The Women of Flatiron School’s Technology Team

Another Women’s History Month is coming to an end. As we say farewell to the month where we more actively celebrate the achievements of women than say, November, we take a moment to get to know the heroines who make up almost half of Flatiron School’s Technology Team. Learn their favorite snacks, who their role models are, and what inspires them most about Flatiron School.

Tracy Lum, Engineer

What is your favorite snack(s)?

A party size bag of peanut butter M&Ms

What do you like about working on the Technology team at Flatiron School?

My favorite parts of working on the technology team here at Flatiron are the team and the product. Our team is unique in that we constantly challenge each other to be better, to continuously learn and iterate. A lot of other places talk a big game, but we actually do it by hosting a weekly tech book club, blogging about our code, and doing presentations to share knowledge among the team. I haven’t worked anywhere else where I feel supported to push myself so far outside my comfort zone. We’re also a fairly ridiculous bunch of diverse people, so it’s really fun. We have a strong pun game.

I also love Learn. As a former student, I used Learn.co to learn how to code and I saw how magical it was. To be able to hack on that learning system and our integrated systems is the best way I can think of to help other people experience the magic and also, you know, change their lives.

People often talk about the gender parity in tech and how there are not enough women in tech. How is Flatiron School bridging the gap?

I think Flatiron School has done a really good job of creating an inclusive community. Especially on the engineering team, where I work, the environment is incredibly supportive. I’ve been on the team for three years and gone through periods when there have been fewer women, which my team and I flagged. Our managers and recruiters took that feedback and we’ve since become a much more balanced team. It’s generally just been awesome to work with more women and see more equal representation.

Rachel Salois, Engineer

What is your favorite snack(s)?

Popcorn

What do you like about working on the Technology team at Flatiron School?

My coworkers; they’re smart people who care about making Flatiron products awesome for students and staff.

A team culture of iterating on process and product.

Who is your female-identifying hero?

Duh, my mom!

Malorie Casimir, Engineer

What is your favorite snack(s)?

Popcorn, Reese’s peanut butter cups, string cheese, clementines, the list can go on for pages

What do you like about working on the Technology team at Flatiron School?

At Flatiron School, we have a very supportive culture that fosters growth. We not only constantly push ourselves and each other to be better, but also are cognizant of not letting anyone fall behind.

Who is your female-identifying hero?

My mother, my sister and Daenerys Targaryen

What does working at Flatiron School mean to you?

Working at Flatiron School means giving back. I was given the opportunity to change my life as a student at Access Labs. It was very hard work but I’d do it all again. It taught me so much about myself including crossing boundaries of what I thought I could handle and how to navigate incredibly difficult situations — something that 2 degrees did not teach me. If I could contribute to having that kind of impact on someone while knowing they’ll be going through it in an environment that truly cares for their success, that’s really all I could ask for.

Kaitlin Vignali, Product Manager

What is your favorite snack(s)?

Pepperoni pizza

What do you like about working on the Technology team at Flatiron School?

Solving complex problems with an amazing group of coworkers!

People often talk about the gender parity in tech and how there are not enough women in tech. How is Flatiron School bridging the gap?

By striving for gender parity in our classes and placing women in jobs, we are flooding the tech landscape with more women.

Who is your female-identifying hero?

Elizabeth Bishop

What does working at Flatiron School mean to you?

I get to work in education, but buck the traditional aspects. I have the opportunity to be innovative and be part of an organization that is striving to evolve how we as a society view and understand education.

Lisa Jiang, Head of Product

What is your favorite snack(s)?

Ferrero Rocher

What do you like about working on the Technology team at Flatiron School?

While Flatiron School’s mission has remained the same over the years, the way in which our Technology team and the products we build serve that mission is constantly evolving. It’s been a really creative problem solving endeavor — from how to help grow the school’s footprint to how to build systems that support our teachers and staff while always keeping the students and their success at the center.

