse in gender, race, religion, age and identity. Join our independent contractor pool, and keep up-to-date on all open roles at Outwitly Inc. by visiting our careers page

Is there a woman in design or tech that inspires you? We could have gone on and on, but eventually, we had to cut our list somewhere. Visit our latest Instagram post and write in the comments section to share someone you would add to this list! We recommend reaching out, making their day and spreading a little love.

In the meantime, check out the list of organizations and companies of interest, books, blogs, podcasts, and more wonderful resources below.

Women in Tech and Design: Books, Blogs, Communities, and More.

As promised, here is a comprehensive list of the spaces and ways in which you can consume the content of the women featured in today’s post. Make sure to share these resources with anyone who you think would find them valuable. Happy learning!  

Organizations/Companies of Interest:



You can also sign up here to receive exclusive updates about the release and pre-orders for Angelica Ross’ upcoming book.