Get To Know The Women Shortlisted For The Women Leading Tech Awards

Get To Know The Women Shortlisted For The Women Leading Tech Awards

The Shortlist for the Women Leading Tech Awards, presented by Atlassian, was released on International Women’s Day last week.

But with more than 200 incredible women (and three companies in the Advocacy category) listed for the 21 March Awards, it can be hard to know where to start – so we’ll take a look at some of the stories behind the names.

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In the AdTech category, Irene Kurniawan, senior manager of technical operations, at Magnite, and June Cheung, head of JAPAC at Scope3, have previously featured in the pages of B&T.

Kurniawan was featured in our Best of the Best Technologists list and was commended for her exceptional – and often under-appreciated by the wider industry – work at the sell-side platform. In fact, Kurniawan joined the company more than a decade ago, while it was still called the Rubicon Project. She also sits on the IAB Standards & Guidelines Council, one of the most critical and influential bodies in the land of digital advertising.

Cheung, on the other hand, was featured as an expert in B&T’s two-part investigation into the digital advertising industry’s environmental record. Scope3 tacks the carbon emissions generated through digital advertising – its 2023 estimates suggested that programmatic advertising in the US, UK, Australia, Germany and France alone creates more than 215,000 metric tons of carbon per month.

She told B&T that the scrutiny on the industry, while new, is very welcome but added that regulation might be necessary if brands did not start to clean up their acts.

Now to the Engineering category. The Trade Desk’s Azadeh Khojandi has previously won the Tech category at the Women in Media Awards and has a remarkable story about overcoming adversity.

She explained to B&T following the awards her childhood in Iran was challenging as she (and other women) faced “systemic discrimination” and had even been fired upon by police during a protest for women’s rights. Now, however, she leads the Women in TTD” internal network that helps the business’ female employees develop the soft skills necessary to progress in their careers. Some 120 women from across The Trade Desk’s APAC teams regularly attend the sessions which attract international speaking talent from outside the organisation.

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In the Executive Leader category, two titans of the industry have featured in B&T previously – Rebecca Haagsma, Nine’s chief product officer, and Katrina Troughton, vice president & managing director of Adobe ANZ.

Speaking ahead of last year’s Women Leading Tech Awards, Haagsma (who once upon a time was B&T’s publisher) explained that her career had seen her move between print and online businesses to broadcasters and telcos.

“I’ve definitely worked in the industry long enough to have been the only woman in the room many times – and still sometimes today. However, I’m seeing so many more women participating in the industry, leading the way, and having a voice in the room,” she said.

Troughton, meanwhile, has written about the transformative powers of generative AI and how it can transform businesses.

“More than just a tool, generative AI’s full potential is unlocked when it becomes an extension of human creativity, problem-solving, and innovation. It can streamline operations, democratise marketing, and ensure responsible experiences. As humans embrace and guide its evolution, the boundaries of what’s achievable are pushed further, ultimately leading to transformative outcomes in various industries,” she wrote.

The final shortlisted woman we’re looking at today is Azadeh Williams. She has featured in our Best of the Best PR categories over the years, as well as in our Women in Media and Women Leading Tech Awards previously. Aside from regularly pitching stories for her excellent and numerous clients to B&T’s occasionally busy news desk, she has published her own op-eds with us.

“I’ll never forget the first year at AZK Media pitching for new business, entering the boardrooms, and immediately feeling ‘different’. Not in capability or experience, but in the way I looked, my name, and my gender. I was the only dark-haired female in the room that didn’t have a traditional Anglo-Celtic name,” she wrote.

“This ‘difference’ wasn’t at all a problem before ‘Agency land’ when I was a global business and technology journalist. Nobody cared about my appearance or gender, as long as I could write a great story about them.

“But I turned the tables and got into the ‘business decision-making room,’ and the atmosphere was very different.”

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