I believe the people who are writing code are writing the future. From the Internet to the blockchain, the men and women who build the software that runs our lives are defining the world we live in, both today and tomorrow. And that’s why I’ve been working for more than 15 years to tell their stories.
I’ll admit when I first started working in tech I was really overwhelmed. I’d gone to journalism school and knew I wanted to work in an industry that was fast-moving and lucrative. Tech was definitely that. But it was also confusing. What is 3G? And why are all my colleagues coloring their teeth blue to promote this thing called Bluetooth? Instead of giving up because I didn’t understand, I doubled down and started asking questions. And soon afterwards I was translating these complex ideas into stories the rest of the world could understand, helping to drive adoption of new technologies and bring important attention to projects that needed funding.
Somewhere along the way, though, I realized that none of the stories I was telling had lead female characters and often no female characters at all. While I was inspired by the men I was meeting and telling stories about, I knew that was literally only half the story.
And then last summer, as the volume on the women in tech narrative was getting louder and louder, I was feeling compelled to find a way to contribute to what was becoming an increasingly complex dialog. Add to that the data that came out earlier this year that told us women are actually choosing to leave tech, and I knew I had to act. There is so much at stake.
So after 12 years at The Linux Foundation producing work like the Who Writes Linux storytelling campaign and seeding stories by bringing kids together with idol Linux creator Linus Torvalds, I started two companies – one focused on PR / consulting and the other on video/film production.This has allowed me the time and space to surface the stories about women in tech, stories that could advance the narrative and potentially help recruit and retain amazing female talent.
Fast forward to just last week and my film/video production company Wicked Flicks released the trailer for The Chasing Grace Project. It’s a documentary series of six episodes about women in tech. Each episode will focus on a different topic within the women in tech narrative. From the pay gap to female entrepreneurship and the role of male allies, the series will showcase women’s stories and illustrate how we pave the way forward.
There is a place in tech for all of us - both men and women from different backgrounds and with different experiences. For me, it’s been as a storyteller. For some of us it’s managing communities and projects. And for others, it’s writing the code that will define the future. Being a woman in tech means that we never stop being curious and asking questions or challenging the status quo. And most of all, for me, it means giving everyone a role in the story.