Code of Conduct

Girl Geek X

code-of-coduct – We are committed to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for all participants, organizers, sponsors, employees, attendees, and other members of the community (collectively known as Users) of Girl Geek X events, both in personal and virtual, free from discrimination for any reason including on the basis of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, age and religion. This Code of Conduct outlines our expectations for User behavior as well as the steps to reporting and consequences for unacceptable behavior.

Expected Behavior

All Users are expected to:

  • Be considerate, respectful, collaborative, and kind.
  • Refrain from demeaning, discriminatory or harassing behavior or speech.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and of your fellow Users – your fellow Users may have a different level of comfort with respect to language and personal space.
  • Alert Girl Geek X organizers (see Reporting Guide below) if you notice any unacceptable behavior.

This code is not exhaustive or complete. It serves to distill our common understanding of a collaborative, shared environment, and goals. We expect it to be followed in spirit as much as in the letter.

Unacceptable Behavior

Unacceptable behaviors include:

  • Intimidating, harassing, abusive, discriminatory, derogatory, or demeaning conduct.
  • Offensive verbal comments including as related to gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, age, or religion.
  • Inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images in public and online spaces (including but not limited to public channels, private groups, and direct messages in the Girl Geek Slack, Zoom, or Airmeet platforms).
  • Deliberate intimidation, stalking or following of other Users in person or online.
  • Harassing photography, recording or conversation.
  • Unwelcome sexual attention.

Consequences of Unacceptable Behavior

Unacceptable behavior by Users will not be tolerated. Anyone asked to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately. If a User engages in unacceptable behavior, the Girl Geek X organizers may take any action they deem appropriate at their sole discretion, up to and including expulsion from the community, and expulsion from any event or platform(s), current or future.

Reporting Guide

If you are being subjected to unacceptable behavior, notice that someone else is being subjected to unacceptable behavior, or have concerns that this Code of Conduct is not being followed, notify a Girl Geek X Organizer as soon as possible, either by contacting them on the respective platform, or by emailing hello@girlgeek.io.

In your report, please include:

  • Your contact information.
  • Names (real, nicknames, or pseudonyms) of any individuals involved. If there are additional witnesses, please include them as well.
  • Your account of what occurred, and if you believe the incident is ongoing. If there is a publicly available record please include a link or screenshot.
  • Any additional information that may be helpful.

After filing a report, a Girl Geek X Organizer will contact you personally. The Girl Geek X Organizers will then review the incident, follow up with any additional questions, and make a decision as to how to respond. All reports will remain as confidential as possible. The Girl Geek X team will determine and carry out the appropriate course of action, and will be available to help Users experiencing unacceptable behavior feel safe for the duration of any Girl Geek X event.

Contact

  • hello@girlgeek.io

12 Latine/x Women in Tech You Should Know

latinex girl geek x speakers citlalli solano leonce aubrey blanche sandra lopez jomayra herrera

As we kick off Latine/X Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15, 2023), we’re spotlighting and celebrating some of the inspiring Latine/x women who’ve joined the Girl Geek X community as SPEAKERS and THOUGHT LEADERS at our various Girl Geek Dinners and ELEVATE Virtual Conferences over the past 15 years.

#1 – Aubrey Blanche-Sarellano – Culture Amp Senior Director, People Operations & Strategic Programs

aubrey blanche sarellano culture amp
Aubrey is The Mathpath (Math Nerd + Empath), Senior Director of People Operations & Strategic Programs at Culture Amp, and a startup investor and advisor.

Through all her work, she seeks to question, reimagine, and redesign the systems and practices that surround us to ensure that all people can access equitable opportunities and build a better world. Her work is undergirded by her training in social scientific methods and grounded in the fundamental dignity and value of every person.

Her professional expertise covers a broad range of equitable enterprise operations, from talent lifecycle programs and accessible product development to event design and communications & media. She is the inventor of the balanced teams approach to building proportional representation and a culture of belonging in the workplace, as well as the Balanced Teams Diversity Assessment in the Atlassian Team Playbook. She works to open source these methods for all practitioners and business leaders, and releases thought leadership and tools to create positive change at aubreyblanche.com.

She is an advisor to a variety of groups seeking to build a more just world, including Aleria Research and Joonko. Her work has been featured in Wired, the Wall Street Journal, the Australian Financial Review, USA Today, Re/Code, First Round Review, and more. She also has previous academic affiliations with Stanford and Northwestern, and an appointment at the Equity by Design Lab at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Despite the accolades listed here, she asks that you engage with her work to judge her competence: traditional proxies of merit and/or competence help reinforce the systems that keep incredible people from the opportunities they deserve.

We met Aubrey when she first joined us as a speaker for a Girl Geek Dinner while working at Atlassian, where she joined a panel titled “Thank u, next: How “diversity” gets in the way of gender equity.” Then while working at Culture Amp, she joined us for a 2020 ELEVATE talk titled “Every Job is a D&I Job. Every. Job.” where she explained how we can all have an impact in our current roles, without taking a job that focuses specifically on diversity & inclusion.

Our favorite quote from Aubrey:

“When you take a diversity and inclusion job, in most organizations, you give up all of your power but still have all of the responsibility. So what I’m suggesting is that you go into a place in an organization where you have great power, and then take great responsibility.

Let’s say you’re a Director of Marketing. You’re responsible for hiring and promotions, compensation of your people, the culture in your organization, you probably have control of a budget, and you have influence over how others in the organization act and think about these issues. You can simply demand that the hiring processes in your organization are fair and that they’re audited. You can insist on pay equity audits to make sure that people are compensated commensurate with their value. For the culture, you can enforce standards of behavior and respect for other people. And you can influence, just by your behavior, the way that other leaders in your organization can show up as allies.

So when I say don’t get a diversity and inclusion job, I’m not telling you to give up on creating systemic change. What I’m recommending is that you go from influencing people to bring equity and justice in the world to actually bringing equity and justice into the world yourself.

#2 – Cindy Alvarez – Microsoft Director of UX, PowerPoint

cindy alvarez microsoft
Cindy is the author of “Lean Customer Development: Building Products Your Customers Will Buy” and Director of UX at PowerPoint (Microsoft). Previously, she was the Director of Customer Research at GitHub, and also served as Director of User Experience for Yammer (a Microsoft company).

She has over a dozen years’ experience leading design, product management, user research, and customer development for startups, and used that background to drive intrapreneurial change within Microsoft.

Cindy has spoken at Girl Geek Dinners at Yammer, GitHub, and she joined us virtually for our inaugural ELEVATE virtual conference in 2018, with an evergreen talk titled: The Customer Is Not Always Right.”

Here’s one of the top takeaways from Cindy’s ELEVATE talk:

“A lot of us, when we’re interacting with customers and hear a demand for features, it’s hard to ask why. But it’s useful to take that step back. I like to announce it as such, and say, ‘Just a second. I want to be sure I understand something. It sounds like you’re asking for this feature. Just to be sure I understand, if we had already built it, what would it allow you to do? Essentially, how would it make your life better if you had this thing?’

When you ask people some polite version of ‘how would it make your life better?’ a lot of times you get a non-answer. You’ll get an answer like, ‘Well, it would just be nice to have,’ or ‘your competitor has it.’

Once in a while, you might hear: ‘Oh, you know, it would take me half the time to sort my data. Oh, I wouldn’t have to waste head count on this position. We could start coding tomorrow.’ When people have a story, that’s something worth doing.”

#3 – Citlalli Solano Leonce – Palo Alto Networks Director of Engineering

citlalli solano leonce palo alto networks

Citlalli is a Director of Engineering (Network Security) at Palo Alto Networks. She has also worked as Director of Engineering at Splunk, where she oversaw the Enterprise Security team. Citlalli previously served as Director of Cloud Security Engineering at Palo Alto Networks, where teams develop the backend of the Public Cloud Security service that protects enterprises as they unleash the power of the cloud.

Citlalli has navigated her teams through M&A integrations while successfully building highly distributed API-based SaaS security platforms.

Earlier in her career, she developed software for CirroSecure, Cisco, Apple and The Central Bank of Mexico. Citlalli holds a BS in Computer Systems Engineering from Tecnolgico de Monterrey in Mexico, and an MS in Information Security Technology and Management from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh PA. She’s also an advisor at Techmmunity.

Citlalli joined us for a panel on “Building High Performance Teams” at ELEVATE 2019 that’s packed full of useful insights for managers, and at a Palo Alto Girl Geek Dinner where she gave a lightning talk.

Our favorite words of wisdom from Citlalli: “One of my values is transparency, so as a leader, I would rather know the good, the bad, and the ugly upfront, because then I can do something about it. During interviews, I’m very transparent. I’ll say: ‘I think you’re a great fit. I really want you to work for us, but you’re going to face this, this, this, and that,’ and even in the questions ask them, ‘How have you dealt with this type of situation?’ So, ‘Tell me the worst mistake you’ve made and how you came out of it.’ And you can tell when people have done it before or learned something, and that reflects their own transparency.”

#4 – Diane Gonzalez – Amazon VP of Technology

diane gonzalez amazon vp technology
As a pioneering woman in tech, Diane began her tech career at Hewlett-Packard as a Senior Software Engineer in the 80’s. Diane is a proven, respected technology executive, currently serving as Vice President of Technology at Amazon, and she previously oversaw Amazon’s AWS Commerce Platform in a VP role.

Prior to joining Amazon, she was Vice President/GM of Platform Services at VMware. She was also Vice President of Engineering for the Online Services Division at Citrix. She has worked as an Executive Consultant with several start-ups where she functioned as the Vice President of Engineering, and served as VP of Product Development at Intuit. She is an active member in various women and minority forums.

Diane joined us as a speaker at one of our earliest Girl Geek Dinners in San Francisco — way back in 2012! Her talk remains relevant today: “Dealing with transitions and change in Engineering.

Our favorite excerpt from her talk: “In my career, I’ve never really met anyone who would admit to being a bad decision maker. We all think we’re good decision makers. Maybe that’s true. I mean, we’ve all probably made bad decisions in the past. But in my opinion, the worst thing is no decision. There’s a lot of analysis paralysis. Probably one of the most important things around making a decision… is to make a decision. You can’t just pore over the information over and over again.

Part of what I do is make sure I really understand the opportunity. Determine the expected return on investment — is the return sufficient to out weight other possibilities? What is the opportunity cost for investing in this instead of something else? You could be doing something really cool, but completely miss out on another opportunity. You have to really understand and think about what that means to you. Solicit different opinions. Have a sounding board, share your thought process, get feedback. Then step back, look at the facts, and make the decision. People get caught up in the should I, or shouldn’t I, and you just have to be bold sometimes and make those decisions.”

