Conversations #69: Jodi Loar, Molly Devine, Kelly Braud – The Impact of WWCode

Conversations #69: Jodi Loar, Molly Devine, Kelly Braud – The Impact of WWCode

Written by WWCode HQ


Women Who Code Conversations 69     |     SpotifyiTunesGoogleYouTubeText

Kelly Braud, Partnerships Development Manager, Jodi Loar, Senior User Happiness Manager and Job Board Product Owner, and Molly Divine, Individual Giving Manager, all at Women Who Code, sit down to discuss the relationships between partners, job board supporters, donors, and members. They discuss how everyone can keep contributing to moving the Women Who Code mission forward.

KB: As the Partnership Development Manager, I work with our partners to develop relationships that help to establish ways for them to support our community as well as to educate them on some of the obstacles that our members face in our wonderful world of technology.

JL: I oversee the job board, both from the applicant side and the companies who choose to post with us. And user happiness is pretty much what it sounds like. My job is to try to keep our community happy and ensure that it’s a great experience for anybody who visits our website or is a part of our community.

MD: I work to build strong relationships with people interested in actively supporting the Women Who Code mission. It’s important to give those people the tools, resources, and means to impact our community that fits their goals for the outcomes they’d like to see in moving our mission forward.

KB: Many of the partners and organizations we work with lend their gifts to our mission. We can offer opportunities to our community through their job board postings. We also have digital events that offer on-demand content to our community. Participation in our conferences and technical track summits provides wonderful and rich information for our members. Our community campaigns interview people who have transcended those glass ceilings to inspire and empower our community. They let them know that it’s important to keep track, apply for different positions, and continue your career in technology. A lot of our job board supporters often post jobs.

JL: Our job board was created by engineers, and they were able to give feedback as to what it was that they were looking for. We estimate that engineers spend about 1.5 seconds looking at a job board when scrolling down. It needs to be concise and to the point, not too wordy. Engineers are busy people, and we like to relay that to companies who want to post with us. We also feel that when a company reaches out to us, they want to be aligned with our mission. They’re saying they support Women Who Code. We want more women. It’s a great opportunity to educate them because we know they’re open. That style of posting a job is a little different. It’s not what you see on a big gigantic job board, but what our company is looking for.

MD: One of the fantastic things about our organization is that Women Who Code is 100% free membership. Our CEO, Alaina Percival, said that we’re an organization committed to accessibility. Because of this, we keep our membership 100% free so that financials are not a barrier to success. We rely on the generosity of donors to help keep that membership free. Twenty-seven dollars is how much it takes to keep the Women Who Code membership free for one member for a whole year. That’s the equivalent of five grande pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks. That amount of money assures that our members have access to the tools, resources, and programming to help them succeed in their tech careers and to retain the 50% of women most likely to leave their jobs in tech. We know that when we can retain a woman in the tech industry, her lifetime earnings increase by 1.7 million. Donors committing to $27 a month are providing these resources for 12 women or historically excluded people a year, allowing them to succeed, thrive, and grow and then to go on and support other women in that regard.

KB: It sounds like some of the benefits of partnering with different organizations is that it allows them to engage with our community. It allows us to be exposed to their company cultures and what it’s like to work inside those organizations. That benefits us not only through the free membership but also through our free access to the programming and the wonderful on-demand content they provide for us. With each of these companies, what is it like regarding their commitment to getting an equitable tech industry, and how can those practices affect us all as women in tech in our community?

JL: It’s very clear that when a company reaches out to Women Who Code, they know who our community is. They’re coming to us because they want to have access to our 320,000 members in tech. It’s been incredible watching the shift from when our job board was first launched in 2016. We had people here and there saying, “Oh, we don’t have a lot of women on our team. Maybe we should have some more women.” To what it is now, people are reaching out to us, saying, “The women on our team are so beneficial, we want more.” Instead of it being the way that it was where they noticed the inequities, they’re noticing how much women contribute to their teams. That’s been a really big shift, and it’s nice to talk to companies and see their dedication and how important it is for our members to know that they are aligned with our mission.

KB: Through our partnership development program, our partners can join our mission and help create solutions for our community. It allows them to show up to be part of the change along with us. Many of our partners and our relationships with those companies have provided excellent opportunities for our members to be included with a seat at the table. It has ensured they’re empowered in the workforce when looking at different positions or organizations they’d like to be a part of. We can increase that engagement and show our community the DE&I intentions that our partners have and bring to the table. I think you probably see this as well, Molly, through donations. Can you talk about that as well?

MD: I had a donor who commented that they chose to give to Women Who Code because they thought they were a part of the problem. At one point, they thought that they were a diverse and equitable industry. They realized it was a boys’ club, and unconsciously, they contributed to that. They wanted to change, recognizing that so many smart, inspiring, and powerful women and people of diversity are out there that could contribute to their organization. In terms of donations, the people contributing are people who believe in the mission. They’re people that our mission has directly impacted. We’ve been lucky to acquire this great diverse board with board members and advisors who not only support our community but represent our community in terms of who they are and what they look like. We have a great set of diversity within our board members that are pushing the mission forward because not only do they believe in it, but they’re a part of it.

Last year we were lucky to have a $100,000 donation come in through Art Block, celebrating their first year as an organization. They donated $100,000 and allowed our members and donors to have their gift matched through that $100,000 gift. Moving forward into this year, we have another donor, Craig Newmark, who’s made it one of his passion projects to come forward and say women are so essential to this industry. He put forward a $75,000 gift and said that anyone who donates through our end-of-year giving campaign would also have that donation matched. People that recognize the need are putting their money where their mouth is right and coming forward and saying. I will be a part of the solution because I know its importance.

