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15 Women in Tech lead the way in Puerto Rico

Ironhack Puerto Rico: “These women are not just part of the industry but are pivotal in shaping its future.”

Technology continues to reshape our lives and business landscapes, propelling society toward a future rich with innovative possibilities such as artificial intelligence and groundbreaking new technologies. Despite these advances, a significant gap remains in the representation of women in tech.

Citing the National Center for Women and Information Technology, Ironhack Puerto Rico stated that Latinas make up only 3% of the computing workforce in the United States.

Although precise data for Puerto Rico is lacking, the trend appears similar, with too few women leading in the tech sector, it stated.

In a positive stride toward change, Ironhack Puerto Rico launched a weekly campaign during the months of April and May to spotlight talented women in tech and encouraged the community to nominate deserving figures.

“While we know many worthy women have yet to be recognized, this initiative marks a beginning. For 2024, we are proud to announce our list of 15 Women in Tech from Puerto Rico, ranging from innovative entrepreneurs to accomplished CTOs. These women are not just part of the industry but are pivotal in shaping its future,” the company stated.

“We aim to acknowledge all the remarkable women in this field. Together with our partner Next Level Solutions, we are broadening the scope of AI education and tech opportunities for women beyond traditional computer science careers. We are committed to empowering women in human resources to harness AI for a more productive daily life. That being said, five scholarships for our AI School will be given in collaboration with Society for Human Resource Management –Puerto Rico,” Ironhack officials said.

Xiomara Figueroa

Xiomara is a seasoned tech leader and software engineer with a proven track record. She is passionate about transforming ideas into beloved, user-friendly products. As the co-founder and former CTO of BookSloth, she played an integral role in shaping the platform from its inception to becoming a beloved community hub for book lovers. Alongside her entrepreneurial journey, Xiomara continues to empower aspiring founders and professionals through mentorship, sharing her insights and expertise to help them navigate the challenges of the startup world.

Keren Henríquez

Keren Henríquez has dedicated her career to promoting educational innovation and digital transformation in companies, as well as inspiring and empowering women to become entrepreneurs. For 20 years, she led the strategy and vision of Digital Transformation in Education at Microsoft Caribbean, positively impacting more than 400,000 students and educators in the Caribbean region. 

Through initiatives like Digi Girlz and the Microsoft Showcase Schools program, she has fostered the inclusion of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines and elevated the global competitiveness of public and private schools in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Keren has also been recognized with numerous awards for her commitment to quality education and promoting equity and diversity in Puerto Rico.

In 2019, Keren founded Reimagine Education, a company dedicated to driving educational innovation and digital transformation in companies, as well as inspiring and empowering women to become entrepreneurs. Through initiatives like STEAM 4 SEL and Hack The Class Challenge, she continues to promote inclusive learning and the adoption of technology in Puerto Rico. 

Additionally, in 2022 she founded Next Level Innovation to drive change in organizations by fostering a culture of innovation in the workplace. Keren serves on several boards and committees related to education and technological innovation in Puerto Rico and has extensive experience as a speaker at national and international events on educational innovation and gender equity.

Mildred Ramírez

Mildred Ramírez earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Puerto Rico-Humacao and a master’s in international business from Florida International University. She was then certified by Meta Platform in 2016 and currently holds certifications in Media Buying, Digital Marketing, and Creative Strategy. 

In 2018, she was accepted into the Facebook Developer F8 program where she was among the first 5,000 people to receive the inaugural Oculus Go from Mark Zuckerberg, immersing herself in virtual reality (VR) technology. This experience sparked her interest in VR, augmented reality, metaverse and AI technologies. 

In 2021, she developed the first virtual shopping mall in the metaverse called Clickéalo, which continues to be developed. Additionally, she serves on the board of directors of Enactus PR. She is a visionary, passionate about business, and she loves helping people reach their full potential by integrating innovation into their professions and ventures. Currently, she works as a business strategist and provides consultancy in AI.

Nannette Martínez

Nannette Martínez was appointed chief technology officer of the Government of Puerto Rico in January 2021 and went on to serve as executive director of the Puerto Rico Innovation and Technology Service (PRITS), where she held the role of chief innovation and information officer until June 2023. Among her most significant achievements in the public sector are the VacuID vaccination credential, the IDEAL platform for government data exchange and implementing the first Cybersecurity Program for executive branch entities. The program included centralized policies, monitoring and the implementation of cybersecurity controls.

