6 Impressive Women in Engineering

It’s important to acknowledge and support the people on the backend doing good work. Too often, women engineers get little to no acknowledgement for the work they’re doing. As a nerd, it’s my philosophy that everyone gets a fair chance to be heard. It’s one of the reasons I started craigconnects.org.

My team and I have compiled a list of women in engineering who are the real deal. These women work and build the companies that many of us use every single day, but you may have never heard of them. This is a selection that people don’t hear enough about, as opposed to the notoriety that some others get. I’d like to challenge you to check out the work that these women are doing.

STEM 2

 

1. Holly Liu, Cofounder and Chief of Staff at Kabam

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Kabam is the leader in the western world for free-to-play core games. Holly also oversees Kabam’s corporate culture as head of People Operations (“People Ops”), which is responsible for driving Kabam’s vision, mission, and values for its more than 800 employees in offices around the world. Holly has helped build a world-class human resources team that is responsible for recruiting and retaining top talent and has grown Kabam’s personnel base by 500% in three years.

Holly was named to Forbes’ “Top 10 Women Entrepreneurs to Watch” in 2013 and one of Fortune’s “10 Most Powerful Women in Gaming.”

2. Avni Shah, Director of Product Management at Google

Avni is in charge of Chrome development at Google. She was one of two women to present at Google’s recent developer’s conference I/O. During her presentation, Avni introduced the new version of Chrome coming in the next Android update dubbed Android L.

3. Nadine Harik, Engineering Manager at Pinterest

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Before joining the Pinterest team, Nadine was at Google overseeing the Web and mobile Web teams

When Nadine first started working the the tech field, she described how quickly she became tired of explaining her role at the tech companies she worked for to strangers who assumed she was in HR or community management.

“Now,” Nadine says, “I tend to always preface with, ‘I work at Pinterest and I’m an engineer at Pinterest.'”

4. Merline Saintil, Head of Global Engineering Operations at Yahoo, and Advisor for EngageClick

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Merline is an international technology executive, business advisor, and operations expert, having distinguished herself as a leader in fast growing sectors of cloud computing, mobile, online payments and commerce. She has been involved in the process of creating software as well as managing global teams to produce world-class products in a variety of positions at Sun Microsystems, Adobe, PayPal and Joyent, Inc.

Merline currently serves on the Strategic Development Board and co-leads the COO C-Suite of Watermark (leading organization for Executive Women).

Outside of her business interests, Merline said she’s advising Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (CA-18) on the first mobile app challenge for high school students sponsored by the U.S. House of Representatives. She has a passion for mentoring, investing, supporting women in technology

5. Ruchi Sanghvi, Head of Operations at Dropbox

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Prior to joining Dropbox, Sanghvi served as the co-founder and CEO of Cove, a collaboration, coordination and communication product for organizations and communities.

Sanghvi holds the distinction of being the first female engineer at Facebook and was instrumental in implementing the first versions of key features such as News Feed. She then led product management and strategy for Facebook Platform and Facebook Connect. She was also responsible for core product areas such as privacy and user engagement.

The BBC asked Ruchi what it was like to be the first female engineer at Facebook? She said she “‘was used to being in a minority: at engineering school, she was one of the five female students in a class of 150.’

But at Facebook, she says, she truly came into her own.

‘You had to be opinionated, you had to make sure your point of view was heard, you had to ask questions. Sometimes people would tell you were stupid and you’d start all over again,'” she said.

6.  Hilary Mason, Founder and Chief Executive at Fast Forward Labs

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Before founding Fast Forward Labs, Hilary was chief scientist at link-shortening company Bitly for almost four years and more recently worked part-time for Accel Partners as a data scientist in residence.

A subscription to Fast Forward Labs includes quarterly R&D reports, prototypes, innovation events, and an ongoing dialogue with their team on the topics of innovation and near future technologies.

Hopefully you learned about someone new, and maybe started following that person. I’d appreciate it if you left a comment with someone you’d like to see in a 2.0 version of this list. My team and I would like to hear from you about some women in engineering who really have their boots on the ground. Thanks!

