Congratulations to our 2016 Winner and Runners-Up
for the Woman of the Year in GNO Tech Award!

The 2016 Ada Lovelace Awards have concluded, and we are proud to have recognized three outstanding women for their achievements in the New Orleans technological landscape. Dr. Anastasia Kurdia, Wendy Dolan, and Jacqueline Nelson have all broken ground as innovators and leaders in the community, and have all committed enormous personal effort toward inspiring the next generation of women in technology, a well of talent and potential represented by our Ada-in-Training, Hazel Smith, a 15-year old already establishing herself as a peer educator at local nonprofit Electric Girls.

Finally, we would like to express our appreciation for the New Orleans tech community. Without your nominations, we would never have met our accomplished, diverse group of Adas. Without your support and attendance, we could never have made the Ada Lovelace Awards the vibrant, growing event that it has become.

-- Our 2016 Nominees --

Adele Tiblier

Adele is a longtime champion of the New Orleans tech community, as evidenced by her presence on the Silicon Bayou 100 List every year since it began. Adele has worked at several tech companies in town and, currently, is the Director of Marketing for Zlien. In addition, she's the organizer of Net2NO and the New Orleans Virtual Reality Meetup, key opportunities for the industry to share their knowledge and passion.

Alba Huddleston

Alba is a tech transplant who has worked for years as an industrial engineer and leader in the maker movement. As an active member of WIT, she writes the "WIT Spotlight," promoting the achievements of other women in the tech community and helps coordinate workshops and other events.

Alberta Wright

As the founder of Young Creatives Agency, Alberta is empowering the next generation of digital leaders. Her concept was the overall winner of Propeller PitchNOLA Community Solutions. In addition, she is a business development consultant for Central City co-working space, The Blue House.

Aly Kilday

Aly is the co-founder and current CEO of Hop & Jaunt, a creative agency and longtime fixture in the New Orleans tech community. Recently, she co-founded and launched Damesly, an online travel company catering to professional women. Her long list of clients at Hop & Jaunt, includes travel startup FuhWe, coding school Operation Spark, and 3D printing company Entrescan. Ever-giving with her time and talents, Aly frequently works as a mentor at events such as Startup Weekend and is a contributing organizer of NOLA Tech Week.

Amber Stuver

Working as a scientist at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO ) in Livingston, staffed by CalTech and MIT, Amber is part of the team that revealed Einstein-predicted space ripples.

Dr. Anastasia Kurdia

Tulane's Professor of Practice, Dr. Kurdia, has done extensive theoretical and applied research related to cutting-edge software while on staff at several top universities. She's known as a passionate advocate for keeping women involved in and excited about STEM education.

Andre Feigler

As the founder and CEO of Enriched Schools, Andre has grown her venture from a solo, New Orleans-based project to a company with over 20 employees and offices in three cities. Her endeavors to improve education and wellbeing in the city have also led her to found Youth Run NOLA, a nonprofit focused on exercise and community-building that has worked with over 600 students through its seven years of operation.

Angie Scott

Angie has built the Gulf South's largest and fastest growing online marketing company, staffing it with more than 70% women. She also provides council about the burgeoning tech community to economic development experts while serving on GNO Inc.'s Tech Planning Committee.

Blair Broussard

In a few short years Blair has gone from the first full-time employee at AR/PR to its Senior VP. She works directly with many Southern tech companies to help increase their brand exposure and earn national press coverage. Blair is active with a number of local organizations including Baton Rouge's Social Media Club, NOEW, and the local Junior League.

Cherie Melancon Franz

More than 2,700 students have now participated in hands-on science workshops provided by Thinkerella, the company Cherie founded in 2014. The past year has seen Thinkerella secure one of 10 coveted Big Idea Finalist positions at NOEW, hold workshops at numerous area schools, and build on a strong start with a planned expansion to new locations throughout Louisiana.

"Still surprised to see a woman killing it in tech? Catch up. We're made for this."

