Parke, Joanna

2017 Young Alumni Achievement Award

For creating radical change in the hiring practices of the tech sector through dedication, innovation, and leadership

Joanna Parke

Joanna Parke

BSEE '00


Chicago, Illinois

When Joanna Parke joined ThoughtWorks fourteen years ago, she was a software developer—and one of four female developers out of about 85. She evolved her skills and business acumen, moving into project management, program management, and client engagement. Now the managing director of North America, she oversees the largest market for the global IT company that operates in 15 countries.

Prior to her current role, she led the central region of the U.S. and Canada, and she created the Associate Consultant Program to develop new and diverse talent. She led a five year diversity effort that nearly doubled the percentage of women and minorities on ThoughtWorks’ North American technical staff.

Hiring a diverse workforce is more than checking boxes for ThoughtWorks. While closing the gender gap in technology is an important social issue, it is also a vital business strategy. Parke’s efforts included developing a nontraditional approach to interviewing that deliberately combats the unconscious biases that typically lead interviewers to hire someone who seems just like them. Now, when a national media outlet like Huffington Post needs to speak to an expert about gender diversity in tech, Joanna Parke is on their short list.

Parke continues to bring a passion for technology and value creation focus to clients. She was included in Crain’s Chicago Business’ 40 under 40 and is often quoted in the media promoting diversity in the tech industry.