#5 – Geysa Dantas – ServiceNow VP of Product Management

geysa dantes cisco

Geysa is the Vice President of Product Management at ServiceNow. Previously, she served as Senior Director of Product Management, Customer Experience at AppDynamics. She also worked at Adobe and Get Satisfaction as a Director of Product Management.

Originally from Brazil, Geysa graduated in the top 5% of her class from Universidade Federal da Bahia with a degree in Computer Science. She started her career as a programmer, but later went back to school to get her MBA in Marketing and Finance and then switched careers to move from development to Product Management. Through a series of big and small companies, Geysa found herself at AppDynamics to rejoin their CEO David Wadhwani who she worked closely with at Adobe, to build AppDynamics Customer Experience.

#6 – Jessica Dene Earley-Cha

jessica dene earley cha g
Jessica (she/her) is a Latina developer, educator and advocate in tech. Most recently, she served as a developer relations engineer at Google, connecting with developers and creating resources. She is on the board of Girl Develop It and a Women Techmakers ambassador. Jessica worked with at-risk youth and adults facing mental health challenges before pivoting to working in tech.

At our recent ELEVATE Virtual Conference & Career Fair on September 6th, she shared her 7-step tried-and-proven process for excelling in technical interviews. She covered whiteboarding tips and tricks, how to navigate difficult questions, and resources for frontend and systems architecture.

Our favorite advice from Jessica: Next time you get stumped during a whiteboarding exercise, don’t panic. You’re not going to say “I don’t know,” and you don’t have to apologize or feel bad for not instantly knowing the answer or the next step. Instead, try: “Hmmmm. This is interesting.

Saying “this is interesting” buys you time.

Now you can think about it, or discuss why you find it interesting. You can think through it out loud, or turn it into a collaborative discussion without getting flustered.

Don’t let getting stumped on a whiteboard — which isn’t even part of the actual job — ruin an otherwise great interview!

#7 – Jomayra Herrera – Reach Capital Partner

jomayra herrera reach capital

Jomayra has experience working with early and growth-stage companies both as an investor and an operator. She is currently a Partner at Reach Capital, and sits on the Board of Directors at both SomosVC and WorkWhile. Previously, she was a Principal at Cowboy Ventures, and prior to that, she spent nearly 3 years as an investor at Emerson Collective.

As an early hire on the investing team, she played an important role in creating internal processes, building key investment theses, and helping to grow the team. During her time there, she worked on a diverse range of investments, including traditional venture investments and buyouts, and developed a special interest in companies tackling issues related to the Future of Work. She also worked at BloomBoard, an early-stage education technology company, where she focused on customer success and growth.

She is incredibly passionate about partnering with entrepreneurs to help grow and scale their companies.

At ELEVATE 2020, Jomayra gave a talk on “The Link Between the Future of Work, Education and Care:”

“We’re seeing a flipping of the whole employment model on its head, which is the ability to not even rely on the concept of an employer to generate income. Self-employment isn’t new, but what is new are platforms that help to enable new types of self-employment. So if you’re a writer, you no longer have to rely on large publishers to monetize your writing. You can use Substack. If you are an educator and you want to teach about art or poetry or creative writing, you can use Outschool and generate either supplemental income, or something that actually generates a majority of your income and have that optionality on your own. We’re moving into a world where you have more ownership over your career than ever before. And with the rise of options, the rise of data, and the rise of having access to communities that can help you, we have the ability to be more conscious workers.”

#8 – Lili Gangas – Kapor Center Chief Technology Community Officer

lili gangas kapor center

Lili is the Chief Technology Community Officer at the Kapor Center for Social Impact. In her role, Lili helps catalyze Oakland’s emergence as a social impact hub of tech done right – where tech, diverse talent, and action driven partnerships can tackle pressing social and economic inequities of our communities head-on.

Lili advises inclusive tech entrepreneurship ecosystem building activities Oakland initiatives such as Oakland Startup Network, TechHire Oakland, Latinx in Tech, Kapor Center Innovation Lab.

Before coming to the Kapor Center, Lili was an Associate Principal at Accenture Technology Lab’s Open Innovation team, based out of Silicon Valley, building bridges between startups and commercial clients. She was also a founding member of the Innovation Services team at Booz Allen specializing in crowdsourcing, prize challenges, and open data solutions at the federal level. Before that, Lili could be found in the lab working on software and hardware solutions for the aerospace industry as a Senior Multi-Disciplined Software Engineer at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems.

Lili is a proud immigrant from Bolivia who believes in fostering inclusive tech ecosystems for all. She’s been an active Startup Weekend organizer – helping launch Women’s Edition, Impact Edition, and Latinx in Tech Editions. She also helped organize the first ever TEDxOakland. She is an advisor to tech focused nonprofits such as AI-4-All.org, 1Degree.org and Dreamwakers.org.

Lili holds an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business, a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California and Systems Engineering Certification from UCLA Extension.

In her 2019 Girl Geek X talk, “Tech Stayers & Leavers,” Lili shared some poignant advice for managers and execs who want to stop women from leaving their companies:

“If you’re a C-Suite exec at a tech company, or you’re a manager, there are ways that you can directly really help create a more level playing field for everybody in your workplace, and ultimately, women, we really just want to have equal pay. We cannot believe that we’re in 2019 and we still have issues that we’re still being underpaid. Specifically, Latinas in the US are significantly underpaid. They’re about 56 cents on the dollar compared to a white male.

Second, improving company leadership is critical. Without having the C-Suite, the CEO, and also the managers across the different angles being able to advocate and really create and put forward new policies… this is going to continue. We have to lead by example. 

Promotion is also important. This is an area where a lot of women that were surveyed, specifically expressed that this is why they were leaving, in addition to wanting to have a better work/life balance. If you’re not finding the opportunity internally, you’re going to leave. But sometimes if your job at the moment is providing you a great work/life flexibility, it’s harder to make that change. Sometimes our careers start plateauing, but we have to be mindful that there are other opportunities and options. Ultimately, we just want to have a much more positive and respectful work environment.”

#9 – Luiza Pena – Cadence Lead Application Engineer

luiza pena cadence

Luiza is a Lead Formal Verification Engineer at Cadence Design Systems in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. She is working in the Semiconductor industry by driving usage success and business across several top notch US-based companies remotely. She believes women can boost their career through good strategies and overcome the networking challenges of remote work. With this mindset, she has worked with mentorship and career counseling volunteer projects for STEM women inside and outside Brazil.

Luiza joined us on International Women’s Day at ELEVATE 2023 to share her top career advice: “The 4 Allies You Need to Boost Your Career.”

Our fave quote from Luiza’s talk: “You need to build self-awareness by understanding your position and where you can go in the company – what are your strengths and where can you get with these skills that you can stand out? And you always need to work on your personal branding so people see what you’re doing and the results that you’re getting. And you need to understand who are the key people that are going to help you amplify your impact and take the next step in your career. This is stakeholder’s awareness. Be intentional and pro-actively connect with the people who can help your career.

#10 – Maria Lucena – Fidelity Investments Director of Architecture

maria lucena fidelity director architecture

Maria is a Director of Architecture at Fidelity Investments, and has been in Software Development for over a decade. She started as a freelance web developer in 2009, with only a Web Development Diploma.

As a working mom/wife with limited education, she had to build her skills and learn on the job. HTML, CSS, JavaScript with MySQL were her bread and butter.

Once she had a solid portfolio, she landed a compelling opportunity at Santander Bank in Boston. After working with Java, Oracle, Microsoft SQL servers, and Angular 1, Maria was ready for her next adventure.

In 2015, she was going to school part-time for her Associate’s in IT and landed a job at Fidelity Investments. Here’s where Maria’s career took off. She is a full-stack engineer, but her best work has been backend work, which is where she prefers to spend her days. In the last two years, she has applied for two patents with a college at Fidelity, one of which has been accepted.

During our ELEVATE 2022 Virtual Conference, Maria partnered with her colleague Divya Mahajan (Director of Architecture at Fidelity Investments) to give a tech talk on “AWS, GraphQL, with Apollo, Vue.JS: Delivering Enterprise-Grade Applications.

#11 – Rocio Montes – Github Senior Engineering Manager

rocio montes github

Rocio is a Senior Engineering Manager at Github. She leads the Actions Compute team, ensuring the massive capacity required to power Actions runners. Prior to this role, she was engineering manager and tech lead for inner source and open source at Intuit. She is a true community builder, and works to connect and collaborate with software engineers to deliver amazing end-to-end solutions.

She is also currently Co-Chair for Grace Hopper Conference’ Open Source Day.

Outside of work, Rocio is the Co-founder of “Emar”, a small business with a mission to connect US small businesses with technology needs to software engineering interns in Peru.

We’ve featured Rocio as a speaker at multiple Girl Geek X events! Her first session was an engaging conversation with Intuit CTO Marianna Tessel, titled “How to Quickly Ramp Up on Open Source.”
Rocio was invited back again for our March 2022 International Women’s Day conference, and spoke on a career panel: “It’s A Hot Job Market. Do You Stay or Do You Leave?

Our favorite takeaway from Rocio’s talks: When planning your next career move or making a big decision, go back to “What are you passionate about? What excites you in the morning?”

Let what you’re passionate about drive you to really find the right role or company, and to make the leap to changing roles.

#12 – Sandra Lopez – Microsoft GM / VP / CMO

sandra lopez microsoft

Sandra is an internationally recognized business leader, currently serving as GM/VP/CMO at Microsoft. Prior to joining Microsoft, she built an impressive career at Intel spanning nearly 16 years and leading multiple departments. Most recently, she held the role of Vice President for Intel Sports and Media, responsible for partnering with the sports and media industry to provide the future fans and consumers with the next generation of immersive media experiences. Her team at Intel was focused on leading the business, marketing, and market development efforts of Intel Sports and Intel Studios.

She also previously worked within Intel’s New Technology Group, leading and managing the Fashion wearable business. In this role, she was a vocal advocate for the convergence between fashion and technology. Earlier in her Intel career, she held various roles within corporate marketing, including director of new business marketing and director of consumer marketing. In the latter role, she led Intel’s brand repositioning work to earn an Intel Achievement Award in 2010. She also earned industry honors.

Before joining Intel in 2005, she worked at Adobe Systems Inc., Macromedia, Computer Associates International Inc. and several other technology companies where she earned a reputation for transforming and growing businesses. She holds a bachelor’s of science degree in economics and textiles and clothing from the University of California at Davis. In addition, she attended the Stanford Intel Accelerator Program. As part of contributing to the community, she is focused on building the next generation of women leaders and is a vocal advocate for equality.

