Top Female AI Influencers in 2020 Who Rocked the Data Science World!

Shipra Saxena 16 Dec, 2020
7 min read


  • Have a look at the list of Top 11 Female AI influencers of 2020.
  • We have attached their respective social media handles so that you can better understand their work
  • By no means is this list exhaustive. Please free feel to add more Female AI Influencers in the comments below.



With the volume and panoply of data being generated any second the demand for data scientists has shot through the roof. Organizations now need to make better and faster decisions to make an early move in the market and progress in the direction of their vision.

And with the passage of time people have realized that to make better decisions the community has to be inclusive of people from different backgrounds to capture their respective perspectives. The rising awareness of this fact is pulling more and more women into the data science industry thus decreasing the gender gap in the traditionally male-dominated STEM industry.

top female AI influencers

With their better communication skills, efforts to nurture a positive environment in the team, and loads of other qualities, women have been making tremendous leaps in science. In this article, I have compiled a list of Top Female AI Influencers of 2020.


Kate Crawford

Female AI Influencers - Kate Crawford

Kate Crawford is a principal researcher at Microsoft research. She is a leading researcher and professor who has spent the last decade studying the social implications of data systems, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. She is a Senior Principal Researcher at MSR-NYC. Along with this, she is also the inaugural Visiting Chair for AI and Justice at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, and the Miegunyah Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the University of Melbourne.

Kate is the co-founder of the AI Now Institute at New York University, the world’s first university institute dedicated to researching the social implications of artificial intelligence and related technologies.


Fei-Fei Li

Female AI Influencers - Fei-Fei Li

Fei Fei Li is an American computer science professor at Stanford University. She is the Co-Director of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, and a Co-Director of the Stanford Vision and Learning Lab.

She also co-Founded AI4All, a nonprofit organization working to increase diversity and inclusion in the field of artificial intelligence. Her research expertise includes artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, and cognitive neuroscience. She was the leading scientist and principal investigator of ImageNet.

In May 2020, Li joined the board of directors of Twitter as an independent director.



Geetha Manjunath

Female AI Influencers - Geetha Manjunath

Dr.Geetha Manjunath is the Founder, CEO, and CTO of NIRAMAI, a deep tech startup developing a novel solution for detecting early-stage breast cancer. She has over 25 years of experience in IT research and has led to many innovative projects in Healthcare and Transportation.

She was a Lab Director heading Data Analytics Research in Xerox India. Before that, she was a Principal Research Scientist at Hewlett Packard Laboratories for 17 years, and a member of the C-DAC team which built the first commercial supercomputer in India.

Dr. Manjunath holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Science and management education from Kellogg’s School of Management, Chicago

She was awarded the Gold Medal by the Computer Society of India, is a recipient of the Karnataka State Award, was named as one of the top 50 NASSCOM IT Innovators and was also the winner of the 2010 MIT Tech Review Grand Challenges. She is a Senior Member of IEEE and past Chair of IEEE Computer Society, Bangalore Chapter. Also, she is the inventor of 15 US patents with more pending grants.


Allie Miller

Female AI Influencers - Allie Miller

Allie Miller is the US Head of AI Business Development for Startups and Venture Capital at Amazon. Before that, she was the youngest-ever woman to build an artificial intelligence product at IBM—spearheading large-scale product development across computer vision, conversation, data, and regulation.

She was named by Forbes and AI Summit as 2019‘s “AI Innovator of the Year”.

Allie has spoken about AI and field diversity around the world, addressed the European Commission, drafted foreign AI strategies, and created eight guidebooks to educate businesses on how to build successful AI projects.



Prof. Jennifer Chayes

Female AI Influencers - Jennifer Chayes

Prof. Jennifer Chayes is the Associate Provost of Data Science and Information, and Dean of the School of Information, at UC Berkeley. Previously, she was at Microsoft for almost 23 years, where she was Technical Fellow, and founder and managing director of three interdisciplinary labs: Microsoft Research New England, New York City, and Montreal.

She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. Chayes is the author of about 150 academic papers and inventor of over 30 patents. Her research areas include phase transitions in computing, structural and dynamical properties of networks, graph theory, graph algorithms, and computational biology.

Chayes is one of the inventors of the field of graphons, which are widely used in the machine learning of large-scale networks.


Kim Hazelwood

Kim Hazelwood

Another leading name on our list is Kim Hazelwood. She is the West Coast head of Engineering for Facebook AI Research as well as the Technical Lead for Facebook Systems and Machine Learning (SysML) Research. Her expertise lies in scalable computer systems and applied machine learning.