5 Voter Rights Orgs You Should Follow

Hey, the Founders of the US tell us that everyone’s equal in the eyes of the law, meaning that citizens have the right to vote. However, there are politicians who don’t like that, and they’re attacking the integrity of the election by making it hard for people to vote. Fortunately, there are some organizations doing really good work to ensure that any barriers to voting are removed for everyone who’s got the right to vote.

We also gotta vote and make sure the politicians hear our voices and know we count and we matter.

I’d like you to help out all Americans fulfill what I feel is an actual duty to our families, neighborhoods, and the country. Check out these organizations, register to vote, and maybe ask your neighbor if they’re registered, too. It’s pretty simple to vote by mail, nowadays, if allowable. (I’ve done so for most of the last twenty something years.)

5 voter rights orgs you should follow, in no particular order:

1. Voto Latino (disclaimer: I’m on their Advisory Board)

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Voto Latino is a nonpartisan organization that empowers Latino Millennials to claim a better future for themselves and their community. United by the belief that Latino issues are American issues and American issues are Latino issues, Voto Latino is dedicated to bringing new and diverse voices to develop leaders by engaging youth, media, technology and celebrities to promote positive change.

Why it Matters:

• There are roughly 15 million American Latino youth in the U.S., but only a small fraction vote.
• 50% of all eligible Latino voters are under 40 and 33% are between 18 and 34.
• By 2050, Latino youth are expected to comprise 29% of the U.S. youth population.
• 66,000 American Latinos turn 18 every month.
• 90% of American Latinos under 29 consume information in English.
• Latinos make up more than 10% of the electorate in 11: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada and Texas.

2. League of Women Voters

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The League of Women Voters is a citizens’ organization that has fought since 1920 to improve our government and engage all citizens in the decisions that impact their lives. They operate at national, state and local levels through more than 800 state and local Leagues, in all 50 states as well in DC, the Virgin Islands and Hong Kong.

Formed from the movement that secured the right to vote for women, the centerpiece of the League’s efforts remain to expand participation and give a voice to all Americans. They do this at all three levels of government, engaging in both broad educational efforts as well as advocacy. Their issues are grounded in our respected history of making democracy work for all citizens.

3. The Brennan Center for Justice

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The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve our systems of democracy and justice. They work to hold our political institutions and laws accountable to the twin American ideals of democracy and equal justice for all. The Center’s work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from racial justice in criminal law to Constitutional protection in the fight against terrorism. A singular institution — part think tank, part public interest law firm, part advocacy group, part communications hub — the Brennan Center seeks meaningful, measurable change in the systems by which our nation’s governed.

4. Rock the Vote rock the vote

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Rock the Vote is the largest non-profit and non-partisan organization in the US driving the youth vote to the polls. Fusing pop culture, politics, and technology, Rock the Vote works to mobilize the millennial voting bloc and the youth vote, protect voting rights, and advocate for an electoral process and voting system that works for the 21st century electorate.
Since 1990, Rock the Vote has revolutionized the use of pop culture, music, art and technology to inspire political activity. Now, for almost 25 years, Rock the Vote has pioneered ways to make voting easier by simplifying and demystifying voter registration and elections for young adults.

They were early advocates for states allowing voters to register by mail and were the first organization to use a toll-free number to register voters over the phone. They were also the first organization to create a voter registration tool to register voters online.

5. Fair Elections Legal Network

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The Fair Elections Legal Network (FELN) is a national, nonpartisan voting rights and legal support organization whose mission is to remove barriers to registration and voting for traditionally underrepresented constituencies and improve overall election administration through administrative, legal, and legislative reform as well as provide legal and technical assistance to voter mobilization organizations.

 

 

Thanks! And please comment with other groups doing good work…My team and I will check ’em out, and maybe add them to this Resource List that we’re compiling.

La Vida Craigbert

Craigbert colorCraigbert, or a really accurate portrait

During my IBM and Charles Schwab years (1976-95) I lived La Vida Dilbert [dilbert.com], seriously hardcore.

Dilbert really captures the truth of much corporate life, and does so perfectly from the software worker’s perspective. It’s also a brilliant commentary on organizational behavior.

Personally, I have to always commit to the Dilbert attitude, that things can be better, and that can be very trying when I spend time in Washington or in the nonprofit world.

