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!

A Lizard In The Security Shed

Hey, here’s a short audio clip, recorded by the EK-FM Radio Presenter, Nancy Sungu, in Kenya. For the past 8 weeks, EK-FM has been off-air due to maintenance issues (in fact, a lizard got into their security shed and fried their transmitter!). The silent air-waves caused much upset in the community.

In the interview, Diana Akinyi, a small-scale farmer on Mfangano Island, explains the impact of EK-FM. Each week she listens to the farmer’s voice radio hour to get up-to-date information on local farming practices. While the radio was off-air getting repaired she missed out!

Diana on the Impact of EK Radio:

kr

The good news? The transmitter was just returned to the Island last week. And because EK-FM won a 1st place prize award in the Big Ideas at Berkeley competition, they were granted $8K to do a solar upgrade to increase broadcast hours from 5 hours a day to 12 hours a day. This is the real deal.

kr

Travel Tips, Inspired By Misadventures

Okay, you already know about useful sites like TripAdvisor and SeatGuru, and you’re doing your best to accumulate and use frequent-flier points. Here are some tips to cover the other stuff, inspired partly by my own misadventures.

The context for these tips is that I travel for public service and philanthropy, not business; I haven’t been in craigslist management since 2000. (I hear that people travel for “pleasure” or on “vacation,” which I understand are mythological concepts.)

Store everything online. Anything that has to be local, encrypt. Act as if you could lose your laptop anytime. Recently, I cleverly left my backpack in the cab taking me from airport to hotel, containing my laptop and medicines. The latter includes thyroid medicine, since I need it daily or I WILL DIE. (Slight exaggeration.)

As for forgetting the laptop, that’s expensive, but I keep very little data locally (anything sensitive is elsewhere). Worst that could happen is that someone would learn my terrible taste in music and books…

Learn to do pretty much everything on the phone. Seriously, I can do almost all of my work on a smartphone, though some tasks are much easier on a laptop. Regarding your phone, store everything online. Accept that your terrible taste in music and books will become public. Always carry your phone in a pocket or somehow attached to you. For male humans, if the pocket thing doesn’t work for you, learn to love the “murse.” May have begun with Seinfeld…

Before you get to the airport, or inflight with Wi-Fi, check out your flight status. Now and then, I get a flight canceled with little notice. Sometimes that happens when I’m in flight, and my connecting flight is the problem. I use flightstats, which also seems to have the most current ETA. Even if you’re at the airport, and they ask you to line up for customer service to get a flight, get on the phone while you’re in the line.

Do good while traveling. Sometimes hotels don’t have a preventive maintenance program, and you encounter a problem with facilities like the shower or A/C. Even if you’ll be there one day and have to deal with it once, call hotel engineering anyway. (The next guest won’t have to deal with it and will never know you helped, but do it anyway.) While you’re at it, bring an extra charger and cable, and loan it or give it away to someone who forgot theirs.

If you happen to mix business with pleasure, be prepared to dodge drool.

Sometimes, I’ll take a side trip and wind up in a family way. Pictured is the #20 nephew, aka The Kumquat. He’s the one (visibly) drooling.

Oh, and if you’re possibly getting married, and it’s possible that they might have a chair dance planned for you, I recommend scotch.

Photo: creative commons licensed (BY-ND) flickr photo by ♔ Georgie R; selfie with Billy the baby

Why It’s Important to Get Girls Involved in Tech

Folks, I’ve been supporting an effort to get women and girls involved in tech for some time now, with support for orgs like Girls Who Code and Black Girls CODE. I’ve also done some work with Roya Mahboob and the New Delhi-based Feminist Approach to Technology. And, I’ve been working with The Women’s Building in SF. Check out this map to see where we’ve teched across the globe…

The U.S. Department of Labor projects that by 2020, there will be 1.4 million computer specialist job openings. To reach gender parity by 2020, women have gotta fill half of these positions, or 700,000 computing jobs. Right now, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but hold only 25% of the jobs in tech or computing fields (according to Girls Who Code).