Since 2018, Sandra has co-chaired the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on AR/VR. She has been recognized as one of the “Most Powerful Latinas” (ALPFA), Most Powerful Women in Tech” (National Diversity Council), “Top Women in Media” (Cynopsis), “Top 10 Latina Executives” (LatinaStyle), “Top 100 Most Influential Latina” (Latino Leaders) , “Most Influential and Notable Hispanic Professionals in Information Technology” (HiTec) and “Game Changer” (Sports Business Journal).

Sandra has spoken at several Girl Geek X events going back as far as 2015, including our 2019 ELEVATE International Women’s Day Virtual Conference, where she shared poignant advice on being yourself in her keynote talk: “Being Unapologetically You.

One of our favorite takeaways from Sandra’s talks: “If I could go back and advise my younger self, my advice would be… be your unapologetic you.

In being yourself, in refusing to assimilate or mold yourself to your surroundings, once you stop trying so hard to fit it… you discover what you’re capable of. In the process, you gain confidence, and you find your voice.

“As a Latina, when you’re born, the culture tells you never to challenge seniority. But challenging seniority in a corporate setting is really about intellectual curiosity, and trying to do what’s right for the business. And so, I have found the confidence and the voice to have those conversations by being my unapologetic self.”

Honorable Mentions – Latine/X Women We’d Love to Hear From!

The above list is just a snapshot of the dozens of remarkable Latine/X leaders and innovators who’ve joined us at Girl Geek X / Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners over the past 15+ years. There are many more we’d love to invite back to speak again, or feature at a Girl Geek event for the first time!

Adriana Rojas Garzón – Vice President & Assistant General Counsel, Bain Capital

Alejandra Meza – Head of Product Design, Huckleberry Labs

Alma Islas – Global Deployment Manager & Co-Founder of Oracle Latinos Alliance, Oracle

Amy Jiménez Márquez – VP of Experience Design, Zillow

Ana Arriola – Director of Product Design, AI & Insights, Cloud + AI, Microsoft

Ana Corrales – Chief Operating Officer, Google Consumer Hardware

Ana Pompa Alarcón – CEO, Founders Registry

Annie Benitez Pelaez – Vice President of Product Management, Genesys

Beatriz Copelli – SVP, CIO North America, Danone

Carolina Barcenas – Head of Platform Data Science, Airbnb

Carolina Galleguillos – Senior Machine Learning Engineer, Google

Catalina LaverdeEngineering Manager at Spotify

Christina Cuarón – Managing & Chief Operating Officer, Core Technology Infrastructure, Bank of America

Claudia Barrera – Senior Vice President Global Applications, Colgate-Palmolive

Cristina Rodriguez – VP / GM, Wireless Access Network Division, Intel Corporation

Cristina Rufeisen – Senior Director IT, Program Management, Electronic Arts (EA)

Cynthia Maxwell – Vice President of Software Engineering, Disney Entertainment and ESPN Technology

Dena R. Jones – Vice President, Office of the CIO, Fannie Mae

Denise Hernandez – Program Manager, Artificial Intelligence, Meta

Diana Centeno-Gomez, Chief, Smart Sensing and Electronics Systems Branch, NASA Glenn Research Center

Diana Toscas – Director of Engineering, Developer Productivity & Operations, PayPal Checkout

Diana TrujilloAerospace Engineer & Flight Director, Artemis Program, NASA

Élida Cruz – Vice President, Head of Business Experience Design, Capital One

Elizabeth Agosto – COO, Global Cybersecurity, BNY Mellon

Ester Peña – VP, Software Engineering, Travelers

Evelyn Miralles – Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Xploration LLC

Gloria Candelario Hossri – Associate Vice President, Digital Supply Chain, Merck

Grecia Castaldi – Director of Community, Women Who Code

Gretel Perera – Co-Founder, Latinas in Technology

Guayente Sanmartin – General Manager, Global Head of Commercial Systems & Displays Solutions, HP

Gyssela Moreno-Stephens – Strategy and Integration, Business Execution Director, Wells Fargo

Ina Fried – Chief Technology Correspondent, Axios

Irma Olguin Jr. – Co-Founder & CEO, Bitwise Industries

Jacqueline Guichelaar – Customer Experience Officer, APAC, Cisco

Julie AcostaSenior Web Analytics Manager, AutoZone

Katia Beauchamp – CEO, Victoria Beckham Beauty & Co-Founder, Birchbox

Katty Coulson – Vice President IT & CIO, Oracle NetSuite

Keria Bermúdez-Hernández, PhD – Principal Data Scientist, Sonos

Kristen Sonday – Co-Founder, Paladin

Lidia Fonseca – Chief Digital and Technology Officer, Executive Vice President, Pfizer

Lidiane Jones – CEO, Slack (Salesforce)

Lidia Santos – Vice President of Information Technology, UPS

Lilian Rincon – Senior Director of Product Management, Google

Lisa Morales-Hellebo – Co-Founder, The Worldwide Supply Chain Federation / Co-Founder & General Partner, REFASHIOND Ventures

Liz Munoz – Chief Creative Officer, Torrid

Loni Olazaba – Director, Technical Recruiting, Robinhood

Lori Castillo Martinez – EVP & Chief Equality Officer, Salesforce

Lynette Midy Senior Director Of Engineering, SpotHero

Marcela Escobar Alava – Deputy CIO, White House, Executive Office of the President

Maria Cuba – Director, Community Partnerships, Airbnb

Mariely Bandas-Franzetti – Vice President, Information Technology, Cisco

May Garcia – Senior Producer, Internal Game Studios, Netflix

Megan Hogan – Global Head of Talent & Chief Diversity Officer, Goldman Sachs

Miriam Flores – Software Engineer III, BlackRock

Monica Caldas – EVP, Global Chief Information Officer, Liberty Mutual Insurance

Monica Esparza Younger – Vice President, Dell Financial Services IT, Dell Technologies

Nellie Borrero – Managing Director, Senior Strategic Advisor – Global Inclusion & Diversity, Accenture

Patty Arvielo – Co-Founder & President, New American Funding

Pilar Manchón, PhD – Senior Director of Engineering, AI Research Strategy, Google

Rachel ten Brink – General Partner & Co-Founder, Red Bike Capital

Roasanna Durruthy – VP, Global Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging, LinkedIn

Rocío Medina van Nierop – CEO & Co-Founder, Latinas in Tech

Rosa Gonzalez Welton – Director of Product Management, Intuit

Sandra Mosquera – Vice President & API Marketplace Product Manager, JP Morgan Chase

Sandra Rivera – Executive Vice President & General Manager of the Data Center and AI Group, Intel Corporation

Sarah Ricketts – Director Business Solutions, Intuit Mailchimp

Susan Doniz – Chief Information Officer, Boeing

Tanya Menendez – Co-Founder & CEO, Snowball Wealth

Tatiana Dominguez – Deputy Chief Technology Officer, Deloitte

Thamara Ramirez-Walker – Global Vice President Sustainability ESG Marketing, SAP

Want to speak at a future Girl Geek X event or know someone who should?

We’re always looking for inspiring stories, unique voices, and helpful insights from both new and established speakers! We host IRL events in the San Francisco Bay Area, plus virtual events every quarter, and submissions are accepted on a rolling basis. Read about what types of talks we’re looking for, then submit your speaker proposal here!

We also accept speaker suggestions/nominations, so if there’s an awesome Latine/X woman or non-binary individual you think we should invite to speak at a future Girl Geek X event, head on over to our LinkedIn post and tag her in the comments!

Plus We Have Bay Area Volunteer Opportunities for Latine/X Month!

On Monday, October 2, 2023 (1:00pm-2:30pm), Girl Geek X Community Volunteers will read books to 2-3 elementary school classes that celebrate Latine/x culture in a 90-minute volunteer shift. Books and sample questions to guide conversations are provided by the nonprofit Oakland Public Education Fund.

Volunteers do not need to identify as Latine/x to participate, and those who do identify as such are encouraged to participate and share about their culture with students.

LEARN MORE & VOLUNTEER FOR THE LATINE/X READ-IN ON OCTOBER 2!

Latinex read in oakland school



21 Insightful Quotes on Leveling Up: Becoming a Manager of Managers

On Friday, March 6th, senior female tech leaders & engineers came together to celebrate International Women’s Day with over a dozen tech talks & panels during the Girl Geek X Elevate 2020 virtual conference. Today’s blog includes quotes from a session with Arquay Harris, Senior Director of Engineering / Slack; Bora Chung, SVP of Product Management / Bill.com; Ines Thornburg, AVP of Customer Success / Splunk; and Gretchen DeKnikker, COO / Girl Geek X. In addition to the YouTube video replay, a full transcript from the talk is also available.

  1. “When you make the transition from managing individual contributors to managing managers, what happens is you go from this very directive, sort of supporting, coaching state of mind to managing to outcomes.

    When you have a person who is also responsible for managing other people on the team, you don’t want a person who is managing or doing things in the way that you would do them. You want them to manage in the way that feels comfortable for them.

    I would never say to a manager, ‘Hey, I want you to do this, and this is step one, two, three.’ It’s like, ‘This is the outcome. How can I support you to get there?’ You have to really trust them to be able to do it. And so the unlearning comes from wanting to be the person who is the hero, jumps in, saves the day, maybe writes the code — to really growing and empowering that next generation or that next level of leadership.” —Arquay Harris, Senior Director of Engineering / Slack

  2. “One mistake I made when I became a manager’s manager was just having one-on-ones with my immediate direct reports. They also have a set of teams and maybe not as frequently, but making sure that I check in with the team members made a big difference. When I hear some of the key themes and strategies being played back in skip level one-on-ones, I think that’s when things are going well. If you hear a game of telephone being played and have a disconnected kind of direction and alignment, you’ll know that things are not going well. Do those skip level one-on-one check ins. They’ve served me well.” —Bora Chung, SVP of Product Management / Bill.com

  3. “I had to learn to balance my time across the different responsibilities in a way that, frankly, I wasn’t getting too involved. I learned to trust the expertise on my team and learn what was good enough. Perfection is not always the end goal. We have to continue to progress multiple workstreams at one time in initiatives, and really make sure that no one gets left behind.” —Ines Thornburg, AVP of Customer Success / Splunk

  4. “I struggled to learn when to stop helicoptering in and trying to rescue everyone. I’m still learning it, but to me, the biggest difference between a junior employee in a very small startup versus a manager’s manager is learning how to do helicoptering in and helicoptering out at the right moments.” —Bora Chung, SVP of Product Management / Bill.com

  5. As you grow in your career and you become more visible, have more responsibilities, the one thing that I’ve learned is that when you say something, the impact of what you’re saying really is that much stronger, that much more gospel, so to speak. When you’re facilitating a meeting or when you’re communicating, you have to realize that, again, as your responsibility grows, people really listen.