It’d be too easy to lose hope, and then to work the system much like Wally, or many of the lobbyists of K Street. (There are genuine public service lobbyists, but not a lot.)

Anyway, Scott Adams lives in the Bay Area, not far away, and I tremendously appreciate what he does. I read Dilbert each and every day, not only new strips, online, but on paper.

Scott, thanks!

Are You Ready to Vote?

Folks, we’re only 2 weeks away from National Voter Registration Day (NVRD), on September 23. In 2008, 6 million Americans didn’t vote because they missed a registration deadline or didn’t know how to register. In 2014, Your Vote!NVRD’s continuing their efforts to make sure everyone has a fair chance to vote.

And please remember that the Declaration of Independence reminds us that everyone should be treated equally under the law, and that includes voting rights.

You may wonder what NVRD will actually accomplish, and according to their site, the purpose of this day is to:

      • Register Voters: A network of a thousand orgs operating on the ground and through social media will register tens of thousands of voters in the field and tens of thousands more online while also receiving pledges to vote from those already registered.
      • Mobilize Volunteers: By partnering with nonprofits not usually engaged in voter registration drives, and amplifying existing drives through event-based recruitment and cultural outreach, National Voter Registration Day will bring together thousands of volunteers across the nation to register voters.
      • Educate Eligible Voters: Millions of voters need to register and re-register every year. By utilizing new technology and leveraging partners, we’ll educate more Americans than ever before, bringing new voters into the fold.
      • Change the Conversation: National Voter Registration Day will be an opportunity to put our differences aside and celebrate the rights that unite us as Americans; democracy.

celebrating democracy

I also want to acknowledge all the folks who really have their boots on the ground. National Voter Registration Day has been made possible in part by a working group of orgs providing coordination and support. These organizations include, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Education Fund, Bus Federation Civic Fund, Fair Elections Legal Network, League of Women Voters, Nonprofit VOTE, Rock the Vote, and Voto Latino.

They’ve also created a Partner Toolkit, which is a collection of resources for you to use in an effort to organize events and activities leading up to National Voter Registration Day 2014.

The Toolkit includes a field guide, communications guide, graphics, and legal guides by state, please check that out. Make sure to share this stuff, and use the hashtag, #CelebrateNVRD.

And, if you’re planning an event, make sure to add it to NVRD’s event directory so others in your community can be aware and get involved.

In the past, I created a list of reasons I think it’s important to vote. Check it out, and let me know if you have anything to add.

Are you registered to vote?

8 Things Only a Nerd With an Appreciation for Nature Will Understand

  1. Craig and the Mrs are ok with our four 2am visitors…they hang out in the birdbath that the pigeons dominate in the day.
    coons
  2. It’s imperative to photograph home office visitors. A recent visitor to my home office, right from The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill….
    parrot
  3. Always use the Squirrel-resistant Suet Palace, or risk full takeover from the squirrels. (note to self: refill the Palace)
  4. New bird alerts are included in my list of important news. For example, recently spotted a Swift, possible a Vaux’s. Will assign spouse to get a photo.
  5. Home cooking at Eileen and Craig’s place:
    home cooking
  6. So, I’m walking through Union Square, and I see this hawk flying to the roof of a clothes store, and the hawk is helping the city with its rat problem, if you know what I mean…
  7. You don’t need a rainmaker when you have this sorta backyard:
  8. Some days spent working to identify the Cole Valley mystery tree! Could be New Zealand Christmas Tree or maybe Red Flowering Gum. Do you know? Thanks!
    mystery

 

A reminder: if the photo’s a good one, probably taken by Mrs Newmark

6 Women Run Startups to Check Out

Good news, according to a report released by the Center for American Progress:

  • the number of women-owned firms in the US grew by 59% from 1997 to 2013—1.5x the national average.
  • Women of color are the majority owners at close to 1/3 of all women-owned firms in the nation.
  • African American women are both the fastest-growing segment of the women-owned-business population and the largest share of female business owners among women of color, at 13%.

