History of the Women’s High-Tech Coalition

A Bridge Between the Public and Private Sectors

The Women’s High-Tech Coalition was formed in November 2000 (“Y2K”) to connect women leaders in technology from across the business community with their counterparts in the public sector. In the wake of some high-profile corporate accounting scandals, the WHTC’s leadership expected women to start moving into CEO and corporate leadership roles in greater numbers. The WHTC was envisioned as a strong support network and even a pipeline for future female leaders.

While the pace of women’s corporate ascension has been somewhat slower than anticipated, there is still a great need for building a support base for female leaders. Perhaps there is an even greater need today, given that the rate of women reaching the CEO level in Fortune 500 companies has been flat, hovering around 4.5 percent, for over a decade.

At the very first meeting of the WHTC, held in the Rayburn Building of the U.S. House of Representatives, seven elected members of Congress attended to lend their voices to what they felt was an important new idea. Women elected officials told the WHTC leadership that they too lacked a national support system. They were looking for opportunities to speak and get their messages to private sector leaders.

From day one, female members of Congress have been especially supportive of the WHTC. From our Honorary Founding Co-Chairs, U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and former U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), to our prior Congressional Co-Chairs then-Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), to our current Congressional Co-Chairs, Reps. Susan Brooks (R-IL) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA), the WHTC has been privileged to work with very capable women leaders.

In the years since that first meeting, the WHTC has hosted countless lunches, receptions, dinners and events to bring together mid-to-senior level women professionals from the public and private sectors. Most events have been in Washington, DC, but there have also been several outside of the Beltway, including in Silicon Valley, Boston, and New York. In the coming years, we hope to extend into other areas of the country with expanding tech corridors.

In 2013, the WHTC became a member of the Affinity Group Alliance of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). Being part of the NCWIT’s AGA connects our members to an umbrella organization of over 84,000 women in technology.

The WHTC is a dynamic organization, still growing and still committed to building a support network for women who share an interest in technology policy. The uniting threads have been technology and the federal regulations and legislation that affect technology. Below is a sampling of the speakers we have had since the organization’s inception. To learn more about the WHTC, become a member, or inquire about sponsorship opportunities, please email us at whtcinfo@gmail.com.




Sample of Past Speakers and Their Roles at the Time

  • Amy Millman, Co-Founder and President of Springboard Enterprises
  • Anna Eshoo, U.S. Representative (D-CA)
  • Anu Shukla, founder and former CEO of RubiconSoft
  • Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senator (D-CA)
  • Blanche Lincoln, former U.S. Senator (D-AR)
  • Bobbie Kilberg, CEO of the Northern Virginia Technology Council
  • Carly Fiorina, former HP CEO
  • Carol Bartz, former Autodesk CEO
  • Darlene Hooley, former U.S. Representative (D-OR)
  • *Debbie Wasserman Schultz, U.S. Representative (D-FL)
  • Diane Feinstein, U.S. Senator (D-CA)
  • Ellen Tauscher, former U.S. Representative (D-CA)
  • Fran Townsend, former Assistant to the President for Homeland Security
  • Hillary Clinton, former U.S. Senator (D-NY)
  • Jane Alexander, former Deputy Director of HSARPA at DHS
  • **Jo Ann Emerson, former U.S. Representative (R-MO)
  • John Snow, former U.S. Treasury Secretary
  • Julia Hartz, Co-founder and President of Eventbrite
  • Karen Evans, former CIO of the Office of Management and Budget
  • Kathleen Abernathy, former FCC Commissioner
  • Kay Granger, U.S. Representative (R-TX)
  • Lezlee Westine, former White House Director of Public Liaison
  • Liz Cheney, former State Department official
  • Maria Cantwell, U.S. Senator (R-WA)
  • *Mary Bono Mack, former U.S. Representative (R-CA)
  • Meg Whitman, former Ebay CEO
  • Megan Smith, U.S. Chief Technology Officer
  • Melissa Hart, former U.S. Representative (R-PA)
  • Moira Gun, host of Tech Nation and Bio-tech Nation radio programs
  • Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House of Representatives Minority Leader
  • Olympia Snowe, former U.S. Senator (R-ME)
  • Sallie Krawcheck, former CIO of Citigroup
  • Sheila Bair, former Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions
  • Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and Founder of LeanIn.Org
  • Susan Brooks, U.S. Representative (R-IL) and WHTC Co-Chair
  • Suzan DelBene, U.S. Representative (D-WA) and WHTC Co-Chair
  • **Zoe Lofgren, U.S. Representative (D-CA)

*Previous WHTC Congressional Co-Chair

** Honorary Founding Chair of the WHTC