    You have to be careful, so if you’re trying to facilitate a brainstorming, for example, what I’ve learned is to facilitate the dialogue, get the conversation going, but I reserve what my opinion is until the end, because I don’t want everybody to just think that my opinion is the right one, because it’s certainly not. That’s why I bring together, and when I’m doing hiring, I always try to look for complementary skills.

    So I’ve learned to really be cautious about what I say and when I say it and to whom I say it, because I realize that what I’m saying does affect and impact a lot of the folks on the team.” —Ines Thornburg, AVP of Customer Success / Splunk

  6. “Be friendly, not friends. If my team’s watching, they’re probably laughing about this, because I say this a lot. Very early in my career when I made that transition to manager, these people are your best friends. You hang out with them every night and when you are friends with the people who report to you, you cannot be impartial, right? You can’t say to your best friend, ‘You really screwed up on that thing. I need you to work harder in this area.’ It can be really awkward.

    And so what I really learned later in my career was how to set boundaries, because I do you a disservice if I’m not able to give you that really constructive and helpful feedback and help you grow. And that doesn’t mean that you have to be this monster who’s just a robot, but boundaries are really, really important and I just wish I’d learned that earlier.” —Arquay Harris, Senior Director of Engineering / Slack

  7. “In the early part of my career, I was thinking that I should be the smartest person if I’m the manager, and I was somewhat reluctant and afraid of hiring people smarter than myself. But what I am realizing is that it’s absolutely cool to hire people smarter than me. It actually elevates the team. It improves the quality of the thinking and ultimately, what we deliver to our customers is going to be much stronger. So I think I had to shed that a little bit of early stage career insecurity to really put together a strong team.

    I don’t have to be the perfectionist that knows all the answers. Sometimes a great value as a manager or manager’s manager comes from asking the right question, maybe asking the powerful question that nobody else is asking, because they are afraid or there’s a big elephant in the room.” —Bora Chung, SVP of Product Management / Bill.com

  8. “As your responsibility grows, you’ll have lots of different experts on your team in different disciplines, different business units, and you can’t be the expert on everything. It’s just physically impossible as your organization grows, and so what you do need to do is to be really, really comfortable working with these teams of experts in helping them accomplish their mission.

    As a leader, my value to my team is making sure that we’re working towards the same goals and cascading those company goals down. I make sure everybody understands those goals, that we’re progressing on those goals, and that we’re communicating our progress effectively in working together.” —Ines Thornburg, AVP of Customer Success / Splunk

  9. “Really, you should make your management style situational to the person and to the stage that they are in their career. It really just goes into this first quadrant, which is directive, which you might do to a more junior person. You might say, ‘I need you to log into this machine, do this work,’ and then you move up into coaching, which is you have a little bit more skill and it’s like, ‘All right, you kind of know what you’re doing. How can I coach you through it?’ Onto supporting, which is, ‘You know what you’re doing. How can I support you? How can I help you get to that next level?’ And then the final magic kind of golden quadrant is delegation, and that’s just, ‘I don’t even really need to tell you what to do. You probably are bringing me the problem, telling me what it is that needs to be solved.’

    The thing that’s really interesting is it’s not really a straight line. You might kind of hover, depending upon your skill set, maybe in communication you’re in full on delegation mode, but at technical proficiency, maybe you need a little bit more support.

    When I’m managing managers, I really try to think about each individual’s strengths and how I can help really, really uplift a person’s strengths, and how do I help them really either correct for or counterbalance any weaknesses that they may have?” —Arquay Harris, Senior Director of Engineering / Slack

  10. “Understanding what type of leader you are and what you can contribute is way more important than a very specific checklist of skills. If you’re interviewing someone and they haven’t done that exact thing, can they describe to your their approach or their philosophy? What I really look for is ‘is this person a structured thinker? Do they have best practices or some kind of toolkit or some sort of methodology in the way that they approach leadership?'” —Arquay Harris, Senior Director of Engineering / Slack

  11. “When I first transitioned to managing managers, I thought I needed to know everything and I was so embarrassed when I didn’t know what was going on. It took me a while to realize I’m just air traffic controller. The less information I have on a tactical level, the less opportunity I have to screw things up… I should just let the expert be the expert.

    And then my most amazing moment as a manager’s manager was when I walked in, I was planning this 10,000 person conference and there were hundreds of people setting up all of these little tiny details that we’d spent a year making. I only knew the names of like six people that I could see at any given moment. And I was like, ‘Okay, this is working. They have this. They’ve got it. I don’t even need to know what’s going on right now. This is amazing.'” —Gretchen DeKnikker, COO / Girl Geek X

  12. “It’s really fulfilling and rewarding to see people grow — to see them go from kind of more junior manager to senior manager to director, to see them be able to come into their own as a manager, develop their own styles. That’s probably the best thing about progressing to higher level of management.” —Arquay Harris, Senior Director of Engineering / Slack

  13. “Part of management is about soft skills and developing and augmenting those skills in your team. So that means communication skills, collaboration, meeting facilitation. It means executive presence, making sure that when you’re representing your company or your team, that you do it in such a way that you’re proud of that. So, when I know I haven’t prepared my team and I see a train wreck about to happen, that’s cringe-worthy.” —Ines Thornburg, AVP of Customer Success / Splunk

  14. “My most proud moment is when I’m absent on a sabbatical or extended vacation and the team doesn’t even notice that I’m gone. I think that’s the ultimate success of coaching and grooming the right team. If they noticed you were gone, your team isn’t quite where you need them to be.” —Bora Chung, SVP of Product Management / Bill.com

  15. “During my skip level one-on-ones, I start with a very broad question of ‘How are things going?’ I try to also let the manager in the middle know that we are having the skip level. I think the worst outcome is if the manager in the middle gets alienated in this conversation.

    I don’t really have an agenda during skip level one-on-ones. With some folks, I talk about just their career aspirations. With some folks, since I’m one level away, they could maybe ask more questions about the big picture strategy and whatnot, so it’s a little bit different, but I always let the team member drive the agenda.” —Bora Chung, SVP of Product Management / Bill.com

  16. “I want to be the finalist on all interviews because I really take pride in knowing people. One of the things, as a leader of a large organization, that I like to understand is, is career aspirations. This is where we have a much larger purview of opportunity as a leader, and frankly if I have a conversation with someone and I understand really they want to be in another part of the organization at some point in the future, I would love to make that match and keep that talent within my company rather than seeing people leave and take all that wonderful knowledge and great talent to another company.

    I don’t want people leaving my organization necessarily, but at the same time, if we can promote from within and give people more opportunity within our organization, people appreciate that and I love a team that culturally has a strong morale and knows that we’ve got each other’s backs.” —Ines Thornburg, AVP of Customer Success / Splunk

  17. The top trait to focus on developing if you’re interested in a management role is adaptability, because the thing about being an IC is that it’s a pretty defined trajectory to go from associate to engineer to senior to staff to senior staff, right? You might not know exactly what it is but some part of it is mapped out.

    It’s a little bit more opaque when you’re talking about leadership, because in any given moment, you could have to deal with people’s emotions and you have to coach and you have to support and you have to discipline. It’s just all of these things that you have to do, and so you need a growth mindset. You have to be willing to iterate and change.

    If you’re a person who’s really rigid and you like things just so, you maybe want to consider something else.” —Arquay Harris, Senior Director of Engineering / Slack

  18. “At more junior levels, there’s a mindset that meetings are a waste of time. Meetings are your lifeblood when you get to a certain level. If you spent your whole day in meetings, you were doing your job all day — and I think that’s a mindset thing that a lot of people really struggle with changing.” —Gretchen DeKnikker, COO / Girl Geek X

  19. “There are two major mental shifts that occur when you transition into engineering management. ICs generally think about execution for the most part, so you have to start to blend in execution as well as strategic thinking. So I think that’s maybe the first shift you need to make to become a manager.

    You’ll also shift how you think about time horizons. Let me take product development as an example. Maybe when you’re an IC, you’re thinking mostly about next release, the release after that, but when you eventually become a manager, you think about an annual roadmap or a three year vision. I think those are maybe the differences in time horizon of your thinking, and there’s not a right or wrong.

    I think there need to be different parts of thinkers. Some people need to execute, some people need to think strategy. Some people need to think next release, some people need to think about the three year vision, but I think those are some of the shifts that need to occur in order to transition into a managerial role.” —Bora Chung, SVP of Product Management / Bill.com

  20. “To overcome bias and avoid being stereotyped as the ‘quiet, introverted Asian woman,’ I spent extra energy on developing what we usually call the executive presence and executive gravitas, because especially when you become a manager of managers, it’s not just your personal brand and personal reputation any more. It’s your team’s effectiveness that you have to be responsible for. I try to overcome the bias by being more vocal and represent the team more actively.” —Bora Chung, SVP of Product Management / Bill.com

  21. “I think one of the hardest things about being a woman in engineering, especially a woman of color, is just the big issue of low expectations. What happens to me a lot in particular is people think that I’m not technical.

    I’ve had interns be like, ‘Do you code?’ which is a ridiculous question that you probably never ask a male who’s a director of engineering. You face that a lot and it’s really unfortunate.

    On the bright side, I think things are changing, particularly as we get more and more women in leadership positions, I think just having different voices in the room is really contributing to the conversation.

    When I was coming up, there weren’t a lot of people who look like me who did the job that I do, and so it just wasn’t a thing that I could even see myself doing. The idea of a CTO was Andy Grove, right? With the khaki shirt… a blue shirt and khaki pants. So make yourself aware and available, and let people know that you are a source of information.

    Sponsorship is a big thing that people are doing right now.

    If there’s someone that you see who you think has potential, maybe encourage them. If I have people on my team who show interest in management, I try giving them some tasks. Like, ‘Hey, maybe try managing this intern for a summer and seeing how it goes, or maybe you might want to run the sprint meeting.’ That kind of thing. Just give them these little nuggets to see if they have the aptitude and really understand what management is.” —Arquay Harris, Senior Director of Engineering / Slack

To hear more from Arquay, Bora, Gretchen and Ines, check out the transcript from their March 6th panel during Elevate 2020, or watch the video replay on YouTube!

