Inspiring the next generation of women in tech

On December 15, 2020, Devbridge, Salesforce, Google, and Facebook participated in StepUp's, So You Want to Work in Tech, virtual event. StepUp partners with professional women to inspire teen girls through their mentorship programs. The event included a panel discussion with female tech leaders and a speed networking session. To help provide a sense of life working in tech, mentors facilitated a mock workshop with mentees to build a fictional product. Following the workshop, a mentee from each breakout session presented their app ideas back to all attendants. Having facilitated workshops and participated in the event, the following are some insights captured from Devbridge’s female leaders.

"While it may be a cliché to say mentors learn just as much as mentees, I found the young women inspirational in their intellectual prowess and their fresh approach to the problem. Today’s young women will challenge technology employers to change their outlook on what makes a career 'rewarding. 

The women in my group were focused on using technology to bridge cultural and economic barriers for broader markets and a combination of business and societal outcomes. To me, customization feels like a luxury, but to the women in my group, customization was about inclusion and building technology to work for a diverse user base. They discussed diversity in terms of traditional definitions of diversity like gender, sexuality, and age, along with emerging definitions like neuro-diversity, family structures, and urban/rural." 

- Clare Dussman, Product Manager

"Despite the challenges that 2020 has brought each of us, it's also brought renewed focus on the importance of community and expanded the reach each of us can have through normalizing distributed virtual events as the primary format for bringing large groups together. The StepUp mentoring event was a wonderful way to round out end of year virtual events by giving back. 

I’m impressed by the initiative demonstrated by each of the young women who participated in the event through their thoughtful questions and active participation in the workshop.  Kudos to the organizers and panelists on creating an atmosphere for learning, networking, and collaboration. 

Events like this create a safe space for women to speak up, ask questions, and gain access to the growing community of women professionals in tech.  I believe these platforms are important to ensure that we encourage a diverse pool of candidates to seek jobs in technology by sharing stories of successful leaders and making ourselves accessible to those just beginning their professional journeys."

- Laura Graves, Managing Director

"Most of us, mentors and mentees alike, journey to the tech space via non-linear paths with adjacent skills and headspaces abound. Given that tech strives to be as naturally inclusive and fitting to all humans, there are no barriers to entry. There are so many bright and unconventionally creative women out there who I hope find their way into our space. 

As one of the wise panelists noted, adaptability is just about the only constant in the tech world. At times, needing to be constantly adaptive presents challenges. These challenges need not halt but merely offer opportunities for framing shifts. 

While many of us have had to unlearn, re-learn, and shift our mindsets to think more inclusively, the young women we interacted with carried these virtues instinctually. I hold great hope for this world knowing these young women are shifting their focus to tech. We are ready to welcome them and the others beside them." 

- Sarah Santi, Product Design Manager