Kim holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Harvard University and has authored over 50 publications and one book. She is a recipient of the MIT “Top 35 Innovators under 35″​ award and an NSF Career Award. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Computing Research Association. 


Caitlin Smallwood

Caitlin Smallwood

Catlin is vice president, Data science and engineering at Netflix. Here, she leads analytics, measurement and prediction, experimentation science, and algorithm research for all parts of the Netflix business. With her team of data scientists, she worked on algorithms research, development, predictive modelling to bring to you a seamless experience while using Netflix.

She holds an M.S. in Operations Research from Stanford University.



Ujjyaini Mitra

ujjyaini mitra

Ujjyaini is Currently working as the Chief Data Officer at Zee5.  She has almost 13 years of rich Leadership experience in establishing Data as a Culture at large organizations. Previously, She has worked with organizations like  Airtel, Flipkart Mckinsey & company in leading positions.

Due to her love for mathematics, Ujjyaini chose to study Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science at Chennai Mathematical Institute and then pursued Quantitative Economics at her Masters from ISI Kolkata.

She is in the Top 50 Most Influential Women 2020 in Media, Marketing and Advertising by Impact.

Yael Garten

Yael Garten

Yale Garten is Siri Director of Data Science and Engineering at Apple. Here, she leads a team of data scientists whose objective is to improve Siri by using data as the voice of Apple’s customers. Previously, Yael was Director of Data Science at LinkedIn.

Yael has a Ph.D. in Biomedical Informatics from Stanford University School of Medicine. Her research was focused on information extraction and semantic understanding. To predict and understand how human genetic variations impact drug response using natural language processing of scientific text.

She is an advisory board member for Northwestern University’s graduate program in analytics. Also, she is a proponent of growing the number of women in STEM.



Anima Anandkumar

Anima Anandkumar

Another leading lady in the data science domain is Anima Anandkumar. She is the director of machine learning research at NVIDIA and a Bren professor at Caltech CMS department. Before this, she was a principal scientist at Amazon Web Service, where she has enabled machine learning on the cloud infrastructure.

She has spearheaded research in unsupervised AI, deep learning, optimization, and tensor methods. Anima, a graduate from IIT Madras has received her Ph.D. from Cornell University. She has been featured in documentaries by PBS, KPCC, wired magazine, and in articles by MIT Technology Review, Forbes, Yourstory, O’Reilly media, and more.

Anima has worked to democratize AI, promote ethical use, and improve diversity and inclusion in AI. She was awarded the good tech award 2018 by NYTimes for her efforts.


Rachel Thomas

Rachel Thomas

Rachel Thomas is a deep learning researcher and the co-founder of She is also the founding Director of the Center for Applied Data Ethics at the University of San Francisco which aims to address harms such as disinformation, surveillance, algorithmic bias, and other misuses of data. Rachel earned her math Ph.D. at Duke and was an early engineer at Uber.

She was featured in Forbes magazine as one of the 20 most incredible women in AI. Rachel is a popular writer and keynote speaker, on topics of data ethics, AI accessibility, and bias in machine learning



To the women who have gone through this article, I hope this list becomes a beacon of inspiration for you to tackle all the obstacles and ignites the aspiration within to feature in such a list in your future.

In this article, we tried to cover some eminent female AI influencers that shaped 2020. I will personally recommend you to follow these women influencers on social media to learn and get inspired from them.

Let us know in the comments of the Female AI influencers that you look up to.

Shipra Saxena 16 Dec, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

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Responses From Readers


Archana 16 Dec, 2020

Inspiring article

Henri 17 Dec, 2020

A really interesting piece of news Here are two women who I think should be in this list too as per their experience and achievements Mouchira Labidi and Alison Patou

Parthasarathy Subashini
Parthasarathy Subashini 19 Dec, 2020

Hello Shipra, This is a nice collection and the article has been written well. But my point is, these are women who are in positions of embracing technologies in their career. Have you heard about women who made others especially people of next-generation, other than IT, school children, etc to use, to be aware of technology, AI etc.? I feel thats more important.

Noor 19 Dec, 2020

Very interesting article. And i am extremely pleased Timnit Gebru is not included. This seems like a list based on real achievements. Greetings Noor

Noor 19 Dec, 2020

Helle, nice list based on real achievements. Happy Timnit Gebru is not included. Greeting Noor

Nina 27 Dec, 2020

I've recently become interested in the Algorithmic Bias work of people like Safiya Noble and Joy Buolamwini.

Greg Hutchings
Greg Hutchings 27 Dec, 2020

Thank you for publishing this list of amazing women leaders in AI. I will share with my 13 year old daughter and her Science Club group.