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70% of Girl Geek X partner companies are still actively hiring. Here are the jobs they’re hiring for!

We read the headlines about soaring unemployment and tech layoffs, yet when we asked dozens of our mission-aligned partners if they are actively hiring, over 70% said yes!

WEBFLOW IS HIRING

Webflow empowers designers to create beautiful, responsive websites—without writing a single line of code, or relying on a developer. Its drag-and-drop interface looks, feels, and works like familiar desktop design tools, and writes clean, semantic code any developer would be proud of.

More jobs at Webflow!

STRAVA IS HIRING

Strava builds software that makes the best part of our athletes’ days even better. And just as we’re deeply committed to unlocking their potential, we’re dedicated to providing a world-class, inclusive workplace where our employees can grow and thrive, too.

More jobs at Strava!

OPENDOOR IS HIRING

Opendoor’s mission is to empower everyone with the freedom to move. We believe the traditional real estate process is broken and our goal is simple: build a seamless, end-to-end customer experience that makes buying and selling a home stress-free and instant through technology. Real estate is broken. Come help us fix it.

More jobs at Opendoor!

ATLASSIAN IS HIRING

Atlassian is a leading provider of collaboration, development, and issue tracking software for teams. With over 170,000 global customers, we’re advancing the power of collaboration with products including Jira, Confluence, Bitbucket, and now Trello. Driven by honest values, an amazing culture, and consistent revenue growth, we’re out to unleash the potential of every team.

More jobs at Atlassian!

SLACK IS HIRING

Slack has transformed business communication. It’s the leading channel-based messaging platform, used by millions to align their teams, unify their systems, and drive their businesses forward. Only Slack offers a secure, enterprise-grade environment that can scale with the largest companies in the world. It is a new layer of the business technology stack where people can work together more effectively, connect all their other software tools and services, and find the information they need to do their best work. Slack is where work happens.

More jobs at Slack!

OPENAI IS HIRING

OpenAI is a research and deployment company whose mission is to ensure that general-purpose artificial general intelligence —by which we mean highly autonomous systems that outperform humans at most economically valuable work—benefits all of humanity. We will attempt to directly build it safely and beneficially, but will also consider our mission fulfilled if our work aids others to achieve this outcome.

More jobs at OpenAI!

UNITED STATES DIGITAL SERVICE (USDS) IS HIRING

United States Digital Service (USDS) is a tech start up at the White House, with a diverse group working across the federal government to build better tools and services for the American people. USDS is looking for candidates with hands-on skills and leadership to improve our Nation’s most critical digital services. You’ll join a team of talented technologists from across the private sector and government to serve time limited tours of service to untangle, rewire and redesign critical government services (e.g. millions of people use Federal Government Services everyday, veterans apply for healthcare, immigrants apply for naturalization).

Apply for USDS here!

CARTA IS HIRING

Carta (formerly eShares) is a software platform for founders, investors, and employees to manage equity and ownership. Carta helps companies and investors manage their cap tables, valuations, portfolio investments, and equity plans. Carta’s mission is to map and expand the global ownership network in order to increase liquidity and transparency between shareholders.

More jobs at Carta!

SALESFORCE IS HIRING

We bring companies and customers together on the #1 CRM. Sharing the news, events, and innovation you need to change the world for good.

More jobs at Salesforce!

INTEL AI IS HIRING

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) is an industry leader, creating world-changing technology that enables global progress and enriches lives. Inspired by Moore’s Law, we continuously work to advance the design and manufacturing of semiconductors to help address our customers’ greatest challenges. By embedding intelligence in the cloud, network, edge and every kind of computing device, we unleash the potential of data to transform business and society for the better.

More jobs at Intel AI!

JOHNSON & JOHNSON IS HIRING

Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices is focused on shaping the future of digital surgery and expanding its robotics and digital solutions offerings across the entire portfolio, with multi-specialty, end-to-end solutions in orthopaedics, endoluminal intervention and general surgery. For more information, visit www.ethicon.com. View career opportunities in Robotics and Digital Solutions in Redwood City and Santa Clara.

More jobs at Johnson & Johnson!

MAESTROQA IS HIRING

MaestroQA makes omnichannel quality assurance software for modern support teams. Etsy, Mailchimp, Peloton, Zendesk, and more use MaestroQA to improve agent performance, optimize CX processes, unlock business-level insights, and enable amazing customer experiences—all while improving the metrics that matter like retention, revenue, and CSAT. We’re a small but fast growing, remote friendly team looking for partners to help us scale and build a diverse and resilient company that will change the customer support space worldwide.

More jobs at MaestroQA!

FISHER INVESTMENTS IS HIRING

Fisher Investments is a different kind of investment firm. We don’t come from Wall Street, nor do we believe we fit in with most of the finance industry, and we’re proud of that. We work for a bigger purpose: bettering the investment universe.

More jobs at Fisher Investments!

FREEDOM FINANCIAL NETWORK IS HIRING

At Freedom, we believe our people are the key drivers of our market-defining innovation and success. We strive to nurture an inclusive, caring culture that positions everyone to do their best work. We’re deeply committed to providing work that makes a meaningful impact by helping everyday Americans move forward toward a better financial future.

More jobs at Freedom Financial Network!

OPENDOOR IS HIRING

Opendoor’s mission is to empower everyone with the freedom to move. We believe the traditional real estate process is broken and our goal is simple: build a seamless, end-to-end customer experience that makes buying and selling a home stress-free and instant through technology. Real estate is broken. Come help us fix it.

More jobs at Opendoor!

AMAZON WEB SERVICES IS HIRING

AWS Outcome Driven Engineering (ODE) is a new AWS engineering organization chartered to build industry-specific products by diving deep with industry innovation leaders to solve the hence-unsolved digital solutions that unblock the industry from new digital business models, step changes in efficiency, or otherwise transformative business outcomes.

More jobs at Amazon Web Services!

Think you’ve found your dream job in this list?

We highly recommend watching the video replays from the company’s Girl Geek Dinner or Elevate talks on YouTube to learn more about each organization, get to know some of their women leaders and technologists, and get an inside peek at what it’s like to work there.

We recommend reaching out to one or two speakers from the company directly via LinkedIn, Twitter, or email to strike up a conversation about the role, project or department you’re most interested in.

Remember, making a genuine human connection can help you stand out in a crowded talent market!

Good luck!!

Please let us know if you successfully land a job from this list, we’d love to hear about it!

Email us at hello@girlgeek.io

Girl geeks are stocking up on these surprising things during COVID-19.

stocking up during covid-19

Last week, we asked our community: “What surprising thing are you stocking up on right now (aside from toilet paper)?

The answers came flooding in, and while many were things we too were stocking up on or had thought about, there were also some responses that we never would have expected! Here are some highlights:

plastic filament tower
Chung-Hay Luk, UX Researcher at Google is stocking up on 3d filament to print shields for healthcare workers in the Bay Area during the Covid-19 pandemic via Bay Area Face Shield Supply.
  1. “The surprising thing I’ve been stocking up on is plastic filament. My friends and I have been 3d printing visors and creating face shields for healthcare workers in need, and we’ve delivered nearly 1000 shields so far.” — Chung-Hay Luk, UX Researcher at Google.

    This is awesome and so unexpected! Color us impressed!

    Want to learn more? Check out the latest count of donated shields/visors, donate to the cause, or get involved with this volunteer effort at Bay Area Face Shield Supply.

  2. Sayali Kapre, a Firmware Validation Engineer at Zoox, told us that she’s stocking up on fabric and yarn.

    And we are totally envious of her patience and craftiness. Just ask the sewing machine that’s been collecting dust under my desk for the past decade… I had such high hopes!

  3. Sukrutha Bhadouria, CTO at Girl Geek X and Senior Software Engineering Manager at Salesforce, has been stocking up on frozen foods. She shared that with everyone working from home, most of her colleagues have been putting in more hours… leaving less time for meal prep.

    I don’t have any good reason for it — my hours have been impacted in the opposite direction… but I’m still stocking up on frozen foods too! Our freezer is about one item shy of overflowing at this point. 😂

  4. Sue Separk, Director of Financial Analysis at Firewood, is collecting seeds!

    Great idea, Sue! We have a few gardeners on the Girl Geek team, and at least one of us has stocked up on seed packets too! Our CEO Angie shared that she’s been regrowing some veggies from the discarded bits — like carrot tops and celery stems. Whichever way you garden, there’s never been a better time to double down and do more!

    Side note: Sue signed her email “Yours in unabashed excellence, Sue.” And we just needed to publicly say YESSSS, girl. You ARE excellent, and we love it!

  5. “I’ve found myself ordering a ton of ice cream. I’m not sure if it’s my way of coping with the stay at home order or if I discovered an amazing ice cream bar hahaha. It’s the Haagen-dazs Coffee Almond Crunch Ice Cream Bars!” — Lety Gómez, Web Developer at Girl Geek X & Software Engineer at TechCrunch

    Lety’s definitely not alone! I’ve been ordering a different Talenti icecream or gelato flavor with just about every Instacart order. Gotta try ’em all, right? And don’t even get me started on the “Fat Boy” brand icecream sandwiches. So. Good.

  6. In a vote for self care, Jessica Jallorina, an Inside Account Manager at TestEquity shared that since she can’t get a proper mani/pedi right now, she’s stocking up on foot and hand masks from Target.

    “Also popcorn!” she added.

    Yay for self-care! Take care of yourselves, ladies, whatever it is that’ll make make you smile or help you relax — go for it! You finally have the time. And double yay for popcorn! We wholeheartedly approve of the exclamation point, by the way. Popcorn deserves it!

  7. Rachel Jones, our resident Podcaster here at Girl Geek X, said she’s been stockpiling candles.

    I feel this one for sure. I have a habit of stocking up during annual candle sales, and then most of the candles just sit on a shelf until the cooler months or when we’re expecting visitors. But with all the time we’ve been spending inside lately, we’ve taken to rotating candles and lighting a new scent every day or two. If we’re going to be stuck inside, might as well make it smell good!

  8. Ofure Okoronkwo, a Senior Software Engineer at RBC, told us that she’s stocking up on Lysol disinfecting wipes and fruits.

    Us too! Our CEO Angie shared that she’s been trying to keep her kitchen stocked with produce and fruits instead of junk food. Lady Alice Apples are her favorite right now!

    And personally, I’ve been on a berry kick since about January, and Covid isn’t slowing that down! There are always at least 2 types of fresh berries in my fridge… with extra in the freezer for popping into smoothies. We also went strawberry picking last summer, so I still have some homemade jam left. We even found locally made huckleberry and boysenberry jams at a local dairy last month. It’s berry madness over here!