This is why it’s important to get girls involved in tech now.

girls who code

Here are 5 other reasons we need to focus on teaching girls about tech:

  1. In middle school, 74% of girls show interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), but when choosing a college major, just 0.3% of high school girls select computer science. If we encouraged girls to code and to get involved in tech, more girls might start majoring in computer science.  For example, 100% of girls who participated in Girls Who Code’s 2012 program report that they’re definitely or more likely to major in computer science after taking the program.
  2. Today, women represent 12% of all computer science graduates. In 1984, they represented 37%. This number should be increasing.black girls code
  3. When we create technology and tech products, we create for the masses. By having a male perspective consistently leading and developing tech, we’re building this through the lens of men and their perspective not the masses.
  4. “The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.”- Charles MalikThat is, we’re living in a very small period of tremendous social change, where the people who are best prepared, who have the best listening and cooperative skills should get their chance of running things.

    I don’t think we’ll see revolution, we’ll see a rebalancing of power, shifting from traditional sources of power (authority and money) to power based on the size and effectiveness of one’s network.

  5. Although the digital divide’s steadily eroding, tremendous barriers to entry in the technology field still remain for women of color. Black Girls CODE notes that early access and exposure are essential to changing the status quo.

Google launched an initiative last month called Made With Code, with the goal of getting young women excited about learning to code in an effort to close the gender gap in the tech industry. Google’s investing $50 million into the program over the next 3 years. Hey, it’s a good start.

How else do you think we can work to get more girls involved in tech and coding? This is the real deal, more to come…

7 Brilliant Women in Tech

Hey, there are some women in the tech sector who really get stuff done. My team and I really wanted to highlight some disruptors who we haven’t featured before. They’re the real deal.

WWT

  1. Susan Buck, Co-Founder of The Women’s Coding Collective

    A programmer, designer, and educator with over 15 years of web development experience, Susan began her education in digital media at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunication Program and UNC Asheville’s Multimedia Arts and Sciences program.Susan co-founded The Women’s Coding Collective (WCC), an educational initiative aimed at helping more women excel in programming and web development.While working on the WCC, Susan also teaches web development at the Harvard Extension School. From 2007-2012, Susan was the senior developer with San Francisco-based Photojojo where she built and maintained an ecommerce platform.
  2. Brigitte Daniel, Executive Vice President of Wilco Electronics Systems, Inc.

    // For over 30 years, Wilco has provided affordable cable and technology services to low-income communities as well as commercial, governmental, and educational institutions, in Philadelphia. As edIQ’s new CEO, Brigitte will address the challenges in urban education and specific underserved student educational needs through the offering of an “educational technology kit” that includes an affordable mobile devices and specialized educational content from established and unique content providers.Brigitte received a 2011 Eisenhower Fellowship where she traveled to India, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia to explore and cultivate global relationships in developing emerging technologies that benefit Wilco’s unique low-income marketplace in Philadelphia.In addition, these initiatives led to Brigitte being re-appointed to the Federal Communications Commission Federal Advisory Committee on Diversity in the Digital Age.
  3. Lis Pardi, Founder of LadyNegotiator.com

    // Lis founded LadyNegotiator.com as an online resource for women preparing for negotiations. She also works on interfaces for healthcare, games, retailers, and libraries, and is the Treasurer for PhillyCHI, an interdisciplinary academic and professional group interested in human-computer interaction, user experience, usability, and other related disciplines.
  4. Rebecca Miller-Webster, Founder and co-organizer of Write/Speak/Code

    // Write/Speak/Code’s a conference teaching women developers the skills to become thought leaders, conference speakers, and open source contributors. Rebecca’s active in the Ruby community as a speaker, open source contributor, and co-organizer of the Gotham Ruby Conference.
    Rebecca is currently a teacher at Dev Bootcamp, and spent the last 10 years building software in a variety of languages for large corporations, non-profits, and start-ups, including as VP of Engineering for an early-stage start up in NYC. Rebecca also co-organizes GORUCO and makes Patterned.
  5. Zakiya Harris, Co-founder of Hack The Hood, Impact Hub Oakland, Grind for the Green, and Earthseed Consulting