She oversaw the government’s first Security Operations Center, which responded to some of the most well-known cyberattacks, as well as the Cyber Force collaboration, which leveraged citizen, state and federal commitment to information security in Puerto Rico. Currently, she supports technical teams of private companies on specialized topics such as implementing secure controls and developments through her company, Onboard.

Limary López

A dedicated leader in education development and risk prevention, including cybersecurity, Limary founded Esgist Consulting Services. Passionate about environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, Limary firmly believes that technology is the ally for the sustainable transformation of our businesses and society.

Additionally, in her constant pursuit of providing new opportunities and learning, Limary hosts a podcast called “The Girls Club,” where she utilizes technology to share global trends and how we can apply them in our personal lives. As an ambassador for the ISACA Foundation’s She Leads Tech program, Limary actively collaborates with other leaders to promote the inclusion and advancement of women.

Leira Sánchez

Leira Sánchez, a mechanical engineer turned software engineer, has found her true passion in working with startups. As the founder of Mofongo Jobs, Leira brings her previous experience in roles at Jam, Welcome, and Capital One to the table. A graduate in mechanical engineering from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, Leira possesses solid skills, including Panel3 Calibration Tool, Team Leadership, Teamwork, Social Networks and Matlab, thus driving innovation in the technology industry with valuable ideas.

Janine Ellin

Janine Ellin, the associate director of engineering at Collins Aerospace, is an experienced engineering manager with a proven track record in the aerospace and defense industry. Possessing skills in business processes, requirements analysis, leadership of multicultural teams, IT service management, and bilingual communication, she is a strong business development professional. 

Janine holds a master’s degree in engineering management focused on manufacturing engineering from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico. In addition to her professional achievements, Janine serves as a board member of the SWIA.

Xohara Ayuso

Xohara Ayuso is an insightful, results-driven IT professional with more than 17 years of experience. She has achieved notable success in directing a broad range of corporate IT security and privacy units, programs and projects. She loves taking security units to a more proactive and mature level within the company. She believes in giving back, being grateful and helping others. Passionate about security and technology, Xohara views security as more about people than systems.

Yarelis Lozada

Yarelis Lozada is a leader in the field of technology with more than 18 years of experience in information security. As part of her journey, she decided to teach others about cybersecurity by founding SecTY Consulting Services. This endeavor allows her to train the first line of defense, which is the user, recognizing that even the most sophisticated tool is rendered ineffective if humans are the weakest link. 

Yarelis also hosts the podcast “Aprende SecTY,” where she educates leaders and small businesses on implementing processes, tips and proper ways to protect data in simple terms. Additionally, she volunteers with the nonprofit ISACA, Puerto Rico chapter, to continue promoting education and professionals in the technology industry.

Rebecca Maldonado

As the programming manager at Evertec, Rebecca leads the programming team for ATH Móvil, collaborating with professionals in Puerto Rico, the U.S. mainland and various countries in Latin America. She holds a bachelor’s degree from UPR Mayagüez and continually expands her technology knowledge, particularly in AWS, by obtaining various certifications.

In her role as leader of the Community WIN (Women Inspirational Network) at Evertec, Rebecca celebrates diversity and inclusion. The goal is to drive personal and professional growth within the community, inspiring and fostering meaningful connections. She organizes events, creates content, delivers presentations and hosts educational workshops.

On a personal level, Rebecca supports future girls as a mentor at Semillas de Triunfo. Additionally, she is learning Portuguese to communicate with her new colleagues.

Laura Morales

Laura Morales, with more than 25 years of experience in IT and technology management, specializing in privacy and security management, holds a master’s degree in technology management and professional certifications in cybersecurity (CCSA) and HIPAA Law (CHP/CHA). Recognized for her leadership in ensuring compliance with the Electronic Transactions Regulation and HIPAA Law Codes in the health care sector, Laura created Puerto Rico’s first health clearinghouse.

As the leader of the HIMSS Puerto Rico Chapter, Laura founded the Puerto Rico Health Informatics Alliance to integrate the ecosystem in achieving operational transformation and service quality in health care through effective informatics adoption. 

She serves as president of Smart Solutions & Services LLC, which has supported organizations for more than 15 years in privacy and security compliance and cyber risk management, applying proven methodologies and implementing the Smart Compliance SC 365® software, enabling organizations to reduce risk and maintain compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), International Society of Automation (ISA), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and other security standards.

Laura collaborates as an advisory and educational resource for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands (CMS PR/VI), Association of Healthcare Providers of Puerto Rico (AHPR), Puerto Rico Primary Care Association Network (PRPCAN), Puerto Rico Health Information Management Association (PRHIMA), Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), Med-Billers, Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), and other professional organizations.

