It's the season to reflect on the past year while also planning for the new year. In that spirit, we’ve pulled together our own list of tech leaders that have inspired over the last year and feel are a must-follow for fellow engineering leaders.  

This list spans multiple categories, with leaders ranging from a data science expert at one of the biggest streaming services in the known universe to a customer experience enthusiast leading the charge for conversational AI. Without further ado, check out our all-star picks and the insights they have to share:   


Startup Technology Leader - Arquay Harris

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Arquay Harris, named one of America’s Top 50 Women in Tech in 2018 by Forbes, is the Senior Director of Engineering at Webflow, which “empowers designers to create beautiful, responsive websites—without writing a single line of code.”  Her impressive career pedigree includes roles as the Senior Director of Engineering at Slack, Web Development Manager at Google, and Director of Engineering at CBS Interactive. She brings a unique perspective to her work as an engineering leader with a dual skill set since she also holds a Masters in Design. Arquay is a notable thought leader and recently gave the keynote address at the Black is Tech Conference 2021.


How you can learn from Arquay:

Bela Labovitch Vice President of Engineering Venture Fizz Portfolio

Medium-Sized Business Leader - Bela Labovitch

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Bela Labovitch is Vice President of Engineering at athenahealth, continuing her streak of incredible work in health technology. Prior to athenahealth, she held engineering leadership positions at inVentiv Health, LogixHealth, MedMinder Systems, and Newsilike Media Group. Bela is a driving force in making healthcare more human, accessible, and secure; and she shows her commitment to mentorship for younger generations following in her footsteps through her partnership with Girls Who Code and thought leadership contributions to her community. 

How you can learn from Bela:


Enterprise Technology Leader - Rob Alexander

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Rob Alexander is the CIO at Capital One, and a member of the Forbes CIO Next 2021 List of 50 Innovative Technology Leaders, featuring top tech executives who are redefining the CIO role and driving game-changing innovation. Why is Rob on this illustrious list? It’s hard to know where to start. 

Since 2007, Rob has used software to turn Capital One into a financial giant, generating $28.5 billion in revenue last year alone. Over the pandemic, he pioneered cloud computing and agile development strategies to help the company sustain itself and expand. Under his leadership,  Capital One has become an AI powerhouse with more than 500 worldwide patents in technology.  Rob has always been determined to stay ahead of the banking digital transformation curve. “Early in our digital transformation we made a commitment to invest like the very best technology companies do,” explains Rob. “That meant developing our own software engineering talent and reimagining traditional IT operating models.” 

How you can learn from Rob:


 B2B Technology Leader - Wilind Wagle

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Milind Wagle is a fellow honoree on the Forbes CIO Next 2021 list of 50 Innovative Technology Leaders and the CIO of Equinix. The company runs a fleet of 220 data centers (for the likes of AWS, Google Cloud, Azure, and Zoom), supporting trillions of dollars in global online commerce. His team managed to boost revenues 8% to $6 billion last year thanks to innovations like a data-driven model that more accurately forecasts customer usage patterns and associated power needs and capacity limits. 

How you can learn from Milind:


VC Funded Technology Leader  - James Richards

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James Richards is the CTO at Udacity, an online learning business geared toward training for careers of the future. At a time when the company was struggling to find market fit, James helped the venture-backed firm turn a profit with a pivot toward corporate remote learning, largely to address the pandemic. He led the charge to launch a new platform that lets outside experts upload content faster and by increasing page download speeds by 40%. In November 2020 Udacity secured $75 million in debt funding from Hercules Capital, bringing their total capital raised to $238 million.

James is another member of the Forbes CIO Next 2021 list of 50 Innovative Technology Leaders, which is no surprise since he developed his product chops at smart device maker Nest Labs (now part of Google), leading server-side development teams. There, he became an IoT interaction model innovator and oversaw the release of several versions of the thermostat, smoke detector, and security camera. He was even an early engineer at LinkedIn, where he built and led teams that helped the company scale to hundreds of millions of users and thousands of employees.

How you can learn from James: 

Who are your top engineering role models?

We would love to hear from you about where you are getting your own inspiration from and what are some of the goals you have for your engineering and technology organizations in the new year? 

Tell us all about it here

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