People often talk about the gender parity in tech and how there are not enough women in tech. How is Flatiron School bridging the gap?

Similar to my thinking about education, I don’t think there’s a silver bullet. Here’s a few examples of efforts we’ve taken our Tech team to make this place a great place for women to work.

1. Recruiting more women to the team. About a year ago, we gathered the entire Tech team together and we all agreed that we want to have more diversity on the team — including more women engineers. That set in motion of a few immediate responses. A few include:

  • Goaling our recruiter around sourcing more women and making copy changes to our job descriptions to be more inclusive
  • Asking everyone on the team to tap into their networks stating that we were particularly interested in women candidates to apply
  • Changing the ordering of some interview conversations so candidates were exposed to more female engineers and leaders earlier in the process
  • Making changes to our debrief and evaluations to mitigate any possible unconscious bias

2. Fostering a welcoming work environment. Now that we have a rockstar roster of women on the team, we think a lot about how they can thrive here. First, in resourcing engineers to projects, we try very hard to have at least 2+ women on the team so we mitigate the ‘only woman in the room’ challenges. Informally, we’ve done a couple women-only social outings and have set up a #tech-ladies channel. I think it’s important to have dedicated time and space to chat about personal and professional challenges and be able to support one another.

3. Investing in leadership and growth. We’re lucky at Flatiron School in that the leadership team is 50% female so there’s a lot of great folks to look up to and get support from. We’re not there yet on the tech team but we made efforts to promote more females into tech leadership roles and invest in their learning and development through coaching and management training. I know this stuff won’t happen overnight but I’m proud of the 50/50 eng manager team, 50/50 tech leads on projects and 50/50 product team as a good early indicator.

Who is your female-identifying hero?

My mom

Belinda Black, Technology Manager

What is your favorite snack(s)?

Cheese and anything wearing cheese

What do you like about working on the Technology team at Flatiron School?

  1. The energy of this team. Everyone is supportive of one another’s growth and technical inspiration. On top of that, we don’t foster a blame culture here.
  2. The diversity! We have such a diverse group of people bringing in their own unique perspectives and it allows us to be more creative and see the bigger picture more readily.
  3. The mission. I truly believe in what we’re building and am passionate about access to education for everyone.

People often talk about the gender parity in tech and how there are not enough women in tech. How is Flatiron School bridging the gap?

Over the past decade, I was often the only woman in the room. Now, sometimes it’s only women in the room! I feel very proud to be surrounded by so many genuine, inspiring and intelligent women and I feel just as proud of our allies here who support us every day. Not only have we been able to bring in a diverse group of people but we’ve also been able to keep them here because of a supportive and inclusive culture.

Who is your female-identifying hero?

Michelle Obama

What does working at Flatiron School mean to you?

It means helping other people get access to the same kind of fulfilling career that I’ve had, especially those who might not have the opportunity otherwise.

Meryl Dakin, Engineer

What is your favorite snack(s)?

Cheese sticks

What do you like about working on the Technology team at Flatiron School?

There is such an emphasis on helpfulness and supporting each other. The people who are the best developers are also the most giving with their time and knowledge, which lifts us all up. Also, there’s a strong advocacy for karaoke at team events, which is something I look for in a company in general.

Who is your female-identifying hero?

My grandmother.

What does working at Flatiron School mean to you?

It means I’m part of the movement to change education in this country (and now others!). What drives me is our society’s blanket insistence on the university system, and how we’re challenging that with a program like the Flatiron School. So many of my peers feel like they’ve walled themselves in by incurring a huge amount of debt and a fairly useless degree. And I feel like I’m doing my small part to help create another reality.

Caralie Chrisco, Technical Recruiter

What is your favorite snack(s)?

Snap Pea Crisps and Reese’s Cups

What do you like about working on the Technology team at Flatiron School?

