Women Tech Founders, a Chicago-based organization dedicated to advancing women in the tech industry, recognized 14 women from around the world on their achievements in tech.
The third annual Women in Tech Awards were hosted Thursday night at Galleria Marchetti. The 14 winners were chosen from 65 finalists hailing from eight different countries, said Terri Brax, the co-founder and CEO of Women Tech Founders. More than 3,000 ballots and over 40,000 votes were cast within the competition’s first week of voting.
About half of the winners hail from Chicago, while the rest come from several other U.S. cities and London. Instead of giving out plaques or trophies, Women Tech Founders gives winners MMA-style belts.
“It represents the fight that underrepresented people have in industries like tech,” Brax said.
The event also included a pitch showcase in which female founders shared their businesses in front of a panel of judges made up of female venture capitalists. Ty’Lisha Summers, the founder of student loan-repayment startup SpenDebt won the pitch competition and $1,000.
“We’re reflecting on the ways we can grow the community for all women, not just certain groups of women,” Brax said.
See all 14 of the 2019 Women in Tech Awards winners below:
Women Tech Founder Andrea Srestha, co-founder, LuminAID (Chicago)
Ally Award Erika Jefferson, founder and president, Black Women In Science & Engineering (Chicago)
Education Award Roya Mahboob, CEO and president, Digital Citizen Fund (New York)
FinTech Award Natalie Gil, chief technology officer, The Blockchain Challenge (Boston)
Health Award Feyi Olopade Ayodele, founder and CEP, CancerIQ (Chicago)
Inspiring Innovator Award Michelle King, head of integrated strategy for gender innovation, UN Women (New York)
Intelligence & Automation Terri Foundray, founder and CEO, RUMBLE (Kansas)
Investor in Women Chenxi Wang, managing general partner, Rain Capital (California)
Lifestyle Chanay Walton, founder and CEO, My Pay Circle (Chicago)
Manufacturing & IoT Delna Sepoy Straus, co-founder and chief operations officer, KEYO (Chicago)
Media & Marketing Melissa Lederer, chief experience officer, mHUB (Chicago)
Social Impact Jamila Parham, founder, The Tech Unicorn (Chicago)
Talent Alicia Driskill, founder and CEO, EvolveHer (Chicago)
International Women in Tech Tugce Bulut, founder and CEO, Streetbees (London)