Back in August 2017, DCFemTech put out a call for nominations for our 2018 leadership team. It was the first time our organization formally recruited new leadership. This is a big moment for us.
DCFemTech was founded in 2014 in an effort to amplify the efforts of women in tech organizations. It is a collective, brought to life by the many, many women and minorities in DC tech organizations that it represents. Over the years, we’ve grown to include more than a dozen member organizations and supporting groups. As our community began to grow, we listened to members’ needs. We expanded to welcome any woman who was interested in lowering the barriers to entry for women in tech and who wanted to play a role in shaping this supportive, inclusive ecosystem.
DCFemTech has become a force in the local community. We created new initiatives like the month-long Tour de Code and the DCFemTech Awards. Tour de Code is a festival of community programming, while the awards recognize engineers, designers and data scientists in the DC community, giving them an accolade they can place on LinkedIn profiles and resumes.
We’re a grassroots group, but we realized we needed to institutionalize more formal leadership roles in order to continue adapting. We wanted a leadership team who would operate and organize DCFemTech, ensure alignment with the mission, execute events & leadership meetings, and create the future of this organization.
We were amazed at the volume of nominations we received. We got applications from women who’d been part of the community for years, as well as women who’d never been to a DCFemTech meeting before. Our selection committee went through an extensive process to assess the applicants based on our mission and goals. We reviewed each application carefully, and selected several candidates for interviews with current DCFemTech leaders. We spoke to each of our finalists and discussed the right balance of experience, skills and vision before making this difficult decision.
Today, we are pleased to announce the new leadership team. Our members, who were closely involved in or aware of the process, have shared positive and constructive feedback about this transition and the new team that is now in place.
The four women we selected are leaders in their fields, and come to us with extensive but diverse experience as community organizers, technology practitioners, and mentors. Each team member will serve a one year term. We’re excited to deputize them and welcome them to this new and exciting challenge and opportunity.
DCFemTech cofounders Stephanie Nguyen and Shana Glenzer will stay involved with the leadership team as advisors and additional resources for executing on the collective’s mission. Misty Melton will continue to serve as Treasurer of DCFemTech and DC Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery, which acts as DCFemTech’s current 501c3 fiscal sponsor.
If you’re interested in joining DCFemTech, have ideas for programming, want to become a sponsor, or anything else, please send your suggestions our way! You can email dcfemtech [at] gmail [dot] com.
Anika Gupta is new to DCFemTech. She grew up in Maryland and returns to the DC area after ten years away, including a stop to study journalism at Northwestern, five years as a science and tech journalist in New Delhi, India, and two years getting her Master’s at MIT in Cambridge, Mass. She works as a digital product manager with media companies (currently, the Atlantic) and teaches, writes and speaks about audience engagement and community strategy.
Ally Palanzi is an engineer with a passion for design, accessibility, inclusion, and ice cream. She has been a member of DCFemTech since 2014, contributing to website development, design, and organizing various events. During the day, she works at Nava, a public benefit corporation working with government agencies to improve their digital services.
Shannon Turner is the founder of Hear Me Code, an organization offering free, beginner-friendly coding classes for 3000 women in DC. Hear Me Code focuses on leadership development, peer mentoring, and turning students into teachers. In 2015, Shannon was named one of Washington’s Tech Titans by the Washingtonian. She currently serves on DC’s Open Government Advisory Board.
While studying Computer Information Systems at the illustrious Howard University, Zuri Hunter spent two years teaching herself Ruby on Rails and using it at hackathons. During her learning journey she came to realize her passion in teaching spent several years volunteering as a Ruby on Rails Lead for Women Who Code and the Technical Lead for Black Girls Code DC Chapter. In 2017 she was nominated for DC Technical.ly “Technologist of the Year” award. Outside of volunteering she spends her spare time playing video games, billiards and watching American Football.