The people on the technology team. I get to be surrounded by smart, funny, and kind people who make a work day fly by. I also learn something new every single day and feel supported by co-workers and leaders to do so.

People often talk about the gender parity in tech and how there are not enough women in tech. How is Flatiron School bridging the gap?

Our partnerships team works very hard to procure scholarships to give access to inspiring female techies and the admissions team works tirelessly helping to create cohorts from all walks of life. From a workplace standpoint, as the technical recruiter, I dedicate time building diverse pipelines of candidates from multiple sources. I reach out to special interest groups and try to do creative sourcing in order to get candidates who wouldn’t have applied in the first place. Women are still less likely to apply for something they don’t feel 100 percent qualified for. I like to think part of my job is finding women and letting them know they’re worth it!

Who is your female-identifying hero?

Fictional: Leslie Knope 
Real Life: Tina Fey

What does working at Flatiron School mean to you?

I am a very small part of making education available to people who need a change. Helping support the tech team who builds and keeps Learn going means in the long run I’m pitching in to give people a chance to change their lives.

Cailee Adamson, Product Analyst

What is your favorite snack(s)?

Pocky

What do you like about working on the Technology team at Flatiron School?

The lovely people

People often talk about the gender parity in tech and how there are not enough women in tech. How is Flatiron School bridging the gap?

By talking about it often, creating an open and welcoming community, and creating scholarship opportunities specifically for women.

Who is your female-identifying hero?

Beyonce

What does working at Flatiron School mean to you?

Getting to help people pursue their passion and change their lives

Natalie Olivo, Technology Manager

What is your favorite snack(s)?

I really love Milky Ways

What do you like about working on the Technology team at Flatiron School?

I like the connection that the Technology team keeps with the school and the students through things like Student Council and AMA sessions. Everyone is approachable and helpful. I also really appreciate the spirit of the engineers, they are thoughtful, believe in connecting to the technology community outside of our team and are passionate about engineering, code and the work they do everyday.

People often talk about the gender parity in tech and how there are not enough women in tech. How is Flatiron School bridging the gap?

We bridge the gap not only with our schools mission, but we do it with our numbers on our team, as well with 43% of our team representative of women.

Who is your female-identifying hero?

I have many actually. Janelle Monae, Storm from X-Men, Shuri (Black Panther) and my mother-in-law.

What does working at Flatiron School mean to you?

I’ve been here about 2 months, and so far for me it means you are part of a culture that is inspiring change every day. We are growing at a rapid pace and affecting lives and all of that… What really makes an impact though, are the deeper relationships you can develop when you invest the time and energy where it really counts.

Kate Travers, Engineer

What is your favorite snack(s)?

Gummy bears

What do you like about working on the Technology team at Flatiron School?

I love working as an engineer at Flatiron School because my job is more than just writing code. I’m building tools that help our students improve their lives in a genuine, tangible way. And I’m doing this alongside a talented team full of awesome people who are just as excited about this work as I am. It’s incredibly rewarding, every single day.

Who is your female-identifying hero?

Ellen Ripley

What does working at Flatiron School mean to you?

When I was a student, Flatiron School completely changed my life, and now as a member of the technology team, it’s a chance for me to give back in an incredibly direct, rewarding way. I know from personal experience just how important and transformative the work we do is for our students, so every day, no matter how challenging, I know we made people’s lives a little bit better, we got people a little closer to that dream of a new career, and nothing beats that feeling.

Deanna Azzolini, Design Manager

What is your favorite snack(s)?

Popcorn

What do you like about working on the Technology team at Flatiron School?

I’ve always had a passion for using design to that help others. One of the most exciting things about working on this team is that we build tools that help our teachers and staff provide a great experience for students throughout their entire journey with Flatiron School. Everyone on the Technology team is extremely user centered and committed to building the best services for our students!

People often talk about the gender parity in tech and how there are not enough women in tech. How is Flatiron School bridging the gap?