~Crystal McDonald, 2015 winner

Diana Marquez

A Stanford graduate, Diana combines her background in social justice with coding skills to help local startup Kickboard build software that empowers teachers. Diana's passion has also taken her to a leadership position within New Orleans WIT where she advocates for female equality.

Elizabeth Brooks

Elizabeth's illustrious career as a marketer has seen her hold executive positions at Napster, Live Nation, SpinMedia, and other entertainment giants. More recently, she's taken on the role of acting CMO and is an investor and board advisor at New Orleans startup Lucid, where she has led the company's promotional efforts through a year that saw them both execute a total rebrand and more than double revenue and staff.

Gretchen Lynn

Gretchen was the first employee hired at Zlien and is now an overall architect of their roadmap for the future as their Director of Customer Success. On the heels of a $5MM raise, Zlien is in a growth stage, and Gretchen's leadership will be critical to securing their position as a top performing New Orleans startup.

Jacqui Nelson

Jacqui began her career as a design engineer for spacecraft for Lockheed Martin. She now works as an application developer for Mudbug Media in addition to championing local tech events such as Barcamp. She is known as a fixture at Tuesday's Hack Nights at Capdeville.

Jennie Westerman Diemont

Jennie is the Founder and CEO of Deep Fried Advertising, a boutique advertising agency responsible for marketing and web strategy for many iconic New Orleans brands including the French Market, Hola Nola Tortillas, and the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce.

Julia Ballard

Julia runs Silicon Bayou News, the city's only tech and startup focused news site. Present at every major event, Julia makes sure that New Orleans is being represented and archived digitally. As the host of the Silicon Bayou 100, an annual event recognizing the top 100 individuals contributing to our city's tech ecosystem, Julia is promoting the breadth of tech talent that exists in our city. She also lends her expertise to Trepwise, an entrepreneurial consulting firm.

Kali Rapp Roy

As Executive Director of Evacuteer, Kali leads efforts to prepare for the evacuation of 40,000 people from New Orleans in the event of a major hurricane. Every year, Evacuteer recruits and trains 500 volunteers to assist in a potential evacuation. Kali coordinates both this program and chairs the Building Resilience Workshop, a 2-day event focusing on disaster resilience.

Karen Gadbois

An entire storyline on Season 3 of Treme was inspired by the work of Karen Gadbois. Her digital, investigative publication, The Lens, helped to expose corruption in post-Katrina New Orleans. Karen is still actively involved in the day-to-day of The Lens, while also running The Vault, a digital archive of city contracts, reports, and salaries that help our city remain more transparent.

Karynn Verrett

Karynn is among a fast-rising cohort of young entrepreneurs working to launch new companies in the city. Her travel app, Toured, won Idea Village's DIGITALMEDIAx accelerator as well as the more recent Loyola IDEACorps Consulting Challenge.

Kate Elfer

Kate is a PhD candidate at Tulane and has a long career as one of Louisiana's most decorated STEM students. She was a Grand Challenge Scholar while studying nanosystems at Louisiana Tech and is a Tulane Public Service Award Winner. Kate is also a Regional Champion production manager of FIRST Robotics.


Did you know that the first computer programming language compiler was invented by a woman?

Kate Yoo McCrery

An educator, world traveler, and born entrepreneur, Kate is the Program Manager of Loyola University's rapidly expanding Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Development, where she has helped raise capital and form connections between the school and the greater New Orleans startup community. Before coming to New Orleans, Kate worked with Village Capital, a D.C. area venture capital firm, where she started the company's communications department and spearheaded its marketing efforts.

Katy Tackett

In addition to being one of the foremost authorities in the pickling community, Katy is the Community Manager at Launchpad. Here she works with dozens of local startups in the city's premier co-working space. Katy is also a co-organizer of LaunchFest, now a part of Collision Conference.

