What do you do?
I am both a successful senior member of the engineering team at a Silicon Valley payments company that processes billions of dollars in financial transactions per year, and the Founder of DevelopHer, a technology platform that is working to bridge the gender pay and position gap for professional women in tech.
In my career role, I am the architect, builder, and owner of not only the company’s voice payment system and messaging technology capabilities, but also own all of application security. The breadth and importance of these senior engineering roles mean that I work with senior leaders across multiple disciplines to deliver high-quality payment products.
I have pivoted into increasingly challenging projects and now have dual responsibilities in voice applications and application security. This is a notable accomplishment since only 1 in 5 engineers and only 1 in 11 applications security professionals are women.
I have been recognized with many professional awards and received distinguished recognition for my engineering work. I have won several high-profile hackathons, including SXSW two years in a row, and my work has been featured in several Apple iOS Keynotes alongside apps like Facebook and Twitter, and I was one of 100 top thought-leaders and innovators invited to attend the UK G8 Innovation and Decide Now Act Summits alongside prominent technology leaders.
My leadership and influence are also showcased through my role as Founder of DevelopHer, a national, award-winning, career development technology platform that inspires and empowers women to advocate for themselves to break glass ceilings and bridge the gender wage gap.
With DevelopHer, I am not only the Founder but also the Architect for the technology platform that powers DevelopHer. I not only created the vision for the technology platform, but also remain hands-on, securing, and leading an internationally distributed engineering team to build, manage, and scale the technology platform. I continue to lead the growth and development of the platform and plan to improve on this already effective scalability and reach.
The scalability has provided a repeatable and affordable platform for women in tech to gain knowledge and specific tools to empower them to realize their value and potential, take personal responsibility for their career growth and reach higher to create their own success.
My creation has seen early success, and after only two years, has reached an international audience. My corporate clients include top tech companies like Google, Dell, Intuit, Armor, and more. I have also achieved success in higher education with high-profile partners such as Duke University, Indiana Univerity, Texas A&M University, and more.
The most amazing accomplishment is that I have grown the DevelopHer technology platform to have an international presence and has influenced thousands of women in tech, all while working full-time on the frontlines of tech as a successful software and application security engineer myself.
As an every-woman who has overcome gender pay discrimination and climbed the ranks in tech, I lead by example. I relate to other women and pull women up by remaining a successful, technical, hands-on expert, and showing others they have a kindred spirit for inspiration.
In addition to the recognition I have received for my professional engineering work, I have received many accolades and honors relating to DevelopHer’s technology platform. I was invited to meet with the United Nations in New York City and Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss bridging the global gender divide in technology and was prominently featured in the prestigious IEEE Women in Engineering Magazine in December 2018.
Why did you choose this field?
My STEM journey began with a push when I was a young girl. My parents were my push. Upon the insistence of friends whose son was enrolled at MIT, and daughter at Duke University, studying STEM, they enrolled me in a computer science class. I was resistant, and when class began, I detested the decision. I was in a classroom with senior boys who coded for fun. I learned to ignore the boys and embrace coding. This immersion helped me turn the corner and see possibilities I hadn’t previously considered.
The push inspired me to succeed in a male-dominated field, to make a mark, and help blaze a path for young women who would follow. My love and dedication to STEM and understanding the journey begins at an early age are key elements I rely on to fuel my dedication.
My passion, experiences, and challenges as a woman in STEM, my continued learning and self-improvement, and my ultimate success prompted me to help other women.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
My crowning achievement has been to distill the essence of how to overcome pay disparity into a repeatable and scalable framework for other women to follow and advance their careers and lives.
I realized through my experiences that it is not enough to work harder; we also need to work smarter. It was difficult to learn a male peer was hired at 50% more than me, with less experience. I reached out to peers, teachers, and mentors to learn as much as I could about success, career development, and negotiation. I learned quickly and achieved far more than I ever dreamed at the time.
Why do you love working in STEM?
I love the fact that I can build something from nothing with skills the majority of the people in this world do not have.
Coding is a very technical profession where you can’t just wake up one day and write code. A person needs to train over a number of years to be a true expert as the knowledge compounds over time.
I am naturally very technical, but I have worked very hard at building my skills, expertise, and reputation in this field to become the valued technical voice in the room.
Best advice for next generation?
Young women should chart their own paths and create the change they want. Whenever I have faced challenges and realized a change was needed, I did not wait for others to bring me that change. Instead, I became the change I wanted. This has been repeated throughout my life and career and is core to the DevelopHer message.
I challenge professional women to lead at all levels by sharing their experiences with others and mentoring others at every level of their journey. These conversations will create and foster a community of professionals that will provide support to all women on their journeys and ultimately break down barriers to success.
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
“I'm unstoppable not because I don't have failures or doubts, but because I continue forward despite them!”