Women in Location

Special Section
By Natasha Léger | Published March 11, 2013

I have been co-Founder and editor or LBx Journal for four years now and I have become increasingly concerned by the visible lack of women in the location industry. How many conferences do you attend where women are 10 percent or less of the audience, or where women represent less then one percent of the speakers, and webinar participants are mostly men? Company Boards of Directors and management teams are mostly men. And the list goes on. One male senior executive of a very sizable location company even observed that “the lack of women in the industry is just not healthy.”

While the gender disparity is stark, it is not unusual in the technology field. Women have not naturally gravitated towards engineering, science, and technology for a variety of social, cultural and personal reasons. But what was particularly gnawing at me was the fact that location-based thinking, applications, and technologies are so naturally aligned with the way women think and view the world because of the holistic nature of spatial analysis. So if it’s so natural, why aren’t there more women in the space, or why aren’t they visible? That set me on the path to finding dynamic women from across the location ecosystem at varying stages in their careers to put not only faces, but women’s faces to the various aspects of location.

My goal, as I told all of the women profiled, was to produce a very inspiring feature on Women in Location. I think we accomplished that. But I think we accomplished even more. Not only are the women in this feature inspiring, their views on location inspiring, their roles in promoting the importance and development of location inspiring—especially their unique ways of executing their individual responsibilities—but collectively, they have expressed the very human aspects of location.

They have personified the ecosystem of information that stems from understanding the power and role of place in our lives. Location-based thinking and technologies are not just about the ROI, new products, revenue goals, cost cutting, and targeting consumers to buy more stuff, which have been the focus of a great deal of our reporting these last four years; it’s about the human connection we all have to place, and what that means to us as individuals—how we see the world, and how we behave in the world—for better or worse.

The women profiled in this feature represent an astounding breadth of experience from deep science to geospatial expertise to business savvy in various roles, including engineering, sales and marketing, finance, and management. They put faces, personalities, and visions to such areas of location as 3D big data management, environmental and atmospheric modeling, location-based services and mobility, mobile marketing and targeted advertising, Smart Cities, geo-accounting and geo-business intelligence, and such industries as retail, nonprofit, consulting, and communications.

This is a one-of-a-kind publication. The perspectives from these 18 dynamic women elevate the location industry to a whole new level.  This is a must read for understanding the future direction of location-based thinking, technologies, and applications.

Jennifer Allen, Nokia
Anne Bezancon, Placecast
Nancy Colleton, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies
Olivia Cosgrove, Donor2Deed
Natalie Cutsforth, Idea+Astadia
Georgia Diaconescu, Layar
Andrea Eatherly, Placed
Jillian Elder, Walgreens
Di-Ann Eisnor, Waze
Amy Fobes, geoCommunica
Celeste Fraser, Geographic Society of Chicago
Carla Johnson, EarthvisionZ
Anne Hale Miglarese, PLANETiQ
Jennifer Nugent, Sprint
Preetha Pulusani, Rolta
Amy Shapero, DigitalGlobe
Shelly Sipes, Critigen
Nancy Staisey, IBM-Smart Cities 

I would be remiss in not pointing out that, while they were not profiled in this feature, women head up the majority of the geospatial publications, including Tracy Cozzens, Managing Editor of GPS World, Jane Elliot, Publisher of Directions Media, Adena Shutzberg, Executive Editor of Directions Magazine, Myrna James Yoo, Publisher of Imaging Notes and LBx Journal, and myself included as Editor of LBx Journal. There are also many more women whom we look forward to profiling in our next feature.


Read on for the creativity, authenticity, and pure passion that emanates from these incredible Women in Location.


The complete Women in Location feature is available for download here.