  9. Erica Kawamoto Hsu, Photographer at Girl Geek X, told us she’s stocking up on all things Asian pop culture. “Since I can’t travel and with being isolated, I’ve started taking greater interest in my cultural roots through podcasts, music, tv shows, and language exchange.

    This is awesome, I love it! Sounds like a much more fulfilling way to spend time than binge-watching every movie in the Hunger Games series. Not that I know anyone who has done that this week… 👀

  10. Girl Geek X CEO Angie Chang is stocking up on produce starts for vegetables like kale, broccoli, beans and more!

    It’ll be another week or two before I buy veggie starts — last frost can come pretty late here in PA, but I’ll be doing the same! We stocked up on compost and mushroom soil last month to prep a new raised garden bed. Always a project!

  11. Karina Eichmann, Senior Program Manager at Oath said that she’s stocking up on quarters, because they’re required to operate laundry machines.

    Smart. We wouldn’t have thought of this… but who wants to be handling quarters that have passed through hundreds of hands before getting to you? If you’re stocked up, you can disinfect them all at once and not have to sweat it when you’re doing your weekly laundry run!

  12. “For me (and my hubby), we are stocking up all the time on food for our cat, named Momo. Our household is gluten free and so Momo gets grain free food so that he can stay healthy. He is a rescue and we love him – best sleeping buddy.” 😊 — Aliza Carpio, Tech Evangelist, Intuit Global Engineering Culture (Office of the Intuit Chief Architect)

    The pet caretakers on our team are doing the same. Girl Geek X Communications Coordinator Amanda Beaty recently adopted a 10-year-old “pandemic puppy” from a rescue she volunteers with, so in addition to her usual cat food and litter stash, she’s now stocking up on dog food too!
Momo the grain free cat
Pictured: Momo the grain-free cat, sent to us by Aliza Carpio, Tech Evangelist, Intuit Global Engineering Culture (Office of the Intuit Chief Architect)


As for me, I’m stocking up on mycelium plugs. I’ve been foraging wild mushrooms since I was a kid, and I’ve read up on cultivation techniques a bunch of times. With a little extra time for a project right now, I’m finally taking the plunge! Thus far, we’ve ordered or pre-ordered about 1600 plugs — which are little cylindrical wooden dowels about an inch long, that have been inoculated with mycelium from various mushroom species.

Each mushroom I’m trying to grow has a preferred type of tree and habitat, so it’s a whole project of finding the right trees, cutting logs to the right length/width, and letting them dry for a couple weeks before moving on to the next steps (drilling, inserting the plugs, sealing, watering, siting the logs in the woods / shade, partially burying some of them, etc.)

If it works, the mycelium will take over the new log(s) and produce fruiting bodies (mushrooms) once the conditions are right. We should have 2 types of oyster mushrooms this fall, maybe some lion’s manes too… and then several other species in future years. Fingers crossed!

What surprising thing are you stocking up on?

We’d love to hear from you! Tag us on the Twitters and let us know what you’ve found yourself stocking up on during Covid-19!


About the Author

Amy Weicker - Head of Marketing at Girl Geek X

Amy Weicker is the Head of Marketing at Girl Geek X, and she has been helping launch & grow tech companies as a marketing leader and demand generation consultant for nearly 20 years. Amy previously ran marketing at SaaStr, where she helped scale the world’s largest community & conference for B2B SaaS Founders, Execs and VCs from $0 to $10M and over 200,000 global community members. She was also the first head of marketing at Sales Hacker, Inc. (acquired by Outreach) which helps connect B2B sales professionals with the tools, technology and education they need to excel in their careers.

AI Overlords, Battling Covid-19 and Algorithmic Bias: a conversation about the importance of Human Goodness in AI.

Julie Shin Choi, VP & GM of AI Marketing at Intel AI, at Girl Geek X, Elevate 2020

On Friday, March 6th, senior female tech leaders & engineers came together to celebrate International Women’s Day with over a dozen tech talks & panels during the Girl Geek X Elevate 2020 virtual conference. Today’s blog includes takeaways from a talk by Julie Shin Choi, VP & GM of Artificial Intelligence Products & Research Marketing at Intel AI. Prior to joining Intel, Julie led product marketing at HPE, Mozilla, and Yahoo. In addition to the YouTube video replay, a full transcript from Julie’s talk is also available.


One of the reasons that Julie Shin Choi chose to join Intel, she told us, was the opportunity and the scale that Intel’s AI technology platform would provide from a career perspective, but she never anticipating falling in love with the people of Intel.

“It is really this human goodness at Intel that keeps me here.”

One of the things that we’ve learned in recent years is that AI is a powerful agent for helping people around the world. Intel CEO Bob Swan shared an example from the Red Cross earlier this year at CES. As we all know, the Red Cross is an amazing relief organization dedicated to helping people in times of disaster.

Julie explains that Intel, the Red Cross, Mila (an AI think tank in Montreal), and other organizations recently formed a data science partnership alliance — their objective was to map unmapped parts of Uganda and to identify, through deep learning, different bridges that the Red Cross could take to deliver aid in times of disaster.

In addition to viral outbreaks (a case of Ebola emerged last June), Uganda is also prone to severe flooding.

“Bridges are often washed out or impassable,” said Red Cross CEO Dale Kunce. That “can mean that your 20-minute drive all of a sudden becomes several hours.”

Ultimately, Intel and their data partners were able to examine huge satellite images and come up with algorithms that could automatically identify bridges that could be utilized by disaster relief workers — they labelled and identified over 70 previously unmapped bridges in southern Uganda.

This is just one example of why human goodness matters when we think about AI application development. There are endless applications, some of which are especially current and relevant right now.

AI is playing a huge role in fighting the spread of Covid-19.

Everyone has heard about and is taking precautions against the global Covid-19 pandemic, but are we talking about the important role AI is playing in fighting the spread of this deadly virus?

“Globally,” Julie informs us, “We’re using big data — we’re analyzing different databases of where people have gone and the different symptoms that they may present.”

State, federal and local governments are turning to big data to make policy decisions and measure the impact and effectiveness of their policies in near real-time.

“One novel use case that we [at Intel AI] identified in Singapore is of a company that’s using IoT [Internet of Things] technology to help scan people and identify thermal readings — so basically fevers — without human contact.

Intel AI’s technology is powering thermal screening that’s helping keep people safe by catching more Covid-19 cases earlier, and with less manual input from healthcare professionals.

This AI-aided screening method is proving to be about three to four times more efficient, so they can scan 7 to 10 people with this AI device, as compared to using human healthcare practitioners. They’re able to free up limited resources and keep more healthcare workers on the front lines where they’re most needed right now.”

The utilization of AI is really helping manage a lot of the issues related to coronavirus in Singapore.

We’re seeing other innovations like this cropping up all around the world as technologists team up with big data partners, healthcare providers and policy makers to help track and slow the spread of Covid-19.

AI is new to us, so folks sometimes fear the capabilities… but our kids understand it. And they’re the ones who will be programming them.

“I have two children, 8 and 12. A couple of months ago, we were talking about the world, and the one in junior high, he said, ‘Well, I think that my generation is going to be spending most of its time solving the problems that your generation created.'”

Julie continued, “And then my little one, who’s still in elementary, chimed in right away, and he said, ‘With the help of our AI overlords, right?’

These kids already, they’re so aware, and I think the advice to our children would be to really read books, play with one another, learn how to have friends from many different backgrounds, become the best humans they can be, because it’s not going to be robot overlords. We’re going to need good humans to program those AIs.

Good humans are the key.

“In AI, good humans are needed because it’s such a powerful technology and it’s such an accelerant that really depends on algorithms at the heart, and these algorithms are coded based on assumptions that we make about data.

AI starts with data but ends with humans. It’s technology that’s being built for humans. I think it’s very important that we partner with people who really understand the human problems that we’re trying to solve. We need to partner with domain experts.”

AI is going to take a diversity of talents and tools.

There’s really no one size fits all, Julie explains: “We’re going to need CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, these are all different kinds of hardware. Tiny edge processors. We’re going to need a host of different software tools. We’re going to need data scientists and social scientists, psychologists and physicists, marketers and coders to all work together to come up with solutions that are creative. It’s really going to take a village. Be open-minded.”

“And let us always be thoughtful,” she added.

“I know that in Silicon Valley, people often say it’s important to go fast and to fail fast, but in AI, I don’t think so. I think we need to take time. We should be thoughtful and really, really careful and considerate about the assumptions we make as we create the tools that create the algorithms that feed the AIs.”

Good humans will be needed every step of the way.

A lot of people worry that AI is going to take our jobs and replace humans.

Julie Shin Choi, Vice President & General Manager, AI Marketing at Intel AI

“I’m a firm believer that AI will not be replacing humans, it will be augmenting humans. So it’s helping us, not replacing us.

For example, radiology is a major transformation area that’s being transformed by AI faster than most because of the applicability of computer vision for x-ray imaging. “But what we’re seeing is that physicians actually are welcoming the help of AI. It’s a great double check.

When you have a 97% accurate algorithm that’s going to ensure that your patient gets the right diagnosis — even though the algorithm is sometimes even more accurate than you, especially if you’re tired — it’s an absolutely phenomenal double check. The end goal for the human in that case, in medicine, is to go and help that patient with the most accurate information that the human doctor has.

What we’re seeing is that AI is helpful to humanity. It’s truly an augmenting type of technology and not a replacement.”

We talk a lot about the impact of bias in AI and how to limit it.

“Bias is certainly a problem and it’s something that we, as a community of technologists, policy makers and social scientists — all different backgrounds — we need to attack this together.

A lot of it just comes down to being intentional. There are audits of algorithms. There are ethics checklists, actually. There are best practices that have been set up, and I can actually introduce [the Girl Geek X community] to Intel’s AI for Good leader, Anna Bethke, who is an expert in this domain and a wealth of knowledge.

We need to address bias with intentional and very purposeful conversations, because again, the algorithms are based on assumptions that humans code. So the only way that we can eradicate and deal with the bias issue is by talking to one another. The right experts in the room ensuring and asking, ‘have we checked that bias off the list?’

Don’t just assume that coders know how to create a fair algorithm. I don’t think we can assume that. This is a very intentional action that we need to build into our AI development life cycles. The bias check.”

For more from Julie Shin Choi, watch the full video on YouTube, read the transcript of Julie’s talk during Girl Geek X Elevate, or follow her on Twitter.

To be notified of future Girl Geek X events and receive our weekly newsletter, subscribe to the Girl Geek X mailing list.