I’ve worked in tech for the majority of my career, and one of the things that has always been meaningful to me is having a community of other women in my field to learn from and inspire my growth. At Flatiron School, there is a strong mission to provide an inclusive community and support that is deeply impactful for women. In providing access to education through a variety of ways (online, in-person, full time/part time), and hosting events and opportunities to connect with other women leaders in tech, Flatiron School is helping women feel empowered to pursue a career in this field.

Who is your female-identifying hero?

My mom

What does working at Flatiron School mean to you?

To me, working at Flatiron School means being a part of a greater mission to help anyone change their lives through education.

Sophie DeBenedetto, Engineer

What is your favorite snack(s)?

Almonds! Almonds are my main food group.

What do you like about working on the Technology team at Flatiron School?

Absolutely the people. Our team has created a strong community that is so dedicated to learning and growing together. I know I can rely on any one of my amazing team members and on top of all that, we have a ton of fun together.

People often talk about the gender parity in tech and how there are not enough women in tech. How is Flatiron School bridging the gap?

Flatiron School has had a variety of initiatives throughout the years to encourage, support and empower female bootcamp applicants and students. On the Tech Team side, our team is full of incredible smart, driven women who not only write code all day, but also dedicate their time to supporting and lifting up the people around them.

What does working at Flatiron School mean to you?

It means making tech education available to more people, it means being part of a community of people who are always learning.

Natalie Perpepaj, Engineer

What is your favorite snack(s)?

Sour Straws (Blue Raspberry because yay artificial flavors)

What do you like about working on the Technology team at Flatiron School?

I love working on a team who’s one goal is to positively impact every other team, department, and group (especially students) company wide. The technology team’s willingness to help and knowledge share radiates outward in the accomplishments that occur everyday.

People often talk about the gender parity in tech and how there are not enough women in tech. How is Flatiron School bridging the gap?

I have been with Flatiron as a student, turned instructor, and now engineer. In any role I have held at this company, I have always felt the celebration of women and their achievements. It’s not something that is talked about, but instead truly demonstrated in the everyday.

Who is your female-identifying hero?

My mom ❤

Liz Kalina, Engineer

What is your favorite snack(s)?

Frozen blueberries, Teddy Grahams, Seltzer

What do you like about working on the Technology team at Flatiron School?

Everyone loves to learn!

People often talk about the gender parity in tech and how there are not enough women in tech. How is Flatiron School bridging the gap?

Women are well-represented in Flatiron’s student body as well as on the technology team, which makes it feel like a safe space where women are valued.

Who is your female-identifying hero?

Pauli Murray

What does working at Flatiron School mean to you?

To me, working at Flatiron School means working on a product that I believe in and feeling supported along the way.

Crystal Chang, Engineer

What is your favorite snack(s)?

Oreos, Sour Patch watermelons

What do you like about working on the Technology team at Flatiron School?

The team is incredibly supportive and there are endless opportunities to learn new things. Flatiron School puts a lot of emphasis on both personal and professional growth. The Technology team is full of hilarious and awesome people, which makes the day to day of being at work that much more awesome.

People often talk about the gender parity in tech and how there are not enough women in tech. How is Flatiron School bridging the gap?

Flatiron School has tried to help women see programming as a viable career through outreach and also gives scholarships to make the opportunity a reality for women. Internally, those in charge of technical recruitment have always been very responsive to any feedback about the gender parity on the Technology team.

Niky Morgan, Engineer

What is your favorite snack(s)?

Violet Crumbles or chocolate-covered gummi bears

What do you like about working on the Technology team at Flatiron School?

It is an egoless culture of learning-driven developers. I can work at being my best while knowing that everyone else is doing the same instead of git blaming me.

Who is your female-identifying hero?

Songbird

What does working at Flatiron School mean to you?

It means I get to work with my friends every day at a place that changed my life.


Thanks for reading! Want to work with these incredible ladies? We’re hiring!


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