Melissa Delgado

Melissa Delgado, with a background in fraud prevention, privacy and technology within the federal government and Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, has become the go-to technology translator. She aligns resources, and fosters mutual understanding between decision-makers and technology solution providers, ensuring agile and informed decision-making. Her areas of expertise include cyber hygiene, privacy and business continuity.

Beyond her professional achievements, Melissa is a proud wife and mother, deeply committed to her tech community, which led her to create her podcast “Ciberseguridad y Más.” She also authored a book in Spanish titled “Ciberseguridad en Arroz y Habichuelas.” Her motto has always been, “Adapt and overcome without compromising your values, morals and family.”

Myra Ruiz

Myra Ruiz, with a strong background in computer engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus, and an MBA in e-commerce, has been driving digital transformation at Evertec as the VP of Digital Solutions, becoming a reference in Puerto Rico’s technology sector. 

Her career is marked by leadership in impactful projects, such as the first internet banking and the first peer-to-peer (P2P) transfer app on the island. Currently, she leads digital transformation and development teams for financial applications like ATHMóvil, impacting government and banking sectors. 

Her commitment to innovation is evident in implementing methodologies like Agile and DevSecOps and promoting emerging technologies like data science and generative AI at Evertec. Beyond her corporate role, she shares her expertise in podcasts, panels and forums, and dedicates her time as a mentor at Semillas de Triunfo, inspiring girls to lead in the field of science.

Nayda G. Santiago

Nayda G. Santiago is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus (UPRM), where she teaches the final course in computer engineering design (Capstone). She received her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1989 from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus, an MEng in digital signal processing in 1990 from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. in 2003 from Michigan State University with a specialization in computer engineering. 

Currently, she directs the Cyber-Physical Systems and Internet of Things (CPS & IoT) Lab at the Mayagüez Campus. Her research focuses on IoT, covering aspects such as smart transportation, energy resilience, cybersecurity and sustainability. This work involves interdisciplinary collaborations. Her research in education areas involves strategies to increase participation and diversity in engineering and computer science. Nayda leads the Southeast Region of the Computing Alliance for Hispanic Serving Institutions (CAHSI). She has led the Caribbean Celebration of Women in Computing and the first Explore CSR conference in Puerto Rico, both with the intention of increasing women’s participation in computing. 

Santiago uses the Affinity Research Group (ARG) model for undergraduate research. She was awarded the Faculty Mentoring Award from the CRA-E in 2017 for the large number of undergraduate students who have obtained advanced degrees (MS, PhD) after working with her on research during their bachelor’s degrees.  She has also received the Henaac Educator Award 2008, Distinguished Alumni of UPRM in 2008, Distinguished Computer Engineer of CIAPR in 2008, Vanguard Woman of CIAPR 2011, and Distinguished Professor of the ECE department at UPRM in 2008 and 2016. Santiago is an academic member of the National Center for Women in Information Technology, a lifetime member of SACNAS, a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and participates in the organization Latinas in Computing.

Dilsia Rodríguez

Dilsia Rodríguez earned her bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Puerto Rico, Ponce and her master’s degree in management information systems from the University of Phoenix. Additionally, she holds certifications in ITIL Foundations and is a White Belt in Lean Six Sigma. With 23 years of experience in technology, she started as a PC technician and steadily progressed to leadership positions within Evertec, serving as operations supervisor, IT supervisor, manager, and currently as senior manager, VP in the User Experience-IT unit. 

Her team supports and maintains more than 14,000 PCs and users between Popular Inc and Evertec, driving her to constantly seek information on technology trends to implement and enhance productivity and collaboration tools for teamwork, now focusing on the latest trend, AI.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.
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2 Comments

  1. Mel May 20, 2024

    Very honored ti va part of this list with amazing colleagues of the tech industry breaking barriers and shining for the next generation. Congrats to all.

    Reply
  2. Melissa Delgado May 20, 2024

    This is so awesome to see so many colleagues in tech. I am honored to be part of this cohort and look forward to connect with everyone.
    I saw a need of educating my Spanish speaking community about the risks of online interactions without the basic level of protection. Doing so in plain language and relatable scenarios that everyone would understand.
    Thank you for this and all the amazing colleagues that I admire so much from the field.
    If you with to connect with me you may find my useful links here.
    SocMedia: @MADelgadoConsultingk
    https://linktr.ee/MADelgadoConsulting

    Reply

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