Interested in partnering with Girl Geek X to feature your female leaders or promote your current job openings to our community of 20,000+ mid-to-senior level women in technology? Email sponsors@girlgeek.io


Win FREE tickets to 12 Girl Geek Dinners in our 12 Days of Girl Geek Giveaway! UPDATE: Winners announced!

Girl Geek X - 12 Days of Giveaways Holiday Sweepstakes

What’s better than a free Girl Geek Dinner? How about 12 free Girl Geek Dinners!? That’s exactly what’s in store for ONE lucky girl geek this month! But we’re not stopping there — 11 more girl geeks & allies will be winning too!

We’re super excited to announce that we’re giving away a whopping total of 78 totally FREE Girl Geek Dinner passes in our December contest — which we’re launching TODAY!

Day 1 - 12 Days of Girl Geek X Giveaways - Pack of Playing Cards and a Dinner Ticket

The grand prize (12 tickets to Girl Geek Dinners plus a Girl Geek X hoodie or jacket) will go to the entrant who has referred the most friends to enter the contest & sign up for the Girl Geek X weekly newsletter during the contest period, which ends on December 20, 2019 at 11:59am PST.

The other 11 winners will be selected at random — 1 each day for 12 days, beginning Monday, December 9, 2019 at noon PST. The first drawing is just a few days away, and we’ll kick off the fun by giving away 1 free Girl Geek X Dinner ticket and a pair of Girl Geek X socks!

The number of tickets we give away will increase each day, until we award the grand prize. The Girl Geek X swag item we’re giving away will get a little better every day as well — we’re starting with a super cute pair of Girl Geek X socks, and working our way up through coffee mugs and t-shirts! (See the full prize list and official rules in the widget below.)

To improve your odds of winning, you can earn extra entries for every person you refer, for liking or following us on social media, listening to the Girl Geek X podcast, or for sharing the contest with your Bay Area friends & colleagues via the widget below!

Stitch Fix Girl Geek Dinner

Girl Geek Dinners are hosted throughout the Bay Area year-round, and winners can choose to use their tickets to attend multiple dinners individually, bring their bestie to a few, or use all their tickets at once by bringing friends and team members to a single dinner. Your call!

Good luck, and we hope to see you at a dinner soon!

12 Days of Girl Geek X Giveaway

Update: Congratulations to our 12 Winners!

Prize Name
12 Alicia Livingston
11 Gabriela Mujal
10 Patti Mangan
9 Jenh Vo
8 Michelle Jin
7 Herra lee
6 Shubhi Asthana
5 Sarita Agrawal
4 Nancy Cao
3 Alagu Valliappan
2 Linda Wang
1 Esmi De Anda

See your name on the list? Keep an eye on your inbox! We’ll be in touch to confirm your mailing address (and size if applicable) in the next few days!

Thanks for entering, and for being a member of the Girl Geek X community!

Speaker submissions for Elevate 2020 are now open!

We are seeking session proposals for the 3rd Annual Girl Geek X ELEVATE 2020 Virtual Conference to be held March 6th, 2020.

We’re inviting women technologists, innovators and tech leaders from around the world to participate in Girl Geek Elevate to share the latest in tech and leadership with fellow mid-and-senior level professional women.

This virtual conference is FREE for attendees – last year, over 2,500 women signed up to attend – tuning in from 31 countries around the world – to be inspired by speakers on the latest in tech trends and leadership.

Sessions may reflect the theme of this year’s conference – “Lift As You Climb” – and content typically covers the following topics:

  • Lightning Tech Talks – Dive deep into an area that’s unique/critical to your business or role (i.e. machine learning, security, usability, UX/UI, ethics in building product, data analysis, etc.)
  • Technical Skills & Tactics – Tutorials, walkthroughs, or deep dives into a skillset or tactical approach to how you solved a real-world challenge.
  • Learning and Development – Topics include negotiation, job search, interviewing tips, being a better leader, self-awareness, career growth, management, etc.
  • Inclusion, Equality, and Allyship – Topics include being a better ally, lifting other women up, and actionable advice for individual contributors or managers.
  • Interesting Life/Career Journeys/Distance-Traveled Stories – Did you overcome socioeconomic challenges (i.e. first in family to go to college, raised in poverty/rural area/etc.) while giving back or contributing to the greater good?

Work on a unique technical project or have interesting insights you’d love to share with other other women & allies? We want to hear from you!

Tip: The best proposals include 3-5 key takeaways — things attendees can expect to learn from your talk!

Submit your proposal for a talk and/or panel here by December 24, 2019 11:59PM PDT for Girl Geek Elevate virtual conference.

We’re looking for speakers with unique perspectives to share their successes, failures, insights, advice, personal journeys and learnings with the community! Come share your story and elevate fellow Girl Geeks as they navigate the choppy waters of their own tech careers.

Both first-time and experienced speakers are welcome to apply. All nominations will be considered, and all selected speakers will participate in a speaker prep session with the Girl Geek team and your fellow panelists and moderators.

Why Speak at Elevate Virtual Conference?

  • Share what you’ve learned the hard way so that other women can more easily navigate their own careers — your talk will reach thousands of viewers!
  • Share the technology you’re working on and talk about the tough problems you’re solving
  • Increase your visibility within your own organization and position yourself as a subject-matter expert in your field
  • Open yourself to more career opportunities
  • Highlight issues unique to women in technology/leadership, and issues you’ve experienced or are passionate about
  • Connect with other great women leaders, peers and mentors
  • Elevating other women is a fun & rewarding experience

We’re open to presentations, one-on-one interviews, and panels… choose the format you’re comfortable with!

Submit your proposal for a talk and/or panel here by December 24, 2019 11:59PM PDT for Girl Geek Elevate virtual conference.

For sponsorship inquiries, please contact sponsors@girlgeek.io

Podcast Highlights: 15 Helpful Insights on Managing Up

In continuing our Podcast Highlights mini series, this week, we’re sharing 19 helpful insights from the Girl Geek X podcast that will help you manage your career by “managing up!”

If you haven’t already subscribed to the Girl Geek X podcast, head on over to iTunesSpotifyStitcher, or Google Play and get ready to start binge listening! 

This week, Girl Geek X Co-Founder & CTO Sukrutha Bhadouria is breaking out quotes and insights from her favorite release on the Girl Geek X Podcast — Episode 15: Managing Up & Working with Your Manager.

Why this topic matters, and why it’s her favorite episode:

Sukrutha Bhadouria, CTO & Co-Founder of Girl Geek X
Sukrutha Bhadouria, Co-Founder & CTO at Girl Geek X and Sr. Manager, Engineering at Salesforce

“I think managing up is so hard that no one really taught me, or it didn’t even come to my attention that I needed to focus on it until at least five or six years into my career. It’s really hard to know what’s expected of you and how you’re being evaluated if you don’t know how to manage up. I think the best way is to get on the same page and understand a bit more about what your manager wants to see, what their goals are and how you can help them reach their goals. We don’t talk about this enough, and learning how to manage up earlier could help so many of us move ahead faster.”

15 Helpful Insights on How to “Manage Up”

15. Make your manager look good.

“If you want to be a better employee, think about ‘What is my manager measured on, what would make them look good to their boss?’ What are the metrics, what are the things that they really care about? Then when you’re prioritizing your time, think about your decisions in the context of ‘How can I get my manager promoted?’ Because if you can get your manager promoted, you make everybody look good.” —Gretchen DeKnikker, COO at Girl Geek X

14. Ask questions.

“Have direct conversations. Do not guess. Do not try to guess. For example, I was hired for a job and two weeks in, my boss was fired. My brand new boss was fired. He and a few other people who were brand new to the company and brand new to the team – we were opening a San Francisco office – they were all I had to turn to.

We had a trip planned to go to New York, and my colleague who’d only been there a few months longer, was like, ‘Well, I don’t know if we should go.’ And I was like, ‘I’m going, and I’m going to sit down with the CEO while I’m in New York and I’m going to ask him, ‘What were your expectations for my role? What were the goals? What are the things I could do in the first 90 days?’ Because I don’t have a manager anymore and I need to know.’ It was a brand new role.

If I hadn’t asked questions, I would have worked on the wrong things. I wouldn’t have prioritized my time in a way that would have allowed me to meet expectations.

And my colleague’s first response was this idea that you shouldn’t go meet, you shouldn’t go ask, and you should just sort of sit back and wait to see what happens. I’m so glad that wasn’t my first instinct and that I went in and had the conversation.” —Gretchen DeKnikker, COO at Girl Geek X

“I’ve asked questions like, ‘What is the thing that’s worrying you the most, work-wise? Or what is your biggest goal? What do you want your org to be known for?’ And through that, I get a sense of where I can insert myself and make my manager successful. That is the main thing. When you’re managing up, you want to make your manager a success in their job by basically managing them.” —Sukrutha Bhadouria, Co-Founder & CTO at Girl Geek X and Sr. Manager, Engineering at Salesforce

13. Be vulnerable.

Sandhya Hegde speaking
Sandhya Hegde, EVP of Marketing at Amplitude

“You have to be vulnerable. You have to say stuff like, “Hey, I care about how you feel about me,” which is a vulnerable place to be. When I worked up the courage to say it, it made a huge difference. Because you are vulnerable, the other person starts being more vulnerable. So yeah, if you feel like you’re working with someone who’s not opening up, honestly the best thing to do is just be vulnerable with them and create that space for them to reciprocate.” —Sandhya Hegde, EVP of Marketing at Amplitude

12. Learn your manager’s working style.

“Try to understand your manager’s style. Do they like going for walks in their one-on-ones or do they prefer it to be a coffee? Or do they prefer to be in a conference room? Trying to understand more about their working style will help you get on the same page. It will break the ice, and then you can get to the real stuff.” —Sukrutha Bhadouria, Co-Founder & CTO at Girl Geek X and Sr. Manager, Engineering at Salesforce

Angie Chang, CEO & Co-Founder of Girl Geek X
Angie Chang, CEO & Co-Founder of Girl Geek X

“Managing up is about the willingness to do a little bit of work and ask more questions instead of just being like, ‘Well, my manager is not giving me what I want and I’m just going to be resentful.’ Ask more questions to figure out what the working relationship is going to be with this type of person. I’m sure there are professional tests that will then name this personality and give you hints on how to best interact with this type of person that you can investigate.” —Angie Chang, Co-Founder & CEO at Girl Geek X

11. There’s an app for that!

“There’s a piece of software if you’re using Gmail for work called Crystal Knows – it’ll tell you how to best communicate with anyone through email. If you were to read mine, it would be like, ‘Use short, concise sentences. Make your point quickly. Don’t use a bunch of flowery language.’ That sort of thing. And I thought it was pretty accurate, but it’s super interesting. I think you can get an initial thing for free and then you have to pay, but it’s pretty amazing. Even if you just run it on your own inbox to see, ‘Oh yeah, that is how I like to get emails.’” —Gretchen DeKnikker, COO at Girl Geek X

10. Talk to your manager’s past reports.

“When I get a new manager or assigned to someone new or move to a new org, I talk to people who reported to them for a long time. I try to get a sense of what it’s like to report to them and what their managing style is. Just so that I’m better prepared. It’s helped me so much to know what kind of things they focus on from someone else’s perspective.

