• Caped Crusader

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Every superheroine has an origin story, and Aliza Sherman began her transformation into Cybergrrl in the summer of 1994. Sherman, then 27 and the director of a small domestic-violence awareness group, was strolling in Manhattan with a friend when three thugs pulled guns on them, then led them to an ATM and robbed them. Unharmed but shaken, Sherman moved to the relative safety of New Mexico, where her life took another unexpected turn. On a whim, she took a $10 class in Web programming. Afterward, she says, "I thought, `This is it. This is my medium.' "

Returning to New York City in January 1995, a reborn Sherman founded Cybergrrl, Inc. (, which has grown into a 14-person new-media firm that sells Web content to clients such as Clinique and maintains several popular women-oriented sites of its own. Its real-world spinoff, Webgrrls, organizes support groups in 107 cities for "both the woman who wants to learn about technology and the woman who wants to network," says Sherman, whose book, Cybergrrl! A Woman's Guide to the World Wide Web, hit shelves this month. She says the wacky alias has helped her make a name as a power player and a role model. Top techie women, she says, "need to be visible so other women and girls can say, 'I want that job. That's a cool job -- and look, there's a woman there.'"


PHOTO: Allison Leach

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