A Pioneer Woman in Tech: Murriel Grace Perez & Girls in Tech, Los Angeles
Murriel Grace Perez is a Managing Director at Girls in Tech Los Angeles. Although she started out as a pre-med student, Murriel fell in love with the tech world during an internship for a startup in San Francisco. I felt so inspired after learning of her brave and influential story that I was moved to share it with a more far-reaching audience.
Can you tell us more about your background in technology?
I started as a pre-med student at UC Berkeley double-majoring in Comparative Literature and Molecular and Cellular Biology and decided somewhere halfway through my sophomore year that I was not interested in a career in medicine — the several more years of schooling and residency that was in store for me as a med student.
At the time, I had an internship for a startup in San Francisco, doing black box Quality Assurance testing and I fell in love with the tech world. After graduating with a degree in Literature (I dropped the Bio double major to finish a year early), I wandered around a bit professionally until I found an IT/Systems bootcamp program. The program lasted for three months until the school shut down, but I had enough exposure to get my feet wet, and opportunity and serendipity brought me to another job as a junior tech at a boutique IT Consulting company.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in technology?
Women in tech have faced a wide range of experiences, from positive to negative. I am happy to have had a largely positive and supportive experience, but not everyone has been so lucky. From the wage gap between women and men in similar positions, to lack of mentorship, to discrimination via unconscious bias, to sometimes even outright sexism and harassment — there have been many challenges out there. One of the biggest challenges now — given that there has been widespread public acknowledgement that women are underrepresented and can sometimes face unfair treatment — is to figure out what we need to do as a tech community to help address the problem and actually make meaningful strides toward a solution.
What can we do to create a positive and supportive environment for women in the tech industry?
Mentor, mentor, mentor! We can continue to create positive and supportive environments for women, and also work at the corporate level to be conscious of the culture that we are creating.
What do you love about being a woman in tech?
I love the opportunities that technology offers not only me, but the next generations out there. Through technology, we are able to make a lasting and meaningful impact on the world around us. We can use the tools that we have access to in a way that will help solve some of the major problems that we face in our local and global communities — from health access to resources, to providing a better life and livelihood and more.
What advice can you give to our future women in tech?
Explore your curiosity, pursue what excites you. Don’t be afraid of not having the right answers — keep asking questions and never stop learning. Tech is constantly changing, and you will never know everything. It’s okay to be a beginner, it’s okay not to have the answers. Be resourceful and inquisitive and you will learn and find the answers along the way.