In celebration of Ada Lovelace, the first female programmer, today is Ada Lovelace Day. To honor her contributions in science and technology and inspire others to follow her path, thousands of bloggers, including myself, have pledged to blog about specific women in science and technology or about women in science and technology in general on this day to help raise the profile of women in technology.
For this, I have decided to provide the biographies of six of the many women who are shaping Israel’s technology industry who I think are amazing. Please note that these women are far from the only ones who have contributed and/or are contributing in Israel and that there are many others just as inspiring:
Orna Berry: Orna Berry has been an active member of and contributor to Israel’s science and technology industries for three decades and has significantly helped shape Israel’s venture capital and industry landscapes. After playing the role of entrepreneur by co-founding ORNET Data Communication Technologies Ltd. in 1993 and then successfully selling it to Siemens AG in 1995, Berry joined Gemini Israel Funds as a Partner in 2000, where she has helped startups, such as Prime Sense and Aladdin Knowledge Systems Ltd., get off the ground and establish themselves.
In addition to working with companies individually as a venture capitalist, Berry has represented and still represents the Israeli venture capital community as Chairperson of the Israel Venture Association (IVA). She has also helped form government policy that positively impacted industrial research and development when she was Chief Scientist and Director of the Industrial R&D Administration of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Government of Israel from 1997 to 2000.
Bina Rezinovsky: Rezinovsky has been in the news the past week for resigning from Cisco Israel. According to Ha’aretz, during Rezinovsky’s tenure “Cisco Israel grew at a 20% annual rate and made a number of Israeli acquisitions. The local branch finished 2007 with $500 million in revenues and won most of the large communications equipment tenders in the country. Rezinovsky won Cisco Europe’s management prize in 2006.”
Ruth Alon: After working in various positions at Memorex and Unisys in the U.S., Alon founded and then headed the Internet service provider (ISP), Netvision in 1994. It has since become the largest ISP in Israel. Alon currently serves on the Advisory Board of Landmark Ventures and the Board of Directors of the “Technion – Israel Institute of Technology” and the Technion’s Executive & Academic Development Committees.
Miriam Schwab: Though probably best known for helping to popularize the content management system (CMS), WordPress in Israel and being an expert on blogging, Miriam Schwab is one of the most inspiring women on Israel’s technology scene right now for several other reasons as well.
Aside from founding and heading the successful marketing company, Illuminea, playing an important part in promoting Israel abroad and helping non-profits in Jerusalem understand social media to better thrive, Schwab is also the founder of the website BizzyWomen.com.
Founded in the summer of 2008, Bizzy Women is meant to be a one-stop site for busy women with the most useful information on topics in finance, entrepreneurship and parenting among others (disclosure: I have contributed articles to the site before).
Orli Yakuel: Orli Yakuel is a leading voice on Web 2.0 applications in Israel and abroad. She is the co-founder of Go2Web20.net, a directory of Web 2.0 applications, and editor of the Go2web20 blog, her personal blog about Web 2.0 technology.
Shari Arison: Best known for inheriting the fortune her father left from founding Carnival Cruises Lines, Shari Arison has been an active philanthropist over the years and has, most recently, taken a specific interest in clean technology and water conservation solutions. In 2006, Arison founded Miya, a company with the mission to reduce water loss and better manage urban water systems. To date, Arison has invested $100 million in Miya and impressively recruited water technology maven, Booky Oren to head the operation. The company was launched publicly in late 2008.
What woman in Israel’s tech scene do you admire? Whether someone on this list or not, share it in the comments below!