8 powerhouse women you need on your board now

For years we saw the laws and mandates coming, and now they’re here. Publicly held companies in California must include board members from underrepresented communities. Goldman Sachs announced it will not take a company public unless it has at least one board member from an underrepresented background. NASDAQ wants to require every company listed on its exchange to include at least one woman and minority person on their boards. 

Historically, board seats have been filled with current and former CEOs and CFOs. While boards still require that expertise, of course, recent years have seen the rise of the independent operator as board director, a move which brings deep domain expertise, strong business acumen, and cross-functional scaling experience. Savvy CEOs value those wide-ranging skills and appreciate the additional perspectives, partnerships, and growth opportunities a diverse board provides. 

As a talent practitioner, I’m well versed on the intricacies of board placements. Now at Operator Collective, I work to connect our tech executive operator LPs with board and advisory opportunities. Having been on both sides of the placement equation, I’ve seen how corporate board recruiting strategies are evolving. One emerging trend is to avoid overboarding, and instead look at first-time directors who can bring fresh perspectives and new energy. 

Here we’re proud to highlight 8 women tech leaders looking for their first board seats. Any company would be lucky to add their acumen, experience, and expertise to their board room. 

Nancy Wang
General Manager, Data Protection Services at Amazon Web Services

Nancy Wang is a global product and technical leader at Amazon Web Services, where she leads P&L, product, engineering, and design for its data protection and governance businesses. Prior to Amazon, she led SaaS product development at Rubrik, the fastest-growing enterprise software unicorn. Passionate about advancing more women into technical roles, Nancy is the Founder & CEO of Advancing Women in Tech, a global 501(c)(3) nonprofit with 16,000+ members spanning three continents. Recently, the a16z Women on Boards boot camp inducted her into its ranks.

LaFawn Davis
Group Vice President, Environmental, Social, & Governance, Indeed

LaFawn Davis is a respected technology executive with 15+ years of experience. Currently she’s a Group Vice President at Indeed, leading teams that focus on Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging, Product Inclusion, Accessibility, Social Impact, AI Ethics, and Environmental Sustainability. Previously she’s held key senior leadership roles at global technology companies like Google, Yahoo, PayPal and Twilio. Recently she was named to Fast Company’s Queer50 – a ranking of the most influential and innovative queer women and nonbinary people transforming business and tech.

Jessica Rusin
Chief Technology Officer, Guild Education 

Jessica Rusin has more than a decade of experience providing technical leadership while designing and developing high quality web and mobile apps for both enterprise and small business. She served as CTO through Guild Education’s scale from an early stage EduTech company to a $1B unicorn. Jessica is an accomplished problem solver with strong knowledge of both front-end and back-end technologies and expertise in object-orientated software development. 

Monique Dorsainvil
Public Policy, Facebook 

At Facebook Monique Dorsainvil leads engagement with third-party think tank and advocacy organizations, and was a part of the core team that spearheaded the company’s Civil Rights Audit, which looked at policy and product from an anti-discrimination lens. Prior to that, she spent seven and a half years at the White House, most recently as Deputy Chief of Staff to Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. Monique is known for her expansive, consensus-driven leadership and governance.

Eda Gultekin
General Manager, Asana 

Eda Gultekin leads sales, customer success, and partnerships for Asana’s Americas group. Previously she was a senior consultant at Bain Consulting before becoming the Director of North American Enterprise Sales at LinkedIn. Eda built LinkedIn’s talent ads business; her tour of duty at LinkedIn was detailed by Reid Hoffman in his book, The Alliance. Eda is passionate about leadership and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), driving change through the Women’s Initiative, a LinkedIn leadership program she co-founded.

Danielle Lee
Chief Fan Officer, National Basketball Association

At the NBA, Danielle Lee leads brand, creative, and multi-platform fan marketing globally. She’s an accomplished marketing executive, widely recognized for being a change agent, leading brand and innovation strategy, and delivering strong in-market results for some of the world’s most respected brands including Spotify, where she served as the Global Vice President of Partner Solutions when they went from $3B to nearly $30B following their 2018 IPO.

Ann Funai
Senior Vice President of Engineering and Interim Head of Product, MyFitnessPal

Ann Funai is an experienced technology officer, known for leading customer-focused technical organizations. Before her current position at MyFitnessPal, she was the SVP of Engineering at Under Armour and CTO of PeopleAdmin, where she was part of the leadership team who took the company through sale. On top of that, Ann has 20 years at IBM under her figurative belt, as well as a great deal of experience integrating and divesting teams through M&A.

Alka Tandan
Senior Vice President of Finance, Gainsight 

Alka Tandan has over 20 years of corporate finance, operations, and M&A experience in the technology industry, mostly focused on SaaS. Her career spans respected companies like SAP, Actian, and MetricStream and includes several successful exits. Alka has raised over half a billion dollars in venture and debt financing, while also being considered a strong strategic partner across the business. Most recently, she was part of the executive team that scaled Gainsight to a $1B unicorn. 

We believe culture, diversity, and operational excellence are a key part of building truly great companies. Learn more on our website or by connecting with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.