Women to Watch

(original cred. goes to Entrepreneur )... inspiring women making a difference.

The bridge-builder

Michele Weslander Quaid brought the
start-up lifestyle to the Government sector

"Her latest effort: a series of programs open to developers (not just Google's) to show them how to create products based on Google's open-source technology that best fit government agencies' needs. The idea is to show government agencies and technology startups that by working together they can enjoy a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship."

"The government is risk-averse and likes the status quo, but it needs to keep up with the pace of innovation," Weslander Quaid says. "Tech companies are there to help. My job is to help both work within and around the rules and regulations, so that the public sector gets the best technology solutions of the day, and spend less of taxpayer dollars."

The translator

Rana el Kaiouby develops facial recognition software revolutionizing marketing techniques

"El Kaliouby and her MIT Media Lab colleague Rosalind Picard are the minds behind Waltham, Mass.-based startup Affectiva, whose flagship Affdex Facial Coding integrates automated facial-expression-recognition technology to measure and interpret viewers' emotional responses to brands, advertising campaigns and other digital video content. Forget focus groups, telemarketer surveys and other traditional audience research tools hamstrung by self-reporting variables: Cloud-based Affdex probes even the most subtle nonverbal cues to reveal what consumers really think about a program or product."

"You can understand so much about how consumers perceive a brand by analyzing their spontaneous, subconscious responses," says el Kaliouby, Affectiva's chief science officer. "If you're a content creator looking to elicit a certain emotion, we can validate that. In cases where an ad is trying to elicit humor, we can tell you if people get the jokes or not by the number of people who smile, the intensity of the smile and the timing of the smile. There are so many cases where self-reported responses get it wrong. Facial response is more accurate."

The healer

Nina Nashif helps discover solutions
to gleaming medical costs

"Perhaps no one understands the inefficiencies plaguing the global healthcare industry better than Nina Nashif. After more than 15 years of experience in healthcare management, Nashif believes she has found a viable solution to the sector's woes: entrepreneurs.

In 2011 she founded Healthbox, a business-accelerator platform for early-stage healthcare-technology startups, to "advance innovation in the industry and to speed the pace at which it's identified and implemented."

Large healthcare organizations traditionally innovate from the inside out--a labyrinthine process that stalls progress. Nashif believes that if these organizations become early adopters of entrepreneurial solutions, co-creation will allow for faster advancement and, ultimately, more effective patient care. Healthbox's model aims to put together an ecosystem that allows entrepreneurs to access the industry resources and knowledge they need to build their businesses."

"Part of the challenge is that the system is so complicated, and often as an entrepreneur you don't even know where to enter. Every hospital and healthcare organization is different, so we spend a lot of time early on in the program helping entrepreneurs find where they fit in the context of the industry, really getting down to the details of how their solution would impact the operational process within [that organization]," says Chicago-based Nashif, who spoke at the TEDMed conference last year and was named a "Young Global Leader" by the World Economic Forum. "At the same time, we're out evangelizing in the industry, talking about how to become an early adopter."

The humanitarian

Leila Janah strives to attacks
poverty through education

"Leila Janah didn't launch Samasource to make it rich. She did it to make a difference.

Samasource creates living-wage digital jobs for women and youths in emerging markets, including sub-Saharan Africa, southern Asia and the Caribbean. It collaborates with in-country partners to recruit prospective employees and tackle client needs such as data augmentation, digital transcription, image tagging for SEO and machine learning. On average, Samasource workers more than double their incomes after only a few months on the job, and 92 percent stay out of poverty after leaving the nonprofit."

"Something has to be done about extreme poverty," says Janah, Samasource's CEO. "It's an abomination that half the world's population lives on $3 to $4 a day. It's disgusting to me. I couldn't live with myself if I didn't do something about it."

The tech teacher

Michele Rowley- a role model for women
in a male dominated industry

"Computer-related employment is growing rapidly, but gender diversity is woefully behind other industries. Although women made up 51 percent of 2012's professional work force, they accounted for only a quarter of computer-industry staffing. Women make up 34 percent of web developers, 23 percent of programmers, 20 percent of software developers and 15 percent of information-security analysts. Perhaps most shocking, only 1.5 percent of open-source code--the backbone of the web--is programmed by women"

Rowley learned to code through friends and self-teaching, and once she got work as a programmer, she entered a primarily male work environment. She was often asked to represent the female perspective.

"That is a weird dynamic--being the only woman in the room--and they are all staring at you because they have to," she says. "I thought, I wonder how the dynamics would change if we could get more women involved."

The matchmaker

Nicole Glaros finds the right people to create
high profile companies- over and over

"Techstars' roster of mentors includes a wide array of entrepreneurs, industry experts and venture capitalists, such as Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, angel investor Esther Dyson and Vimeo and CollegeHumor.com co-founder Josh Abramson.

Glaros, like other managing directors at Techstars' seven campuses, serves as the networking hub of her programs, connecting startups with mentors, experts, investors and anyone else she believes could help. Such connections, she says, are Techstars' "killer app," the one that results in roughly 90 percent of graduates building sustainable businesses or being acquired."

The fixer

Caryn Seidman revolutionized the travel industry
- by getting past security

In Caryn Seidman-Becker's world, it takes just one hour to get from downtown Orlando, Fla., to the airport and into a seat on the plane just before the door is closed and the flight takes off. "One hour, door to door, done," says the chairman and CEO of Clear.

How does she do it? Her company allows users to circumvent the biggest bottleneck in air travel: the security line. Wielding chip-embedded membership cards, Clear subscribers are fast-tracked past the queue by checking in at special kiosks where their identities are biometrically authenticated through either fingerprints or iris scanning.

Founded in 2003 by entrepreneur and journalist Steven Brill, New York City-based Clear (then called FlyClear) had won the hearts of 200,000 paying members, contracts with at least a dozen airports and $75 million in venture capital before the economic downturn, an unattended laptop full of customer data and $33 million in debt bankrupted the company in December 2009.