    //
    Zakiya is a social change strategist, artist and educator. She works at the intersection of entrepreneurship, environmental education & creative transformation.Hack the Hood provides training in multimedia and tech skills to youth who then work on real-world consulting projects with locally-owned businesses and non-profits.The organization recently won a $500,000 grant through the Google Bay Area Impact Challenge.
  6. Rebecca Braglio, Founder of ThePhillyDog.com

    //
    When it came to dog owners and the dog service provider community, Rebecca saw that there was a huge disconnect. It occurred to her one day that Philadelphia needed a website that people could visit to find out where they could take their dog, what to do with their dog on the weekend, where the dog parks were, what fundraising events were going on…just a “one-stop-shop” kind of place to get information, and ThePhillyDog was born.ThePhillyDog.com has been recognized as a “Top 20 Dog Sites” in 2009 and 2012, and is a Top 100 Winner of the Start-Up Nation “Savvy in Social Media” award for building rapport and relationships in the community.
  7. Rashmi Sinha, CEO & Co-Founder of SlideShare

    // Rashmi focuses on product strategy and design. She has a Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuropsychology from Brown University, and conducted research on search engines and recommender systems at U.C. Berkeley.Before SlideShare, Rashmi co-founded user experience consulting company Uzanto, and built MindCanvas, a game-like software.

Be sure and also check out 10 Women Run Startups You Should Know

Who would you add to this list?

Net neutrality, TV, and what the smart people forget to tell you

People are rightly concerned about recent FCC statements about Net Neutrality. A lot of people, way smarter than me, discuss the regulatory and technology issues much better than me. My focus is on some of the basics which are pretty much always forgotten in Washington, even by some very smart people.

net neutrality

(Folks, please note I speak only for myself, not for any org that I started or anything else.)

Personal bottom line: I love TV, and looking forward to getting the good stuff via Internet services like Netflix and Amazon. Looks like a big ISP has already messed around with that, and I don’t know if we can trust the big ISPs to keep their promises.

That’s the big forgotten issue: can we trust telecoms, cable companies, and big ISPs to do what they promise to do?

You probably know the answer to that, considering broken promises, and that ISPs and telecoms often think it’s okay to break promises.

For that matter, the big guys seem to have forgotten that they make money using public property, like radio airwaves and rights of way, like where they bury cables or provide cell phone service. I feel that the American people expect the telecoms to embrace basic American values, like playing fair, like being trustworthy.

Sascha Meinrath says it well “we are the landlords and we have expected norms for the tenants of our property.”

We’re not really talking “regulation,” just enforcing the terms of the social contract between Americans and the telecoms who have the privilege of using our stuff for big profit.

Please remember that The Internet has worked really well for around thirty years with a Net Neutrality-based social contract.

If it works, don’t break it.

Bonus: an Internet-based movement emerged, a few years ago, to defeat some really bad law, SOPA. I’ve been quietly pushing the idea that we need that movement to emerge again, and become a permanent part of the US political landscape. This is the time.

Craig

Tips to Drown out the Twitter Noise

Folks, this has become a big issue on Twitter –  how do you get to the real good stuff on your Twitter feed? Where are the tweets from your community? And how do you make an effort to use Twitter most effectively for you and your organization? My team and I compiled a list of tips to drown out the Twitter noise so you can easily access the most useful content and conversations.bird

