Jo Mei Chang, Vitria Technology

In just one year, 48-year-old JoMei Chang has gone from CEO of an obscure software maker to the boss of one of the hottest tech properties in Silicon Valley. Her company, Vitria Technology Inc. (VITR), grew more than 400% in 2000, to an estimated $150 million, and is even eking out a profit.

Vitria is the culmination of years of research for Chang, who moved from Taiwan to the U.S. in 1974 to get a PhD in computer management systems. Vitria makes the software that acts as a bridge for old, hard-to-replace systems to accommodate Internet software. "They are counting on us," Chang says of her clients. There's still work to be done: Wall Street, zeroing in on small tech stocks, has battered Vitria shares recently. But the company seems to have found a niche. Indeed, many of its customers wouldn't have an e-business strategy without Chang's technology.