The women of AWS: 15 AWS Heroes you should be following

By Nicola Wright

The AWS ecosystem is one that’s committed to fostering diversity, and making sure a rewarding career in tech is accessible to everyone.

But, by the company’s own admission, there’s a long way to go.

Closing tech’s gender gap

AWS is taking steps to get people of “every color, gender, belief, origin, and community” working with the platform. Its ‘We Power Tech’ program is committed to sharing resources, educating the tech space through its Diversity Speakers Bureau, and creating a pool of technologists that reflects the vast diversity of the world we live in.

AWS also hosts regular Women in Tech events around the globe; conferences intended to motivate burgeoning female IT professionals, share the latest trends, and show them what a career in AWS really looks like.

Its partnerships with training and mentorship organizations like Girls Who Code, Girls in Tech, Lesbians Who Tech, Black Tech Women, Enquizit, Digital Divide Data, and OpenUp continue to help empower women and girls to build a career in tech.

Supporting organizations and nonprofits like these is a great way to help boost diversity and inclusion in the tech space, as well as ensure the continuous flow of exceptional talent into the AWS community.

AWS’s female superheroes  

It’s important that we look to the future when thinking about supporting women in the tech industry, but that’s not to say there aren’t heaps of phenomenal female tech professionals doing great work in the AWS ecosystem right now.

We always love shouting about the amazing work being done by awesome women in the AWS community, so what better way to mark Women in Tech Week than to shine a light on some of the inspiring women making waves in the AWS world and leading the charge on digital transformation through cloud tech?

These tech pros are driving incredible developments in the cloud space and blazing a trail for women in tech—so if you want to know more about Amazon Web Services, here are 15 AWS Heroes who should be on your radar:

Container Heroes

 AWS Hero Liz Rice

Hero since: 2019
Twitter: @lizrice

One of the latest Heroes to join the fold, Liz Rice became an AWS MVP in September 2019. As VP Open Source Engineering at cloud-native security specialists Aqua Security, Liz oversees a range of container-related open source projects.

Liz is also chair of the CNCF’s Technical Oversight Committee, and has previously performed the role of Co-Chair of the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon 2018 events in Copenhagen, Shanghai, and Seattle.

A regular speaker at conferences including AWS re:Invent, Velocity, and DockerCon, Liz is renowned for her ability to perfectly explain highly technical concepts and ideas, making the world of containers accessible.

An accomplished tech writer, Liz’s articles have appeared on the likes of TheNewStack, the Aqua Security blog, and TechBeacon—as well as her own blog. She also co-authored the O’Reilly report on Kubernetes Security.

AWS Hero Vicky Seno

Hero since: 2019
Twitter: @SysAdmGirl

Vicky Seno is a professor who teaches an assortment of AWS-related courses that cover topics like Computing Services, Containers, Kubernetes, ECS, Serverless, Networking and Security.

After garnering more than two decades of experience in IT, Vicky turned educator, becoming a Computer Science Professor at Los Angeles’ Santa Monica College. Since joining the faculty, Vicky has worked to develop an AWS Cloud Computing college degree, and has helped train staff from countless colleges in the region in an effort to create more educational options for those looking to learn more about AWS.

As well as being an AWS Container Hero and co-organizer of SMC’s AWS Cloud Day Conference, Vicky is also an AWS Cloud Faculty Ambassador; an accolade bestowed upon her to acknowledge her contribution to AWS education in the teaching community.

Vicky works tirelessly not only to disseminate knowledge of AWS, but also to encourage more female representation in the cloud field.

A YouTuber with more than 34,000 followers and over 100 tutorials on her channel, she’s also delivered coding workshops, spoken at Amazon Summits on Containers, Kubernetes and Amazon EKS, and even developed training materials for A Cloud Guru.

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Data Heroes

Hero since: 2019
Twitter: @helenanders26

An AWS Certified Cloud Practioner, Helen Anderson is one of AWS’s very first Data Heroes, part of a new category created to represent a “community of developers, IT leaders, and educators with a shared passion for analytics, database, and blockchain technologies.”

A Business Intelligence Consultant from Wellington, New Zealand, by day, Helen leads on projects that empower users and make businesses more efficient by utilizing AWS products.

Herself a career-switcher, Helen is an ardent advocate for making AWS accessible to those new to the technology. In her spare time, Helen writes newbie-friendly articles, teaches, and mentors budding AWS enthusiasts, particularly those who’re underrepresented in the tech sector. She also authored one of’s most popular AWS posts of all time, “AWS from A to Z.”

AWS Hero Lynn-Langit

Hero since: 2015
Twitter: @lynnlangit

Lynn Langit describes herself as a “Cloud Architect who codes”, but she’s also an educator, an advocate for all things cloud, and a trailblazer in the world of big data and cloud architecture.

As a big data specialist, Lynn has worked with tools like AWS Athena, Aurora, Redshift, Kinesis, and the IoT.

