March 8, 2023

Women In Tech and Design to Be Inspired By

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’re celebrating 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 we have come so far with gender equality, especially in recent years, we’d be remiss not to mention the challenges that remain for many women, especially in the tech industry. Additionally, we must acknowledge other intersectional disadvantages at play to those 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 all. 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 this article, we will…

  • Share with you eight inspiring women in tech and design on Outwitly’s radar (some maybe even on our team!)
  • Introduce you to valuable sources and inspirational works you’ll want to dive right into.
  • Provide a resource list of organizations and companies, books, blogs, podcasts, and more mediums to 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 these eight incredible leaders and change-makers in the technology and design space. From industries like UX, CX, fintech, coding, product management and design strategy, this list has no shortage of women whose accomplishments will make your jaw drop. 

Fair warning – the summaries we’ve put together provide a solid understanding of how incredible these folks are, but we couldn’t include all of their accomplishments even if we tried. 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

Organization: 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 money. They’re 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 non-profits: Feminist Coalition and Wine and Whine Nigeria, and raising over 1 million dollars in support of youth-led activism against police brutality in Nigeria, the #EndSars movement. 

In a Youth Profile by Damilola Adewumi for the 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 works with organizations who want to build the workplace of the future; one 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 over ten 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 team effectiveness and improving client satisfaction. 

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


April Dunford

Founder: Ambient Strategy

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 tech companies tighten and fine-tune 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 a keynote speaker on Innovation and Positioning for Innovation, New Product Introduction, Selling New Offerings or Marketing Leadership

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


Julie Zhuo

Co-founder: Sundial

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 here 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 News Feed, content discovery, and Facebook’s mobile apps. 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 fun illustrations. 

Another notable and meaningful work of hers is on Medium, A Letter to My Younger Asian American Self, 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 her acceptance and embrace of her Asian American heritage.


Reshma Saujani

Founder: Girls Who Code

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 9-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 Mom’s 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 “Marshall Plan for Moms” legislation at the federal level and is continuing to act as an outside agitator to change culture through creative awareness campaigns.

Reshma is the author of four books you have to 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 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 we’re raising our girls. 

We’re so grateful for Reshma’s advocacy with difficult contemporary pandemic topics. We’re inspired by her continued efforts to back innovative companies with underrepresented founders as an angel investor, and 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.”

Her CV is an extraordinary feat – check it out here 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:

Ellen 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 and we highly recommend it to all designers!


Angelica Ross

Founder: TransTech Social Enterprises

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. and founder of TransTech Social Enterprises. This program helps people lift themselves out of poverty through technical training, digital work creating a social impact, and bringing economic empowerment to marginalized communities.

TransTech Social was inspired by Angelica’s journey. She taught herself graphic design, photo editing and coding, and she realized that technology was a catalyst for change in her life! These skills brought her the foundational financial security she needed to share those skills with her community. 

TransTech empowers trans and non-conforming people through job training, leadership, professional equipment, workshops, office space, mentorship, workplace skills and job opportunities. It’s a thriving community whose resources help its community to build careers in tech by focusing on empowerment, education, and employment, efforts only furthered by the annual TransTech Summit, 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, here.

“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 cyber-security. 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), among them, having Adidas and Google as her personal clients – no big deal.

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 & 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 cybersecurity-meets-ed-tech product to enhance the user experience and interface to enable better learning outcomes for all.


Now, I know 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

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 with her flagship Design Research Mastery Course. Sara has aspirations that aim for the moon, and back, and she plans to expand the platform to all aspects of human-centred design.

Sara deeply believes 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 in the past that talk the talk, but may not walk the walk. Sara has built an organization and network that celebrates diversity, ensuring 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. We genuinely don’t know where she finds the time for it all, as on top of everything, she’s also a mother of a 3-year-old boy. In addition to her love for family and passion for HCD and entrepreneurship, she’s also passionate about home decor, self-development, sketching, painting (acrylic and watercolour), and spending time in nature to feed her soul. Oh and, a 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 boast impressive stats of folks who are diverse in gender, race, religion, age, and identity. Join our independent contractor pool here, 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 had to cut our list somewhere. Visit our latest Instagram post and share in the comments section someone you would add to this list! We recommend reaching out, making their day and sharing 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