  • Use hashtags – Hashtags are still really useful. People and orgs will tag their content based on the topic, and this lets you find the latest trends or the niche content that interests you. For example, nonprofit tech related tweets tend to use the hashtag, #nptech, progressive groups use #p2 and #activism, feminists tend to use #fem2, and other good hashtags include #gov20, #vets, #milfams, #philanthropy, and #socent (social entrepreneurship).
  • Keep an eye on #FF When tweeters that’re the real deal post a Follow Friday (#FF), they’re carefully selecting people who are the real deal. This is an effective way to find “friends of friends” in the Twittersphere.
  • Don’t be afraid to unfollow tweeters – If you follow someone and realize that their tweets just don’t interest you, don’t hesitate to unfollow them. It’s not rude, it’s efficient.
  • The mute button – Twitter just rolled out a new mute button yesterday, and everyone will have it soon. The point of the button is to silence people you don’t want to unfollow, but are tired of seeing their tweets in your feed like if they are live tweeting a conference for several hours. According to Twitter:
      • To mute a user from a Tweet, tap more and then mute @username. To mute someone from their profile page, tap the gear icon on the page and choose mute @username.
      • The muted user will not know you’ve muted them, and of course you can unmute at any time.
      • The muted user will still be able to favorite, reply to, and retweet your Tweets; you just won’t see any of that activity in your timeline.
  • Build lists on Twitter – You can organize your Twitter followers into different lists. If you’re into tech, for example, you can have a tech list where you group all the techie folks, if you are following people who tweet about journalism ethics, you can make a list for them. Once you have a list, you can click on it and just see a stream of users’ tweets who you’ve assigned to that list. To manage your lists, go to your Twitter dashboard, click “More” then “Lists” and you’ll be taken to a page that lets you do everything Twitter List related. (See image below for more…)
  • Subscribe to lists on Twitter – Other people have already done a lot of the work for you by creating their own lists. You can seek out lists that interest you, and subscribe to them. This will help you to further involve yourself in the Twitter community, and is a good way of finding others who tweet about your interests without much effort.

Craig Twitter Dash

What tricks do you use to manage your Twitter account and drown out all the extra noise?

Nonprofit 2.0 Unconference is back for social change

Folks, the Nonprofit 2.0 Unconference is back, and I’m keynoting this year alongside Majora Carter, who’s the real deal. Nonprofit 2.0 is DC’s only Unconference dedicated to the social cause space.

Here’s some info about the conference according to co-founder, Allyson Kapin, who also happens to be part of the craigconnects team:

Nonprofit 2.0’s more than just a conference on the next generation web. It’s a next generation conference in format. Have you ever gone to a conference just for a keynote, but the workshops weren’t up to par? Nonprofit 2.0 delivers the best of keynotes and workshops, offering keynotes led by innovative nonprofit campaigners, thought leaders, and strategists in the space, but in an unconference way, with no PowerPoints, 15 minute leads, and open questions and dialogue to give a voice to everyone.”

Following the keynote sessions, Nonprofit 2.0 shifts into a full-on Unconference with workshops facilitated by DC’s brightest minds strategizing for social change.

Untitled

What’s an Unconference? Well, you start with a blank wall and, in less than an hour, with a facilitator guiding the process attendees create a full day, multi-track conference agenda that is relevant and inspiring to everyone in the room. All are welcome to put forward presentations or propose conversations that you’d like to have with others and:

  • questions you want answered;
  • information you want to share/present;
  • a project you would like help on;

As people register, the conference organizers will be posting proposed topics on their blog.

Last year’s event sold out pretty early, so get your tickets now, if you’re able, and don’t miss out.  You can use comp code nptech for 10% off registration fees.

As I mentioned, I’ll be keynoting this year with Majora Carter, one of the biggest activists and disruptors tackling urban revitalization in communities that are often ignored. The smart Craig Newmark will be talking about the non-traditional business philosophy of “doing well by doing good,” and my belief in the advantage of “bottom-up” grassroots action.

I’ve heard that Majora will discuss her journey, message, and vision to revitalize communities that are forgotten. Her TED talk on Greening the Ghetto is the important stuff.

Join us on June 26thth at SEIU for what promises to be a 4th sold out unconference. Folks, this is the real deal, and tickets are just $45. Plus, I can get you 10% off with the comp code nptech. It’s not altruism, it just feels right.