Dedicated to sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm about cloud computing, Lynn is the cofounder of the Teaching Kids Programming, which has taken her to places in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia to talk about data and cloud technologies.

A sought-after speaker, she’s presented at developer conferences worldwide, and also delivers valuable training content online, developing and sharing courses on practicalities of working with AWS for

Machine Learning Heroes

AWS Hero Kesha Williams

Hero since: 2019
Twitter: @KeshaWillz

A 20 year veteran of software development, Kesha Williams is a champion of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Having started her career as a Java Developer, Kesha transitioned into the ML world after gaining experience with tools like AWS DeepLens, Amazon Rekognition, and Amazon SageMake.

Kesha is committed to advocating for the benefit integrated technology can bring to the world. Through her work as an AWS Technical Instructor at A Cloud Guru, Kesha seeks to utilize technology like Amazon SageMaker to foster greater and more meaningful human connections.

Highly active in the AWS community, Kesha dedicates much of her time to helping others on their ML journeys. She’s shared her knowledge by authoring courses for the likes of Manning Publications, Packt, LinkedIn Learning, A Cloud Guru, and Cloud Academy.

She’s also an accomplished speaker and has appeared at global events such as AI World, DataSciCon.Tech, NDC{London}, Pluralsight LIVE, and AWS re:Invent.

AWS Hero Gillian McCann

Hero since: 2018
Twitter: @othergill

Head of Cloud Engineering and AI at digital assistance startup Workgrid, Gillian McCann is a champion of cloud-native architecture.

Previously an Architect on Liberty Mutual’s Cognitive Technology team, Gillian has long been interested in exploring the concept of conversational AI, and how machine learning can improve the human experience.

An accomplished and sought-after speaker, Gillian has shared her love of all things AI, smart search, and Lambda at AWS re:Invent, ServerlessConf, and countless AWS User Groups and local events.

Hero since: 2019
Twitter: @virtualgill

Gillian Armstrong is a Solutions Architect at Liberty IT, where she works to help enterprise businesses harness the power of Machine Learning and Serverless through hands-on architecting, strategy development, and education.

Gillian is particularly passionate about Applied AI, and how the melding of machine learning and serverless technology is changing the way Software Engineers bake intelligence into their systems. Unsurprisingly, she’s a big believer in AWS AI services, and is dedicated to exploring how tools like Amazon SageMaker can bridge the gap between Engineers and Data Scientists.

An avid distributor of knowledge, Gillian regularly shares what she learns in blogs, at local meet-ups, and as a speaker at huge global tech events like AWS re:Invent, QCon and ServerlessDays.

Serverless Heroes

Hero since: 2019
Twitter: @FarrahC32

Farrah Campbell is Ecosystems Director at serverless workflow company Stackery; a role that sees her leading the company’s engagement with AWS, partners, system integrators, and the wider cloud community.

As part of her work in the Serverless, DevOps, and Women in Tech communities, Farrah travels the world, speaking at industry events, conferences, and user groups, as well as organizing the Portland Serverless Days and the Portland Serverless Meetup.

Farrah has also appeared as part of the Chasing Grace Project, a documentary series about women in the tech space that aims to “ build a more inclusive and transparent culture in tech and to recruit and retain women to help build the future.”

AWS Hero Erica Windisch

Hero since: 2018
Twitter: @ewindisch

A CTO, tech company co-founder, and systems architecture fanatic, Erica Windisch was the first female AWS Serverless Hero, and remained so until late 2019 when Farrah Campbell joined the club.

Erica has long been at the forefront of cloud computing, having advocated for the technology for almost two decades. An early champion of the OpenStack platform, she contributed to and maintained the Docker project, working on fortifying Linux containers and establishing security practices.

Today, through her company IOpipe, Erica helps organizations get the most out of serverless applications.

In her spare time, she’s a frequent speaker at tech conferences, giving talks about AWS Lambda and other AWS solutions, and also writes for the IOpipe blog.

Community Heroes

AWS Hero Aileen-Gemma-Smith

Hero since: 2019
Twitter: @aileengemma

As Founder and CEO of business intelligence solution provider Vizalytics Technology, Aileen Gemma Smith and her team help clients worldwide get more out of their data through analytics.

A self-taught developer specializing in graph databases, semantic technologies and RDF, Aileen’s work focuses on taxonomies, ontologies and building out entity relationships in their proprietary knowledge graph.

Aileen is also a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion initiatives, and much of the great work that led her to become an AWS Community Hero centers around highlighting the work and interests of marginalized tech professionals.

She’s backed the development of hiring initiatives and mentoring schemes to encourage students to pursue a career in tech, and appeared on panels such as We Power Tech: Inclusive Conversations with Women in Technology at AWS Public Sector Summit Canberra in 2018.

Aileen has also served as a board member for the likes of the New York City Board of Education, Career and Technology Education IT Commission, and participated in the NYC Open Data Advisory Council.