Kelly Claverie

Kelly is the founder of Girls Guide to New Orleans, the first female-focused travel guide to the Crescent City. After growing Girls Guide's social media following to more than 22,000 followers, Kelly has begun work on a web-based application that will showcase local female-friendly businesses to visiting women.

Leona Christy

Leona is the founder and CEO of Catalyst: Ed, an EdTech company with the ambitious goal of giving academic programs a way to rapidly execute short-term projects by connecting them with experts and professionals in required fields. The former Program Director of the US division of Pratham, an international nonprofit with a focus on education, Leona tripled revenue and raised over $10M during her tenure with the company.

Mallory Whitfield

Mallory is a longtime New Orleans influencer at her blog, Miss Malaprop, and a Content Analyst at local agency FSC Interactive. A fixture of New Orleans tech events, she has shared her expertise as a digital marketer with audiences at NOEW, WordCamp NOLA, and Teen Tech Day. Additionally, she serves on the planning committee for VenturePOP, a New Orleans conference for creatives.

Maya Ramos

Maya is employee #1 and the current COO of Electric Girls, a New Orleans nonprofit with the goal of educating and encouraging more girls to enter STEM fields. A current student at Loyola University, Maya has already contributed to an extremely successful year for her company. Now in its second year, Electric Girls has expanded its offerings and held workshops at NOEW, SXSW, and Teen Tech Day.

Morgan Bachemin

As Director of Digital Ads at Online Optimism, Morgan's expertise in search advertising helped secure the marketing firm partner status with both Google and Bing, as well as a list of clients that includes both the International School of New Orleans and local startup FuhWe. Finally, Morgan helped contribute to a company culture that saw Online Optimism named to City Business's shortlist of best small companies to work for in 2015.

Nicky Mast

Nicky has worked to organize and expand the New Orleans startup scene for the better part of a decade. An extremely effective coordinator, Nicky has been instrumental in the success of numerous local events and initiatives. Barcamp and NOEW, two of New Orleans most high-profile tech events have both benefited from her expertise. Most recently, she was Director of Operations at local tech company Grok + Banter.

Nicole Patel

Nicole has been a key figure in attracting top tech talent to the New Orleans eco-system. During her time as the VP of People at Lucid, the local startup has more than doubled in size, now employing over 30 engineers. In addition, they've been recognized as a top New Orleans workplace.

Patricia Maher

Patricia burst onto the New Orleans startup scene in 2015. After delivering a winning pitch for her travel app, FuhWe, at a local Startup Weekend, Patricia and her co-founder went on to build both an early product and a strong social following. Beyond FuhWe, Patricia holds a successful track record as a telecom executive in Grenada, where she remains involved in efforts to educate future entrepreneurs.


Engage in our tech community and inspire others to do the same with New Orleans Women In Tech.

Rahlyn Gossen

Rahlyn is the Founder and CEO of a niche marketing agency, Rebar Interactive, focused on improving the digital experience for patients and professionals in clinical trials. She is also the Founder and Co-Chair of Health 2.0, a professional development group focused on the local healthcare industry.

Rashmita DasChaudhuri

As a transport engineer, Rashmita is a trailblazer in a densely technical, traditionally male-dominated industry. She currently works to analyze and improve traffic patterns throughout Louisiana as an employee with Fortune-500 company AECOM. Rashmita also initiated the establishment of the first ever Women's Transportation Seminar in New Orleans; the chapter, which she also leads as President, supports women transportation professionals, gives female students crucial industry connections, and hopes to provide partial sponsorships for women studying advanced degrees in transportation.

Sara Estes Cohen White

As Deputy Chief Information Officer for the City of New Orleans, Sara is responsible for the city IT services and for developing her hometown's budding tech ecosystem by working to support education and enterprise. Sara has published numerous academic papers on the role of social media in disaster resilience, spoken at a previous TedX event, and is redefining the way in which our city approaches technological innovation.

