We Celebrated 3 Years in Portland
Women Who Code Portland started out as a small meetup group on June 10th, 2014. Earlier this month, we celebrated three years in Portland with 200 people, 4 amazing speakers, and 4 sponsoring companies at New Relic’s downtown office.
Women Who Code is a global nonprofit dedicated to inspiring women to succeed in technology careers. We are in 20 countries and 60 cities and our global membership recently reached 100,000. The Portland chapter is made up of 2,000 members and led by 15 incredible leaders. We organize monthly technical workshops, networking nights, study nights, and social events, as well as a yearly IoT Hackathon.
The four companies that co-sponsored the event are New Relic, Nike, InVision, and Hackbright Academy, and we are so grateful for their support of Women Who Code and their sponsoring of this event. As a result, we gave out lots of cool Women Who Code swag.
The 3rd Anniversary Celebration was part of our Networking Night series, a speaker series that showcases women working in engineering, design, product, etc at different Portland tech companies. Every month, we have a different theme and for this event, we showcased Women in Engineering Leadership.
Our panelists were Sue Hayes, Senior Director of Commerce Core Platform Engineering at Nike, Meena Arunachalam, Principal Engineer at Intel, Dana Lawson, VP of Engineering at InVision, and April Leonard, Engineering Manager at New Relic. Our moderator was Vaidehi Joshi, Staff Engineer at Tilde Inc.
This panel was full of important and actionable information.The data tells us that women are twice as likely to leave the tech industry as men (41% vs 17%). It was very important to us to feature a panel of women who have remained in the industry, thrived in their roles, and have become leaders within their organizations.
As a Principal Engineer, Meena talked about the divide between the management pipeline and the technical pipeline. To succeed, she advised everyone to build themselves a support network… at work, at home, everywhere. These are the people who will tell you’re good when you have your doubts.
Dana told us that she looks for three traits in people: smart, hungry, and humble. The rest is not as important, because everything else can be learned. In true Nike fashion, Sue recommended to “just do it.” She advised to be bold and take advantage of the opportunities that come your way; don’t be afraid that you don’t know something, because you will learn it.
April recounted a salary conversation early in her career. That conversation was really successful and the key was to not “put out the first number.” She was asked several times, but she avoided giving an answer, and in the end, the offer was twice as much as she thought it would be.
A video of the panel is available on our YouTube chann: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLyHV7Xxiiznj5ykTpDM963YlxAWMuxvfR