I personally don’t think anyone is a perfect manager. A lot of how good of a manager someone is to you is within your control. I have had some good managers in the recent past, but I’ve also seen other people struggle to report to them. Taking things into my own hands and really, really focusing on the relationship and managing up has helped tremendously. I did my homework to get a sense of what it’s like to report to them, what they like and what they don’t like. And I figured out how to work around their dislikes. I haven’t had a situation in a really long time where things just aren’t working, because I invest a lot very early in the relationship.” —Sukrutha Bhadouria, Co-Founder & CTO at Girl Geek X and Sr. Manager, Engineering at Salesforce

“If you’re reaching out to a new manager’s former team members, you just have to approach it from a positive angle. Like, Hey, I’m just trying to do really great. If you could give me three pieces of advice on how to be successful in working with him, what would you say?” —Gretchen DeKnikker, COO at Girl Geek X

9. Know when to move on.

Gretchen DeKnikker, COO at Girl Geek X
Gretchen DeKnikker, COO at Girl Geek X

“There are people that are just not people that you enjoy working with, and that’s managers or colleagues or subordinates and at some point, there’s only so much you can do to try to smooth that over. Then you just either take that person at face value and accept that there are just times where things aren’t gonna work, or you go somewhere else.

Sometimes you’ll have a manager and you just know that they are never going to lift you up. They are never going to put you center stage. They are always going to keep you in their shadow. I’ve had those, and you have to move on. You absolutely have to move on. You cannot let someone steal your spotlight. Not on your career path.” —Gretchen DeKnikker, COO at Girl Geek X

8. Ask for a performance review.

Sandy Liao speaking
Sandy Liao, Head of Talent, Culture & People Operations at HomeLight.

“Incorporating performance data is crucial to the business, as well as your own career growth. If your manager has not spoken with you for the past quarter or past six months about how you’re doing from a performance standpoint, it’s super important to make that calendar invite and make them have that conversation.

Especially working in a startup, these things kind of get out of hand when we’re trying to do like 100 things at once. But before any of us start analyzing a new opportunity, it is just necessary to have conversations with people that are mentoring you and that are working with you directly.” Sandy Liao, Head of Talent, Culture & People Operations at HomeLight

7. Be objective & use data when navigating a challenging relationship.

“Using data is a great way to ask for help and make progress with your manager. It’s like, ‘Okay, we set these goals and I didn’t meet two of them, so here’s what I need to meet the rest.’ If you’re able to kind of frame these conversations with your manager objectively, then that’s one way to get help.

Take it back to an objective place of like, ‘We’re here to do this job. These are the goals along those lines and can you just tell me the extent to whether or not I’m fulfilling that?’ I think being able to bring the conversation back to that is an effective way to manage a more challenging relationship.” —Rachel Jones, Podcaster at Girl Geek X

6. Be specific when asking for help.

“Probably the hardest part of this when you’re earlier in your career is that you may not know exactly what you need to hit your goals. It’s hard to articulate to your manager, this is exactly why. ‘If I had XYZ, then I feel like ABC would…’ Right?

I think it can be dangerous if you’re like, ‘Oh well if I had this one piece of software, I could do this better. Or if I had an extra person, I could do this better.’ Those are hard cases to make to your manager, particularly if there’s an impression that you’re not hitting your goals already.

You want to be very specific on what it is that you’re asking for and what you think the ROI will be. Because a fuzzy ROI is a hard argument to make to a manager to get additional resources.” —Gretchen DeKnikker, COO at Girl Geek X

5. Take responsibility for your career growth.

Don’t think that your career growth is just fully your manager’s responsibility. It is just as much yours. And so if you don’t see those conversations coming up, you need to be bringing it up. 

As a manager, I’m super excited and motivated to help people who seem like they want to be helped and who are motivated as well. It’s really difficult to grow someone’s career when they’re just not as motivated to do it. And that’s fine too. Sometimes people want to just stay at their level. That’s totally cool. But if you really want to grow, you want to be bringing it up a lot with your manager. —Sukrutha Bhadouria, Co-Founder & CTO at Girl Geek X and Sr. Manager, Engineering at Salesforce

4. Know who your manager is investing in.

“Your manager controls your advancement and your visibility within the company. So if it seems like your manager is investing in other people and not investing in you, rather than just being a manager who doesn’t really invest in anyone in their team, definitely consider whether this is the right place for you. Because a manager can have a huge impact on your career, and you don’t want to be begging for attention from someone who’s just never going to give it to you.” —Gretchen DeKnikker, COO at Girl Geek X

3. Find a mentor.

Vidya Setlur
Vidya Setlur, Staff Research Scientist & Manager at Tableau Software

“Some of the best mentors that I’ve come across have been people who were my managers in the past, maybe at a different company or in a different line whom I have respected and trusted, but because they are not my manager anymore there is a different type of relationship where it can be more mentoring as opposed to managing.

There’s a lovely inflection there that happens. So kind of seek out into your network and find those people that you’ve worked closely with, or that managed you — directly or indirectly. See if they can help mentor you in your next path or next effort.” —Vidya Setlur, Staff Research Scientist & Manager at Tableau Software

2. Maintain relationships with past managers.

“I keep really strong relationships with managers… and they’re people that I go back to when I’m looking for a new job. Not necessarily for them to hire me, but they know me so well, and when I’m trying to figure out what I’m good at, what I like doing, and what direction might I go in, their input is helpful.

A past manager is someone who knows you really well to be able to kind of give their two cents, even if they haven’t been working with you recently.

I mean, not all of your managers are people that you want to necessarily keep taking advice from, but I think I’ve been really fortunate that most of my previous managers are people that I want to reach out to. I still go back and can be like, ‘I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, help me!’ And they do.” —Gretchen DeKnikker, COO at Girl Geek X

1. Remember that your manager is human.

Rachel Jones, Podcaster at Girl Geek X
Rachel Jones, Podcaster at Girl Geek X

“Knowing how awkward the transition into management can be for people is definitely something to keep in mind when you’re working with your manager. A lot of people are put into this role without getting any kind of specific training or support on what it means to be a manager. Keeping that in mind when you’re interacting with your managers or setting expectations for what that relationship should look like. Definitely focus on the work that you have to do to maintain that relationship and drive your career forward, and involve your manager in that.” —Rachel Jones, Podcaster at Girl Geek X

Check out the full episode or podcast transcript for more great insights on managing up and managing your career, or subscribe to our YouTube channel for even more insightful content on topics that matter to women and allies.


About the Author

Amy Weicker - Head of Marketing at Girl Geek X

Amy Weicker is the Head of Marketing at Girl Geek X, and she has been helping launch & grow tech companies as a marketing leader and demand generation consultant for nearly 20 years. Amy previously ran marketing at SaaStr, where she helped scale the world’s largest community & conference for B2B SaaS Founders, Execs and VCs from $0 to $10M and over 200,000 global community members. She was also the first head of marketing at Sales Hacker, Inc. (acquired by Outreach) which helps connect B2B sales professionals with the tools, technology and education they need to excel in their careers.

Ritu Narayan, Founder of Zūm, Modern Ride Service for Children, Wins Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award!

Ritu Narayan - Founder & CEO of Zum

Selected from over 1,500 Entries, Zum’s Founder and CEO wins Gold Stevie® Award.

Ritu Narayan, founder and CEO of Zūm, a modern ride service for children, has been selected as the recipient of a Gold Stevie® Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year in the Consumer Services Category. This news comes on the heels of the company’s recent expansion to six new states. Zūm now serves over 250 school districts and 4,000 schools across seven states.

The Stevie Awards for Women in Business honor women executives, entrepreneurs, employees, and the companies they run — worldwide.  The Stevie Awards have been hailed as the world’s premier business awards. More than 1,500 entries were submitted this year for consideration in more than 90 categories, including Executive of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Women Helping Women, and Women Run Workplace of the Year.

A former executive at Oracle, Yahoo! and eBay, Narayan founded Zūm when she couldn’t find safe and reliable rides for her own children without sacrificing her career.

41% of U.S. women say it’s hard to advance their careers due to childcare issues, and 10 million women have already left the workforce due to a lack of safe and reliable options.

Ritu’s mission was to create a seamless service that makes child transportation easier, safer and more transparent for families and schools.

“As both a female entrepreneur and a working mother, this recognition is very meaningful for me,” says Ritu Narayan, co-founder, and CEO of Zum. “What started as solving a problem for me and my family is now disrupting an entrenched but severely outdated transportation system built around a fleet of 500,000+ yellow buses nationally. We are helping both schools and working parents address the needs of today’s busy schedules and wider transportation needs.”

Under Ritu’s leadership, Zūm continues to fulfill its mission to be the leader in safe and reliable rides for kids, with 3X YoY growth. The company has also doubled its number of employees during the past year, with women now making up around 50% of the Zūm team.

Ritu has successfully raised over $70 million via traditional venture capital funding, including a $19 million Series B led by Spark Capital in 2018, and most recently, a $40 million Series C led by BMW i Ventures with participation from Spark Capital, Sequoia Capital, and Volvo Cars Tech Fund.

In a market with a lot of untapped opportunity, Zūm is poised for exponential growth and might just be poised to become the next woman-led Unicorn startup! Move over, Uber.

About Zūm
Zūm solves transportation challenges facing schools and families by providing a modern ride service for children. The use of Zum’s technology significantly reduces school overhead and commute times by providing the right vehicle for every trip while also providing real-time tracking of rides so parents know where their student is at all times. Zum drivers have clean driving records, several years of childcare experience and earn the highest hourly rate in the industry. Zum, founded in 2015, and based in Silicon Valley, is backed by notable investors including Sequoia Capital, Spark Capital, and BMW iVentures. www.ridezum.com 

About the Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in seven programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the German Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards®, The International Business Awards®, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Stevie Awards competitions receive more than 12,000 nominations each year from organizations in more than 70 nations. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about the Stevie Awards at www.StevieAwards.com.