On a cool October evening, the National Diversity Council had the pleasure of welcoming and recognizing a particularly accomplished array of women leading the tech industry at the 2016 Most Powerful and Influential Women in Technology awards dinner. At a time when the gender disparity in that same industry is being given extra attention, the dinner served as a well-deserved showcase of the type of role models that will help the next generation of diverse leaders develop their own path into and up the world’s foremost engine for innovation.

National Diversity Council Founder and Chairman, Dennis Kennedy, explained, ““We are honored to have the opportunity to recognize such deserving leaders reaching new heights in technology. We hope that highlighting these women and their success inspires future leaders and proves to them that their goals are never beyond reach.”

The dinner was hosted at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Santa Clara, California – dead center inside the most prolific region for technological progress – with the theme “Women in Tech: Inventors, Innovators and Entrepreneurs.” Recognized were industry stalwarts like Dr. Lisa Su from AMD and Marissa Mayer from Yahoo along with Erica Aliota from Yelp and Maria Martinez from Salesforce among many other deserving leaders.

The dinner began with registration and a networking reception for all attendees and awardees. At 7:00 p.m., attendees were given a warm welcome from Cleghorn Performance Elevation LLC President, Megan Cleghorn. Following opening remarks, attendees had the opportunity to get to know each awardee through a presentation featuring their childhood career goals and their personal advice to future leaders.

“No one is asking you to be the best,” said Devon Valencia, Vice President of IT Program Delivery at Blue Shield of California. “They’re asking you to show up and do your best.”

Attendees were treated to the inspiring words of the 2016 Most Powerful Women in Technology, laying out the unique path each took to reach the top of their profession beginning from their youth when they found role models that pushed them to be better, through the trials and tribulations that come from being a woman in a male-dominated environment.

Past much anticipation, this year’s Most Powerful and Influential Women in Technology were called upon to receive their awards. This award highlights women who are breaking barriers, setting high standards, and achieving great levels of success in the male dominated technology industry. Each of the present awardees proudly walked to the stage to receive their awards as families, friends, colleagues, and next generation’s leaders – newly inspired – cheerfully applauded their success.