KB: That’s a great way to show support. It does show that people do understand what our mission is. I also want to learn more about how our job board encourages our members to apply. What do some of those hiring processes look like? What does that mean when we’re explaining to partners, this is some of the information that our technologists want to see. What would some of those things be, Jody?

JL: If you look at our job board and what a post looks like, it’s very short and very to the point. We like to tell companies that keeping it concise is the most important thing. A very important statistic is that women are very likely to talk themselves out of applying for a job if they do not consider themselves experts in every field listed. That is different for men. If you are a company hiring a Python developer, but it would be great if they also knew Rails, JavaScript, and WordPress, you’re looking for a Python developer. Those other things are nice to have but talk to applicants about them during the hiring and interview process.

You never know how willing somebody might be to learn those things while on the job. That’s a very important thing we like to impart to our companies. Additionally, for our members, because there is that statistic about talking themselves out of applying, we like to say, apply anyway. You see a job there and say to yourself, Maybe I’m not 100% skilled in everything on there. That might not be what the company’s intention is. Maybe they’re not looking for somebody skilled in all of these things. They don’t realize what listing these stack items might be doing to potential applicants. Apply anyway. You never know if your unique skill set might be exactly what a company is looking for, even if it’s not what it says on that particular job post. We’ve had incredible success with our members finding jobs. Touch Lab hired a project manager who has now worked her way up to a senior project manager from the Women Who Code Community. At our last Connect conference, Fidelity hired two to three engineers from attendees alone. It’s an incredibly valuable resource that’s there for our members. It’s free. It’s for you. These companies are looking for you.

KB: Speaking of communities, many of the relationships we’ve developed are a good way for us to build trust from our members through these communities and these companies. Sometimes we may not only doubt ourselves if we’re qualified but maybe doubt if this is a good place or a healthy place for us to work. As women, knowing that there may be things that are more encouraged at other companies than some. The relationships that we build trust with our companies through our community. They let us know what their interests are for our community members. It’s important to build trust, to build that relationship. It gives us long-term sustainability with each of our partners, where we’re moving them from being just a conference sponsor to a year-long partnership to a multi-year partnership, as we have with some of our founding sponsors and partners. VMware who’s been a long-standing founding partner and supporter of Women Who Code. I think that also lends itself to some of our donors and members who have become donors. Molly, do you have any information for us about that?

MD: I love what you both had to share and to go back to that application anyway. That’s such a fantastic thing to remind people. There have been times when I’ve told myself, “No, you don’t have the right skills, or maybe you’re not in the right space.” I’ve gone forward, and I’ve applied anyway. We have had some fantastic donors or members who have transitioned into those great careers through the resources they’ve had through Women Who Code. One of the great things we know is that when women work, they invest 90% of their salaries back into their community and their families. We’ve seen that through our donor stories of women who were able to transition into careers in tech through scholarships to boot camps that they received through Women Who Code.

We know empowered women. They’re going to empower. There was a woman, who was named Shannon. Shannon came to Women Who Code and said that Women Who Code was instrumental in launching her career in tech and getting her to where she is today. She said that no one achieves success on her own. We know that to be true. Everyone gets to where they are. Through someone else’s help, people lift, support, and empower them. Now she’s so well established in her career that she can afford to take a percentage of her salary and sponsor someone else’s education. They can have the success she saw and keep moving and building.

Another one of our donors said she received a partial scholarship to a boot camp through our organization. She said it allowed her to keep learning in her field, accelerate, move into a developer position, and continue upscaling her career. Those stories are great success stories of standing on the backs of those who came before you and supporting those who helped support you. That’s a wonderful thing. That’s a really special thing about our community. They are growing, but they also remember where they came from and support those who come after them.

KB: Some of the other ways as members in such a large community that we can all participate is by using all of the resources from our community and our relationships and partnerships with organizations. It justifies our work when we can all participate and have resources that catapult our careers to where we want them to be. Uploading your resume database to our database is essential, ensuring that when great opportunities come along that maybe you haven’t even seen for yourself, you may get that phone call where someone has seen your resume and is reaching out to offer you a position of a lifetime. Also, it will help you to further communicate with our members and donate your time and successes as an inspiration for the next members who come up behind you.

We have programming, resources, scholarships, and major events like our connect conferences and summits. Your participation is vital to moving our mission forward and ensuring that everyone who’s here as a member today and our future members have a brighter and easier trail to walk to be bigger participants in this technology industry. Remember that visiting different booths from our partners at our Connect conferences and our track summits give you an awesome way to meet people who work for those organizations. They can answer any questions and encourage you to find your dream job. It’s good to also move from being a member to a donor, from a mentee to a mentor, and provide that experience you’ve gained to someone coming up behind you.

MD: I think Kelly said it perfectly, share those stories about how you’ve been impacted. There are so many ways that you can get involved. Whether it’s through sharing about the impact and posting on your social or being a volunteer or a donor. We want you to be involved, access the resources, and build the community. I encourage you to look for more information about Giving Tuesday. We’ve got a $75,000 match gift kicking off through Craig Newmark. He was generous enough to donate that money, so anyone who donates to Women Who Code through our end-of-year giving that donation will be matched up to that $75,000 threshold.

JL: If you are looking to elevate yourself, if you’re looking for a different opportunity, check out our job board, apply, apply, apply. Don’t sell yourself short. Your next amazing dream job could be right around the corner. If you work for an amazing company and want to align yourself with our mission, reach out to us, become a posting company, and let other members know how amazing you are and give them the same opportunity.