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From the desk of CEO Jeri: Women Tech Leaders in the Midwest Who Inspire Me


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

As a young-ish female owner and CEO of a web development company, nothing is more inspiring or energizing to me than to see bad ass women leading great tech companies. I respect them, I cheer them on, I learn from them. Currently, women leaders in the tech industry tend to be few and far between; Recent Gartner research revealed that only 22% of IT leaders are women. And the percentage of women C-suite executives is even lower. However, they are making a big impact in their companies, communities and the world. 

As a company we are passionate about promoting diversity and inclusivity, whether it’s through this company or others. If you’re wondering who to watch and learn from, this blog post highlights just some of the inspiring Midwest women leaders in tech. 

So, without further ado, here is my list:

Nancy Lyons, Clockwork

Nancy Lyons is the founder and CEO of Clockwork, an interactive design and technology firm located right here in the Twin Cities. If you live here and you’re in this industry you have heard of her. You’ve probably been inspired by her. When I was managing projects seven years ago, I picked up the book she co-authored with equally inspiring Meghan McInerny about Interactive Project Management. It’s a book I have all new project managers to this space read. I’m looking forward to reading her upcoming book about being in business and being a nice person. She’s hilarious and approachable and filled with wisdom. When I purchased BlueEarth in 2016 and became sole owner I put a stake in the ground that like Nancy preached, we would have a “Human-centered Culture”. Period.

Nancy is a recipient of so many awards for her awesomeness. The Business Journal’s ’40 Under 40′ and ‘Women To Watch’ awards. Recently the Minneapolis Saint Paul Business Journal named Nancy to their list of Most Admired CEOs in Minnesota. And she books speaking gigs, so check her out.

Clearly I’m a fangirl, professionally speaking… and moving on.

Amanda Lannert, Jellyvision

Amanda Lannert is the CEO at Jellyvision, a Chicago-based company that builds interactive human resources software.

Under Amanda’s leadership, Jellyvision has grown to serve more than 1500 mostly Fortune 1000 clients with ALEX, a benefits communication software.

The company has been recognized as the Best Software Company and Best Culture by the Moxies, the 2015 Lighthouse winner by the ITA, a top 10 best place to work in Chicago by The Chicago Tribune and the #1 place for millennials to work in Chicago according to Crain’s.

Amanda was named CEO of the Year at the Moxie Awards in 2014 and 2015, Woman in Tech in 2016, Woman of the Year for the Chicago Rotary Club of 2018, and was recognized as 2016’s Industry Champion by the Illinois Technology Association.

She’s also very active in Chicago’s startup community and serves on numerous board. Earlier this year, Jellyvision won a coveted spot on Inc.’s 2019 Best Workplaces list.

Jenna Pederson, 612 Software Foundry

Jenna Pederson is founder and CEO of 612 Software Foundry, also located right here in the Twin Cities.

Jenna is passionate about making space for more women in tech and entrepreneurship. She is a proud co-founder of Hack The Gap, led the Twin Cities Geekettes for a number of years, served on The Iron Yard Board of Advisors for Minneapolis, and served on the City of Saint Paul’s Innovation Cabinet to develop a strategy for job and business growth around technology and innovation in Saint Paul.

Stephanie Leffler, OneSpace

Stephanie Leffler is the co-founder and CEO of OneSpace, located in Illinois. 

Stephanie is a serial entrepreneur who founded two other companies, juggle.com and MonsterCommerce before starting OneSpace. Stephanie has been recognized as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Finalist in 2013, an Alive Magazine Buzz List Winner, St. Louis Business Journal “40 Under 40” Winner, and St. Louis Business Journal “30 Under 30” Winner.

One other cool thing to note is that the executive leadership team of OneSpace is comprised solely of women! Woot!

Hats off to all of these incredible women, the boundaries they are pushing and the ceilings they are breaking! They are true champions for diversity in our industry. As girls and young women are able to see themselves represented at the top of tech companies we will see that sad 22% statistic grow to something that we can all be proud of. 

BlueEarth Innovation is passionate about creating essential custom software solutions. We deliver the right solution for YOUR project, superior project management, and transparent and up-front pricing. For more information, visit our website or check us out on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.