Here are 6 women-run startups you should check out:

1. Love With Food – Aihui Ong, Founder and CEO. Love With Food helps you discover new organic or all-natural snacks delivered to your door every month. Their subscription membership starts at $10/month. For every box sold, they donate a meal to several food banks, like the Feeding America Network and Share Our Strength – No Kid Hungry.

love with food

2. TurboVote – Kathryn Peters, Co-founder & COO. A reminder system for voters so that you don’t miss an election. They make voting easy by helping you register to vote (or updating your voter registration), helping you get absentee ballots and vote by mail, and by sending you reminders so you never forget to vote. turbovote

3. CakeHealth – Rebecca Woodcock, Founder and CEO. A free way to manage health care. CakeHealth brings all your health care plans together online so you can easily track your health spending — without the paperwork.

4. LearnUp – Alexis Ringwald, Co-founder & CEO. LearnUp solves the skills gap by empowering entry-level job seekers to learn the skills needed to get hired. They develop online trainings in partnership with employers that enables job seekers to practice real life situations of a particular job. By completing the training before they interview, job seekers are prepared for the job and increase their chances of getting hired. LearnUp is building the education-to-employment pathway for those looking for work, while helping employers hire qualified talent.

learnup

5. Samahope – Leila Janah and Sivani Garg Patel, Co-founders. Samahope was one of the first nonprofits to apply the crowdfunding model to the challenges of global health. They support doctors to fund the patient outreach and transportation, food/board, medicines, treatment (personnel and facilities), training, equipment/supplies. They also focus on women and children — The medical treatments they fund, in most cases, disproportionately affect women and children living in the poorest parts of the world. By connecting you directly with the doctors in the field, Samahope closes the gap between the donation, itself, and the impact it has on someone’s life.

samahope

 

6. MoolaHoop – Brenda Bazan and Nancy Hayes, Co-founders. MoolaHoop is a rewards-based crowdfunding platform that enables women entrepreneurs seeking to raise funds for their small business. MoolaHoop enables women-owned, -managed and –led small businesses to easily engage their “crowd” of existing customers, potential customers, family and friends in order to raise funds for their business.

moolahoop

What are your favorite women-led startups? And who would you add to a 2.0 version of this list? More to come…

Why Men Must “Lean In” to Support Women’s Leadership

Our times call for  some innovators and women leaders who work in partnership with men. Again, this is about my commitment to fairness.

Basically, it’s time we get more women into public office. I recorded this video about fairness and getting better government everywhere, maybe indulge me? It’s about creating real social change, for the better.

I’ve joined up with the Women In Public Service Project to play my part. I’m working with them to host a call to action to champions of change around the world. You can be a part of this movement, too…

(I also recorded a video about how to use social media better, for equality. Maybe it’ll help ya out.)

 

How to Use Social Media Better, For Equality

Hey, I have a commitment to fairness, based on a (naive) nerd desire to make life less unfair.

I’ve created a video asking you to help create a more fair world, please indulge me and watch, and share it. It’s for a good cause, and is a brief discussion of social media for the Women in Public Service Project.

The thing is, social media can be harnessed for policy-making, and remember that real change doesn’t happen from the top down. That is, the act of discussing policy in social media helps participants buy into it, and later, the discussion record helps other join the effort.

So, my challenge for you to is work with each other, within your networks, then between networks, to commit to the mutual acquisition of power, on a near daily basis, from now to 2050.

The gist of the challenge is to use social networking such that your discussions can extend beyond tens or hundreds of people into millions of people. This can span countries, time, and cultures.

Caveat: trolls, sometimes professional ones, will seek profit at your expense. Watch out for trolls who tell a good, heart-wrenching story.troll meme

I’ll help however I can, and I have confidence in you. So, what I’m asking of you is commitment to collaborate with people in your immediate network.

My challenge to you is to work together, with each other, in your networks, then transcend networks. I’m making a big ask of you…Can I have your commitment?

6 Inspirational Women In Tech

Hey, it’s a priority of mine to promote the work that good people are doing.

A lot of times women don’t get the recognition they deserve in the tech industry. In the last  few blog posts I’ve shared about really good women in tech, we asked folks to suggest women they thought really had their boots on the ground.

