Women to watch: Celebrating our pioneering female customers

by The Smartsheet Team

This year, in honor of International Women’s Day and the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, TIME magazine celebrated a century of influential women with a special issue, 100 Women of the Year. We were honored to partner with TIME to present this extraordinary issue.

Now, we’re celebrating some of our pioneering female customers, taking a look at what they’ve achieved, what they make possible — and look forward to their future innovations.

WandaJean Jones, EdD, Digital Learning Evangelist, GE Healthcare

Based in: Louisville, KY USA

Dr. Wandajean Jones

WandaJean Jones, EdD, is a sheer force of nature. A working mother who completed her Doctorate in Education while working full-time and taking care of her family, Dr. Jones has served as digital learning evangelist at GE Healthcare in the US and Canada. Her accomplishments have recently earned her a promotion to a global role, where she will lead the implementation and expansion of GE Healthcare Commercial's existing learning technology portfolio for teams around the world.

A teacher at heart, Dr. Jones is gifted at encouraging her colleagues to adopt innovative technologies by starting with what they already know and building off of that. And she’s no stranger to technology innovations. In her previous roles at GE, she spearheaded significant operational upgrades that significantly impacted her organization.

Dr. Jones is also a champion of diversity and inclusion, previously serving as president of GE Global Operations African American Forum (AAF), leading members in establishing personal and professional networks, and serving to attract and retain diverse talent at GE.

Hina Patel, Director, Customer Experience Engineering, Cisco

Based in: San Francisco, CA USA

Hina Patel

Hina Patel is one of the forces powering Cisco Systems — a Fortune 500 technology company that powers the internet. Cisco is a critical partner to its customers, and as director of customer experience engineering, Patel keeps her customers at the forefront of everything she does.

The CX engineering team is responsible for building software products that enables the $12B Cisco Services business. Patel oversees financial operations, change management, technical program management, communications, and agile transformation for CX engineering. The process and governance improvements she’s implemented help drive accountability within her team, and helps her team better serve customers.

Patel also leads in her community, serving as a college coach for young women with the organization iMentor. iMentor matches highschool students in low-income communities — many of whom would be the first in their families to graduate college — with community leaders who build long-term personal relationships with students to help them succeed. She has also adopted a school in her home village in Gujarat, India where the focus is to provide education to the local children from preschool to high school.

Lynn Schlesinger, CMO, Forbes

Based in: New York, NY USA

Lynne Schlesinger

Lynn Schlesinger is the Chief Marketing Officer of Forbes, where she is responsible for brand marketing, demand generation, audience acquisition, insights, and strategy, integrated marketing, and design development. As CMO, she is also leading Forbes’ marketing organization in a digital transformation initiative.

Since joining Forbes in 2019 as Group Vice President, Brand and Demand Marketing, Schlesinger has re-architected the company’s go-to-market strategy, introducing best practices, a new CRM, and other digital tools to increase efficiencies and streamline operations.

Maricarmen Vargas, Director of Marketing Operations, Vuelo6

Based in: Puerto Rico

Maricarmen Vargas

A marketing powerhouse, entrepreneur, and intrapreneur, Maricarmen Vargas founded Electronic Sports Puerto Rico, hosting multiple competitive video gaming events with thousands of competitors and seen by over 500,000 people, contributing to the development of the esports industry — and working to the playing field for female executives and competitors.

Vargas has also inspired her community, bringing assistance to those who need it most. In her volunteer work with the disaster and humanitarian relief organization Puerto Rico No Está Apaga’o, she recruited and assigned tasks to around 150 volunteers from various states to handle donations and shipments from collection centers in the United States and to support delivery and distribution logistics of hurricane relief supplies in Puerto Rico.

Carmen Ehret, Director, Global Enablement Programs, SAP

Based in: Alpharetta, GA

Carmen Ehret is a difference-maker to thousands by connecting them with education. As Director of Global Enablement Programs at SAP Ariba, Ehret oversees building, managing, and implementing LevelUP — a global skills assessment and learning plan for over 5,000 employees. Her work empowers employees to self-assess their skills; then, based on the skill gaps identified, they are provided with a customized learning plan.

Not only does Ehret’s work provide her organization with an inventory of employee skills, but it also provides employees with flexible, individualized, and in many cases, online learning programs that give them the tools they need to master new skills — and have their new competencies confirmed and recorded.

Outside of work, Ehret is also driven to help others learn. She is on the PTA board as the VP of Fundraising, and volunteers at her local elementary school in STEM and Brain Building classes and for Retouch the World, a non-profit organization that builds schools and provides an education to kids in Kenya.

Ana Davis, Head Health, Safety & Environment, North America — Crop Protection, Syngenta

Based in: Jamestown, NC USA

Ana Davis

Ana Davis is the head of Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE), North America — Crop Protection at Syngenta, a global agricultural chemical company that seeks to accelerate innovation so it can help farmers boost their yields through better seeds, agricultural products and services, while improving biodiversity and sustainability.

In her role, Davis is responsible for leading the North America team who are focused on the development and deployment of health, safety and environment programs across a multitude of business units, including active ingredient chemical manufacturing, crop protection chemical formulation, seeds operations, field production, research & development, and commercial.

Under Davis’s leadership, the North America HSE team has established a number of innovative safety programs, including the development of a Syngenta safety culture assessment process. Not only is safety improved when the most urgent issues are dealt with right away, but employees get immediate feedback and know they’ve made a difference.

Shelley Zalis, CEO, The Female Quotient

Based in: Los Angeles, CA USA

Shelley Zalis

Self-proclaimed chief troublemaker, innovation junkie, and big idea thinker-upper, Shelley Zalis is an internationally-renowned thought leader for advancing equality in the workplace, and CEO and founder of The Female Quotient.

A pioneer in online research, Zalis founded OTX (Online Testing Exchange) which soon became one of the largest and fastest-growing research companies in the world — and catapulting Zalis to be the first female chief executive ranked in the research industry’s top 28.

Today, through The Female Quotient, Zalis is advancing gender equality across many industries and career levels with the Equality Lounge®, pop-up experiences at conferences across the globe, such as The World Economic Forum, Cannes Lions and the Consumer Electronics Show, as well as within companies. She is also leading initiatives within corporations by activating solutions for change with The Female Quotient’s Equality Bootcamps.

Mariana Stephens, Deputy Director, Children Without Worms, The Task Force for Global Health

Based in: Atlanta, GA

Mariana Stephens

Mariana Stephens is deputy director at Children Without Worms, a program of the The Task Force for Global Health, a non-governmental organization that works to control, eliminate, and eradicate debilitating diseases. In her current role, she works to reduce intestinal worm infections that affect more than one billion people worldwide. In her previous role, she used Smartsheet to manage the tracking and reporting on nearly 200 projects.

“The most exciting thing about my work is providing solid program management systems that allow an easy interface between my team members no matter where they are located," says Stephens. Along with her team, Stephens continues to lead the way in adopting technology to help cut down on administrative overhead and enable teams at The Task Force to focus their efforts in serving communities.

Jessica Burton, Senior Manager, Marketing Operations, Arc'teryx Equipment

Based in: Vancouver, B.C. Canada

Jess Burton

When it comes to driving innovation, Jess Burton looks to her values. “[At Arc’teryx], our values factor into our work and our personal life, the work we do, and also how we work within our community,” says Burton. Driven by more than a passion for the outdoors, Burton is proud to be a part of a company that lives by its value of “Do Right” — for each other and for the planet.