Whitman may have lost California's gubernatorial election, but she's still one of the most powerful women in technology. Currently the CEO of HP ( HPQ), Whitman has the company on a five-year turnaround plan. Although sales have been declining, costs have been reduced. Investors have begun to respond to the plan, as HP shares have jumped more than 80% year-to-date.

Prior to joining HP first as a member of the board then as CEO in 2011, Whitman spent a decade as CEO of Internet giant eBay ( EBAY). Whitman joined the company in 1998, leading it just after it came to the public markets. By the time she left eBay in 2008, Whitman had grown the company from $4.7 million in annual sales to $7.7 billion in revenue. Following that, she spent $160 million to try to become governor of California, only to lose the Jerry Brown.

Before joining the Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP, Whitman served as a strategic advisor for well-known venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins.

In addition to her role at HP, Whitman is on the board of Procter & Gamble ( PG) and Zipcar. Whitman is one of California's richest women, with $1.9 billion in net worth. The Long Island native graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Business School. She is married to Griffith Harsh IV, a neurosurgeon at Stanford University.

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