My team (which includes Justyn Hintze of Rad Campaign and Allyson Kapin, Founder of Women Who Tech and Rad Campaign) and I researched your suggestions, and created a list of 6 women (or orgs run for women, by women) who are doing tech right. You should follow and support these women, if you’re able.

tech

J. Kelly Hoey@jkhoey, is a strategist, speaker, startup board member and angel investor focused on social/digital and the human motivations which fuel innovation. A connection-maker, networking strategist and expert community builder, Kelly is known for her leadership in building valuable professional networks, understanding the dynamics of engaged communities and the “how” of raising visibility, online and off.

Women Who Hack, @WomenWhoHack, are casual get togethers for women who want to hack on projects with or around other women. All types of projects (software and hardware), languages, platforms and experience levels are welcome. Their goal is to support local women hackers (and aspiring hackers) by providing a safe, welcoming environment in which they can connect with and learn from each other. They’re based in Portland, OR.

Kimberly Scott, @COMPUGIRLS, is the Founder of COMPUGIRLS, a culturally responsive technology program for adolescent (ages 13-18) girls from under-resourced school districts in Phoenix and Colorado. Kimberly is also Associate Professor of Women and Gender studies at Arizona State University and an Affiliate Faculty in George Mason University’s Center for Digital Media Innovation and Diversity.

Lizelle van Vuuren, @lizellevv, recently Co-Founded StartupDenver and a monthly event called Women Who Startup which empowers Colorado entrepreneurs with the resources they need most. Lizelle believes that entrepreneurship is the key to solving the World’s biggest problems. She seeks to work with mindful people who she can learn from, and work with on new ideas, solutions, products or services that create change, improve people’s lives and makes a difference.

The Next Women, @thenextwomen, is a community of Investors, Entrepreneurs & Advisers. They build formats to support the growth of female entrepreneurs -from startups to companies making millions. They provide access to capital, resources and networks, offering our community a support infrastructure critical for success.

Jennifer Shaw, @missjennshaw, Founder of New York Tech Women and Bella Minds. @NYTechWomen helps women in tech make meaningful connections. @BellaMinds bridges the gap between urban tech centers and educated women of rural America. They empower all women to take control of their careers.

Hey, these are a few of the blog posts we pulled your suggestions from:

Please comment with your suggestions of other women in tech who are the real deal. Thanks!

5 Reasons We Need Social Change

Folks, I started this craigconnects thing because I really want to use tech to give a real voice to the voiceless, and real power to the powerless. Ever justicesince starting craigconnects, I’ve created a list of issues areas that I’m really focusing on. It’s important that we work together, as a community, and collaborate to create real social change. You can’t change the world from the top down.

Here are just 5 (of many) reasons we need social change:

  1. We seem to throw money into food and housing, yet a lot of folks are still in need, so something isn’t working right. This includes military families and veterans. We need to do it better.
  2. We need to improve the reentry experience of war veterans into the American economy and society. Less than 1% of Americans currently serve in the military, so this is a really important conversation to have. The conversation has already been started, we just need to keep collaborating and working toward our goals.
  3. Journalism Ethics. We need to ensure that journalism fulfills its role as the heart of democracy and its mission of seeking truth and building trust. The press should be the immune system of democracy. Turns out that what we have now are a lot of ethics codes and policies, but very little accountability. This is something I often discuss when I talk about trustworthy journalism in a fact-checking-free world. And this is also why I joined the board of Poynter, and work with the Columbia Journalism Review, Center for Public Integrity, and Sunlight Foundation.
  4. There are some real bad actors out there trying to implement laws to stop eligible people, including women, the elderly, and disenfranchised communities, from voting. What I learned in high school civics class is that an attack on voting rights is virtually the same as an attack on the country. We need to step up and remind folks that the Founders of the US tell us that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, meaning that citizens have the right to vote. And we need to protect that right.
  5. Today, women represent 12% of all computer science graduates. In 1984, they represented 37%. This number should be increasing, and we can change that. It’s important that we encourage girls and women to get involved in tech. Here’s more on the importance of girls in tech.

Personally, I’m a nerd, and feel that life should be fair, that everyone gets a chance to be heard, and maybe to help run things. Sure, life isn’t fair, but that won’t slow me down. A nerd’s gotta do what a nerd’s gotta do.

Note to self: JUST LISTEN. That is, don’t ALWAYS attempt to solve the problem, SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO LISTEN. (Courtesy of  “You Just Don’t Understand” by Deborah Tannen.)

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