On top of all that, Aileen is a record-breaker: the AWS Community Day event she organized in Melbourne earlier this year was the biggest one ever anywhere in the world, attracting a massive 1,096 attendees!

AWS Hero Becky Zhang

Hero since: 2017
Twitter: @beckyame_0412

A pillar of China’s AWS ecosystem, Becky Zhang has been central to developing and supporting the region’s cloud community.

The COO of Big Data solutions and AWS architecture consultancy BootDev, Becky regularly orchestrates events and user groups that bring Shanghai’s AWS professionals and enthusiasts together to network, impart knowledge, and share their passion for the product.

As well as helping to organize AWS User Group Shanghai, AWS Tech Meetups, and happy hours, Becky brings China’s AWS User Group members together with groups in other regions such as Korea, Japan, and Thailand.

Her work championing Shanghai’s AWS User Group has included being a panelist at AWS re:Invent 2016, and she also appeared at the Seoul AWS Summit in April to introduce the UG and help connect it with other groups around the world.

Becky is dedicated to supporting and uplifting other Women in Tech, and works to encourage more female professionals to enter the cloud space.

AWS Hero Ayumi-Tada

Hero since: 2016
Twitter: @applebear_ayu

Currently an IT Infrastructure Strategist at Honda Motor Co. in Japan, Ayumi Tada is passionate about helping businesses apply cloud tech. Ayumi previously worked for Honda R&D arms as an IT System Administrator, where she specialized in using the cloud for High Performance Computing (HPC).

Her work on HPC saw her advocate and present a use case for AWS-based HPC at AWS re:Invent in 2014.

A deeply engaged member of Japan AWS User Group, Ayumi founded a number of new JAWS branches, both for HPC specialists and for those just starting to get to grips to AWS. She’s also central to the operation of the JAWS group for female AWS professionals and is a regular face at local UGs and JAWS for Enterprises (E-JAWS) meetups.

Ayumi is an AWS Certified Solutions Architect and has a BS in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Information Engineering from Waseda University.

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AWS Hero Bhuvanswari-Subraman

Hero since: 2019
Twitter: @installjournal

An AWS Community Hero and Certified Solution Architect, Bhuvaneswari Subramani is Director Engineering Operations at Infor and has nearly 20 years of IT experience under her belt.

A specialist in cloud computing, DevOps and performance testing, Bhuvaneswari is an entirely self-made tech pro with a zeal for technical writing and an uncanny knack of explaining complex technical concepts.

A relentless blogger with more than a decade of experience writing about DevOps and cloud computing, she’s also heavily involved in her local AWS community.

Bhuvaneswari is a co-organizer of the AWS User Group Bengaluru and plays a huge part in arranging meetups and AWS Community Days. She’s a talented speaker too, having given talks at many events and conferences, as well as delivering guest lectures on the cloud at engineering colleges.

Like so many of our AWS Community Heroes, Bhuvaneswari is committed to fostering diversity in the industry, and in 2018, she was one of five recipients of the AWS re:Invent 2018 Community Leader Diversity Scholarship.

AWS Hero Teri-Radichel

Hero since: 2016
Twitter: @teriradichel

As CEO at cloud security training outfit 2nd Sight Lab, Teri Radichel works to help companies stay safe in the cloud through consulting, testing, and training.

With multiple cybersecurity certifications to her name, including the GSE, Teri is a major authority on cloud security research and has written articles for the likes of Light Reading and Infosecurity Magazine. She shares security information and advice via her blog, Cloud Security, and is now working on a book; Cybersecurity for Executives.

Teri is also the founder and primary organizer of the Seattle AWS Architects and Engineers Meetup, which has amassed almost 3,000 members to date.

She frequently delivers talks on cloud security at conferences too, having made appearances at events like RSA, AWS re:Invent, AWS re:Inforce, IANS Security Forums, Countermeasure, SANS Networking, SANS Cloud Summit, and BSides.

In 2017, Teri received the SANS Difference Makers Award, which aims to recognize the work of people who made a difference in cybersecurity.

AWS Hero Magaret-Valtierra

Hero since: 2019
Twitter: @MargaretValtie

An AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate, Margaret Valtierra works as a Program Manager for Morningstar’s Cloud Service team, where she’s tasked with managing the company’s relationship with AWS, helping others develop their cloud skills, and encouraging best practices.

In previous roles, she led cross-functional Agile teams, heading up their efforts to manage and secure new services for multiple big data projects in AWS.

Margaret has been the leader of Chicago’s AWS user group since 2013, and is a member of the Global AWS Community Day Core Team which works to promote local user groups and organizes the yearly  AWS Community Day event for the Midwest. She’s also a co-organizer for DevOpsDays Chicago.

As the work of these innovative and generous cloud professionals continues to make waves across the AWS ecosystem, we hope next year’s list of female AWS Heroes will be longer. In the meantime, give them a follow and get the inside scoop on the latest developments in AWS.

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