19 Female Founders Working in #HRTech

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The field of human resources is a predominantly female one. Practitioners are most likely working in a human resources capacity are women. John Sumser’s 2011 research found those female were 47, married and Caucasian. Conversely, the startup and technology industry is filled with males under age 30.  Men are the majority job holders in technology and founders in the startup world. In the last six months half a dozen Silicon Valley companies have released their staffing and diversity data further exposing the hiring and industry gaps when it comes to tech.  To help increase the number of women in technology, Google created a coding education program for women. Called Women Techmakers, the program is no longer accepting applications due to its popularity. This fact alone makes me hopeful that women are finding success in whatever field they believe they need to be, technology included.

Does a Gender Gap Exist in HR Tech?

I’ve been part of many conversations from the tech community since moving to Silicon Valley where I was told women are a liability particularly in the startup world where they (women) can distract male founders from doing work or better yet get pregnant having to take time off for maternity leave. Just yesterday, an article was published on Wired.com that discussed the gender gap in technology and the obstacles and challengers female founders experience fundraising and working in technology. Two of the CEOs quoted in the Wired article are included in our list below.

Being a woman working in the HR industry, I have experienced a similar type of discrimination as outlined in the Wired article. I am a woman thought leader and technologist trying to make my way in an industry that is predominantly female and yet the thought leaders, CEOs and  published authors in the HR and recruiting space are nearly all male and over 40. In experiencing this surprising and unexpected resistance, I sought the friendship and mentorship by building relationships with women in technology particularly, HR tech where I am happy to report there are women founders and CEOs who are building great companies, products and services for the industry.

Women in HR Technology

I was also surprised to find no definitive list for female founders and CEOs in HR technology especially since this industry is projected to be $8.1 billion by 2015. There are lists in our industry for thought leaders, those with the highest number of Twitter followers, best blogs and practitioner lists. And yet there was no list of female founders and CEOs of HR technology companies. That is until now. Here are 19 women sitting at the helm of companies in HR tech moving forward to transform HR, recruiting and job search industries.

(You can also follow these amazing women of HR tech on Twitter by clicking here)

  • Marylene Delbourg-Delphis. (@mddelphis) Marylene is the CEO of TalentCircles. She is a long-time fixture in Silicon Valley having founded and was CEO for 4th Dimension.
  • Stacy Chapman. (@stacychapman) Stacy is the co-founder of Swoop Talent. She is one of the premier consultants and professionals on workforce planning having worked with some of the biggest brands in the world in strategic talent acquisition.
  • Perri Blake Gorman. (@bethebutterfly) Perri is the CEO and Founder of Archive.ly. Before working in technology, she was a successful finance and Wall Street recruiter in New York City and China.
  • Joanna Riley Weidenmiller. (@joannarileyw) Joanna is the CEO of 1 Page. She’s had an eclectic career as an entrepreneur, FBI agent and even a model prior to launching her proposal based platform technology.
  • Danielle Weinblatt. (@dweinblatt) Danielle is the CEO of Take the Interview. A Harvard MBA grad, she has a background as an investment banker before working in HR technology. Interesting to note she is also a professionally trained opera singer.
  • Karen Cariss. (@pageuppeople) Karen is the CEO of PageUp People. Karen is based out of Singapore. PageUp People is a cloud based HR technology designed for international hiring and recruiting. Karen has a degree in Microbiology.
  • Kathryn Minshew. (@kmin) Katheryn is the CEO of The Muse. Her website and platform is focused on career development and growth. Prior to working in HR technology, Kathryn worked with the Clinton Health Access Initiative to distribute the HPV Vaccine in Rwanda and Malawi.
  • Caitlin MacGregor. (@caitmacgregor) Caitlin is the CEO of Plum, a people assessment tool aimed at better hiring. Caitlin is well-traveled having spent 4 months in 2009 traveling around the world.
  • Robin Eads. (@imjustagoyle) Robin is the co-founder of JobShouts and has a background as a recruiting practitioner. She’s also the lead singer of The Red Sunday.
  • Alexandra Cavoulacos. (@acav) Alex is the founder and COO of the Muse. She has a background working at various positions at a management consulting company.
  • Deborah Muller. (@hracuity) Deborah is the CEO of HR Acuity, a technology that allows for neutral workplace investigations. Debbie has an executive HR practitioner background working with a number of well-known brands.
  • Sara Sutton Fell. (@flexjobs ) Sara has founded several companies in HR technology with mostly recently being FlexJobs. For three years, Sara took a hiatus from technology working at the Culinary School of the Rockies.
  • Lisa Scales. (@tribepad) Lisa is the co-founder of TribePad, a social ATS helping companies recruit better. Lisa brings global human capital experience as a HR practitioner and former recruiter.
  • Kelsey Conophy. (@krconophy) Kelsey is the CEO of WorkZeit focused on creating happy employees. She is experienced working in the startup world and has a background in PR, marketing and design.
  • Sandra Panara. (@s_panara) Sandra is the founder of HireQ, focused on introducing great jobs to great candidates. She has an impressive breadth of experience in workplace strategy development and analytics.
  • Leah Eichler. (@femmeonomics). Leah is the founder and CEO of r/ally, a knowledge management platform focused on producitivy and collaboration. Leah has a background in journalism and has spoken at TEDx.
  • Lois Melbourne. (@loismelbourne) Lois is the former CEO of Aquire which was acquired by PeopleFluent in 2011. She’s the founder of My Future Story focused on helping kids explore career options.
  • Christine Bird. (@christine_bird) Christine is the co-founder of Plum. She has a degree in Art Conservation. Be sure to ask Christine about the story of Plum’s beginnings.
  • Fiona Anson. (@hiremeup_oz) Fiona is a co-founder of Workible, a mobile recruitment app for flexible workforce industries. Fiona is an experienced coach and keynote speaker working with a number of notable organizations from the Fortune 100.

Did I leave a women founder or CEO of an HR technology company off the list? Feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll update the list promptly.

Click here to follow our follow the entire list of female CEO and founders in HR Technology! 

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

Reader Interactions


  1. Nadia says

    Hi Jessica – terrific list! I’ve worked with several of the amazing women highlighted! What an honor. I’m now with Mom Corps (@MomCorps), and CEO Allison O’Kelly (@AllisonOKelly) started the company ten years ago to help companies recruit for professional roles in finance, IT, etc. with some form of work flexibility.

  2. Lois Melbourne says

    Susan Marks is the CEO of Pinstripe! She certainly makes your list. Thanks for including me.

  3. Laura says

    Founder of Imprint Global, Vanessa Gavan. HR technology that allows organisations to develop their employees

  4. Samara Parker says

    I love how you identified a problem, then solved it!

    This list is fantastic, I just subscribed to it, thank you for the hard work and wonderful insights.

  5. Jonathan Duarte says

    Hi Jessica,
    How about Edna Nakamoto, SPHR, and Founder of The Applicant Manager (TAM) a MidMarket ATS. Edna has translated her 25 years of experience creating and implementing Human Resources policies and programs, into an excellent applicant tracking system. She also serves on the SHRM Measures and Metrics taskforce.

    – JD

  6. Tim Ryan says

    May I add Autumn Manning to the list? She’s co-founder and CEO of Employee Engagement software company @YouEarnedIt . Thanks @jmillermerrell


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