Yesterday was Ada Lovelace Day. What is Ada Lovelace Day? A day to honor inspirational female role models in the field of technology.

Who is my Ada? I’m incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by brilliant geek women, so selecting my Ada is delightfully difficult. Today, as I look back over my 20+ years in technology and pose the question, “What woman has helped me the most in my career as a digital alchemist?” I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the answer is Sharron Rush and Steph Troeth. That is right, I’ve got two Adas!

Sharron Rush is the executive director of Knowbility, a non-profit whose mission is “to support the independence of children and adults with disabilities by promoting the use and improving the accessibility of information technology”. Through the Accessibility Internet Rally (AIR), John Slatin AccessU Training Conference and the countless hours she spends on W3C Education and Outreach, Sharron cultivates a web that is available to all, regardless of disabilities. She is visionary, loving, flexible, compassionate, courageous, hard-working and dependable. Sharron’s passion for accessibility is contagious…and there is always room for more people to join us until barrier free IT is a reality.

Now, let me attempt to convey the treasure known as Steph Troeth. In 2006, I virtually met Steph as we agreed to co-lead the WaSP International Liaison Group. I dare say that she is the most brilliant person I’ve ever worked with. She is quiet, unassuming and all about getting the right job done well. I admire her more than I can possibly say. We share a passion to nurture a sustainable open web and that passion has lead to a friendship that I deeply cherish.

I think Aaron Gustafson said it best –

“Steph is nothing short of amazing, but she’d be the last to tell you that. In the Web Standards Project (WaSP), Steph has proven herself time and time again to be an active, organized, and highly motivated individual capable of tackling a project on her own, as part of a larger group, or in command of a team. And unlike many people with her talents, Steph is confident, but not cocky or egotistical. She’s not afraid to disagree with you, but is more interested in finding common ground than in being argumentative. Above all, Steph is someone you can count on. If you ask her to handle something, you can rest assured it’ll get done and that’s why she’s been such a joy to work with…” – Aaron Gustafson’s recommendation of Steph Troeth on LinkedIn

She is a renaissance woman and I often fancy that she is a modern day Leonardo da Vinci. Poet, photographer, musician and technologist. She is, without a doubt, my digital muse and my dear friend.