Sarah Margaret Hardie

A key figure in one of the most dynamic young companies in New Orleans, Sarah manages over 30 Lucid employees through an ever-growing list of software projects. Her personal efforts have redefined how Lucid approaches product development, contributing to the success and continued expansion of this startup. As a tech transplant, Sarah brings a wealth of experience as a consultant and project manager to the New Orleans ecosystem.

Sevetri Wilson

Sevetri has long since made a name for herself as a businesswoman. Her company, communications and management firm Solid Ground Innovations, was ranked as the 7th fastest growing LSU grad-led business in 2015. Sevetri has been featured in Inc. Magazine and has secured multiple awards for her work. Recently, she launched her newest business, ExemptMeNow, an online platform that streamlines the incorporation and tax-exemption processes for nonprofits.

Sheena Allen

A PowerMovesNOLA alum, Sheena has developed more than six independent apps with more than two million downloads, under the banner of Sheena Allen Apps. Her newest product, Bloom, a finance app focused on improving financial literacy amongst the underbanked, was recently accepted into Google's Exchange Program for Entrepreneurs.

Shercole King

Shercole is focused around using technology for civic innovation and social good. She is a Sys Admin in the non-profit sector, managing and tracking data on homelessness in New Orleans and improving the user experience of government software. She is also a passionate advocate for bringing technology to underserved youth populations through her annual event Teen Tech Day, now serving more than 60 students each year.

Staacy Cannon

Staacy helms Grok + Banter, a rising New Orleans adtech startup that she founded in 2012. Never short on hustle, Staacy has contributed to her company as a business leader, a data analyst, and a marketing evangelist. A runner up for the 2015 Ada Lovelace Award, Staacy also works as a co-chair and volunteer at the University Montessori School.

Tallie Merritt

In 2016 Tallie was promoted to President of FSC Marketing, a woman-owned digital marketing agency. Tallie has honed her chops on clients such as Suzuki and Coca Cola, and has been recognized as the Marketing/Communications Director of the Year by the New Orleans Ad Club.

Tiffany Fennell Starnes

Tiffany is a veteran of the New Orleans marketing scene, having worked for Trumpet and later serving as VP at FSC Interactive. She recently founded her own venture, Starnes Solutions, a strategy consulting firm. Tiffany is also an Adjunct Professor at Loyola, where she is instructing the next generation of social media gurus.

Uchechi Kalu Jacobson

Uchechi and her husband are the ultimate power couple. Not only do they work together at Linking Arts, a web consultancy, but they also co-founded Wedocracy, a collaborative wedding planning tool. Uchechi has been a mentor for the YesWeCode hackathon and runs the weekly #yeswecode Twitter chat. She was named one of the 100 Women to Watch for Innovative Magazine.

Victoria Adams

The Executive Director of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week for the better part of six years, Victoria has driven its growth from a small community event to one that attracted over 13,000 visitors in 2016. Victoria has also played an active role in New Orleans music scene; she volunteers with Rehage Entertainment, the company responsible for Voodoo Fest, and can count Tipitina's and Ultimate Records among her past employers.

Wendi Taranto

Known for her innovative and efficient approach to user experience, Wendi has been a developer for more than twenty years. Now she serves as the Lead Developer at Cleargistix, a company recently selected to participate in Idea Village's EnergyX accelerator program.

Wendy Dolan

Wendy is among New Orleans most passionate advocates for both women in technology and for emerging small businesses in the city. As the current President of New Orleans Women in Tech, she heads efforts to support and educate women working in technical fields; in addition, she helms Get Online NOLA, a web design firm that works primarily with local small businesses and nonprofits.

Hazel Smith - Ada in Training

Hazel developed an interest in science while working with Electric Girls. She's now in a leadership position on her high school robotics team, and now helps encourage other girls to follow in her footsteps by serving as a mentor to younger Electric Girls students. Hazel is our Ada in Training, as she is the youngest nominee to date, and she just misses our age cut-off of 16.