And, please note that any net proceeds will be donated to a local charity.

 

A Transitioning Veteran’s Biggest Challenge

DMG PhotoWhile transitioning out of the military, the greatest challenge I faced is one that many Veteran organizations don’t attempt to solve. I wasn’t wounded and I don’t suffer from psychological burdens with PTSD that keep me from chasing success, as these challenges far surpass the ones I’ve experienced.

What I’m referring to, something that I believe applies to all Veterans, was my lack of understanding about the differences between military and civilian career progression. 

Military job fairs, translating Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) to civilian skills on resumes, interview training, and other mechanisms for helping Veterans transition are valuable services that combat challenges during transition.

However, while in the military I followed a rigid career path as I was promoted to higher rank. Roughly every few years, the group responsible for career progression in my unit gave me limited options to choose from for my next military job. There were many mentors available to me who had followed a similar path to make it easier for me to make an informed decision.

If I worked hard at obtaining a specific job that was on my list of options, I could increase my likelihood of getting it.  Yet, if I did no extra work to get my next military job, the military would still give me one.

I found a very different scenario in civilian life. I was fundamentally unaware of the tactical actions I had to take to succeed, which proved overwhelming and frustrating after my career in the military. I was lucky to overcome this and find what I love to do, but am concerned that many of my fellow Veterans are not so lucky.

While leaving active duty, I often heard ex-military folks suggesting a common set of options for my post-military life: government agencies, defense contractors, medical device sales, getting that next level academic degree. I’m sure many Veterans hear the same advice, and treat those options as if they are the only ones available, falling into old habits from how they found their previous jobs in the military.

mil jobfair

But those options didn’t fit my ambitions. I realized that my true list of options was limitless, yet I didn’t have that person assigned to me to ensure I ended up in a position that suited my skills; nobody standing by to mentor me as I made a decision that would impact my family and me for the rest of our lives.

I found two key skills most valuable to help overcome this transitional challenge:

1) Networking to find mentors – Because no one was assigned to give me a job, I learned that networking was key for civilian employment. Finding a “wingman” to go with me to networking events (where I felt awkward and uncomfortable otherwise) to introduce me to his/her network was enormously helpful.

Organizations that help connect you to like-minded folks in specific civilian industries, such as Vets In Tech and Get Skills To Work, are great places to start searching for these live events and mentors.

Online social networking tools allowed me to research people who had the job I thought I wanted, and I was able to use those tools to get to more of those people than I ever expected. RockTech’s platform (tailored with content for Veterans in partnership with General Electric) can help Veterans looking to get more from LinkedIn.

The marriage of online and offline tools was overwhelmingly useful.

2) Selling my plan to my new mentors while seeking candid feedback – You never really have to sell anything in the military, especially not yourself.  You have to earn badges and ribbons, make rank, and score well on evaluations, but you rarely have to verbally sell yourself as you do in civilian life to get your next role. This concept is inconsistent with the humble professionals we are taught to be while in uniform.

Additionally, when you present your battle plan, the military teaches you to deliver it with confidence and a command presence that leaves no question in your conviction for executing that plan.

You can’t tell your troops to take a hill and then say “… er, um, unless you guys have a better idea?” Because many veterans join the service early in life, often while still teenagers, we often don’t know where to start crafting our civilian battle plan and just aren’t qualified to speak with such confidence.

We need to make a plan and ask for candid feedback from mentors who have experience to help confirm or deny whether our plan makes sense. An extra challenge here is that many civilians handle Veterans “gently”, out of respect for their service, often being too nice to provide candid feedback.

If you fall into this category as a mentor to a Veteran, realize that this Service member has likely weathered much worse than a verbal disagreement. You’re doing them a disservice if you don’t provide constructive criticism to help them shape their career.

If you know of resources for Veterans to use in their transition for these or other skills, please share them in the comment section.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