October 24th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Women in Technology: What should you look for in your next job?

By CEO and Founder of theglasshammer.com Nicki Gilmour

iStock_000014657648XSmallWhether you work as an engineer or a coder, a big data analyst, product manager, or a project manager in technology, you probably want to work for a great company who values both the technology itself and the women who make it happen.

For women who are looking to make a move to a new employer, you have choices that on a binary level break down into either working for a technology firm with technology as the product or working for a firm who has a different product or service but frankly has exhilarating technology making it all work behind the scenes.

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October 23rd, 2014 | 6:00 am

Intrepid Woman: Kimberly Bryant, Founder, Black Girls CODE

Welcome to The Glass Hammer’s “Women in Tech” month! We will be celebrating successful women in technology all month long!

By Cathie Ericson

Professional Headshot_CompressedKimberly Bryant, tech founder of Black Girls CODE, wasn’t looking to start a non-profit, but realized the need was too great not to. After a series of engineering management roles at various companies early in her career, she left for the opportunity to do something on her own outside of Fortune 500.

Ideally, she had hoped to combine her focus on the health industry with her interest in the start-up field. As she networked with that goal in mind, she became more aware of the lack of women in the science, technology, engineering and math professions – and more than that, the even greater dearth of people of color in the startup space.

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October 22nd, 2014 | 6:00 am

Movers and Shakers: Justine Chen, Senior Manager, SunGard Consulting Services

Welcome to The Glass Hammer’s “Women in Tech” month! We will be celebrating successful women in technology all month long!

By Michelle Hendelman

Chen-LowResJustine Chen, senior manager at SunGard Consulting Services is deeply committed to getting more women interested in technology careers. Through her current role, Chen participates in a lot of community outreach and as a result, she took a particular interest in the organization, Girl Develop It, which offers courses for women who want to learn technical skills.

“I made a connection at GDI who introduced me to the film, Girl Rising, a documentary about the education of girls in several developing countries,” explained Chen, who organized screenings of the film at many SunGard offices in honor of International Women’s Day.

“This collaboration has been so rewarding and it is an empowering feeling to be involved with spreading a positive message about technology to young women and girls across the globe,” Chen said.

Career Path
Chen grew up in Taiwan and moved to Canada after high school. She explained that in Taiwan the education system requires students entering senior high school to declare an area of study. Chen had always been drawn to logic and problem solving, so naturally these interests pointed her in the direction of engineering. “This was the first step toward my career in technology,” said Chen, who continued to study engineering when she was at university in Canada.

After graduating from college, Chen accepted a position at a traditional engineering consulting firm working on a system that would commission commuter ferries in Washington. While Chen enjoyed this experience, she sought a role that would give her the opportunity to interact more with the public as opposed to focusing so much on back end developing.

“This put me at a crossroads early on in my career where I had to decide to pursue opportunities on the East coast or stay on the West coast. Ultimately, I was drawn to the East coast and started working as a java developer for a search company right as the internet was becoming extremely popular,” Chen explained.

As a result of the increasing popularity of the web, companies were looking to design more interactive and dynamic websites. Chen, who found herself in the right place at the right time, was asked if she wanted to learn the programming languages that were emerging at the time. “I entered that field and I have been working on web technologies ever since,” Chen noted.

According to Chen, the changes within the web technologies field that have taken place over the last few years have created such a dynamic environment offering opportunities for people from all walks of life. In the past, she explained, web technologies primarily attracted computer science majors. Now, more and more people entering the field are self-taught programmers and developers who are bringing an entirely different skill set to the table.

Selected as SunGard’s rising star for the Women’s Bond Club in2013, Chen continues to make significant contributions in her current role as a senior manager at SunGard Consulting Services. “In addition to my daily responsibilities, I am working on a new business solution through SunGard Consulting Services solution proposal competition held each year that encourages us to think outside the box,” said Chen.

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October 21st, 2014 | 6:00 am

Movers and Shakers: Adda Birnir, Founder and CEO, Skillcrush

Welcome to The Glass Hammer’s “Women in Tech” month! We will be celebrating successful women in technology all month long!

By Michelle Hendelman

rsz_130807-adda-022-2Adda Birnir is the founder and CEO of Skillcrush, an online technical skills platform designed specifically for women. According to Birnir, her career path has been unconventional, but as she looks back at all of her experiences she is certain that each role she had in the past served as a building block and learning opportunity to help her create the company of her dreams.

Navigating a Career in Technology
When Adda Birnir first had the idea for Skillcrush, she identified a hole in the marketplace and created a platform to fill the gap in an area she felt very strongly about: inspiring women to discover technical skills by developing an accessible online resource.

Before this, Birnir was working as a technical producer at MTV while running her own web development and design consulting business. “This was a great business, but I found that I wasn’t professionally fulfilled by the client work I was doing. Instead, I was craving a more hands-on experience where I could take a project through the entire life-cycle,” she explained.

Birnir graduated from college and moved to New York in order to pursue a career as a professional photographer. “I quickly learned that the reality of the profession was nothing like I had imagined,” explained Birnir, who shortly thereafter found a job working for an online publishing company. “I was lucky because my position straddled editorial and production, which gave me the opportunity to gain exposure to the technical side of the process of creating and delivering online magazines,” she said.

Here, Birnir realized that she not only had genuine interest in technology but also a natural talent that began to emerge as she spent a lot of time working closely with the web developers. “This was my first real introduction to the world of technology,” said Birnir, who started to take on small coding projects in addition to her regular tasks.

According to Birnir, sponsorship has played a critical role in her career development in technology. “I have been fortunate to have several people in the workplace take me under their wing and guide me as I developed my skills,” she noted. This is why, Birnir added, she has made mentorship such a key component of her company, Skillcrush.

“There are a lot of excellent resources out there for anyone who is interested in learning about programming and web development,” Birnir said, “but it can be confusing to navigate. This is where it is important to have someone who can interject and give you guidance along the way.”

She continued, “Through Skillcrush, we recognized a great opportunity to serve women in the technical space and offer something different than any other technical skills platform that was available at the time.”

Growing Pains: The Ups and Downs of Startups
When Birnir was initially developing Skillcrush, she decided to take a “test and learn” approach to her business. This, she explained, meant treating the company like a science experiment by creating a series of hypotheses and testing them one at a time, beginning with the riskiest.

“The riskiest part of this business model was not creating an online technical skills platform,” Birnir explained, “It was building this type of business that would attract women.”

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October 20th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Voice of Experience: Patricia Florissi, EMC Vice President and Global Chief Technology Officer, Sales

Welcome to The Glass Hammer’s “Women in Tech” month! We will be celebrating successful women in technology all month long!

By Michelle Hendelman

rsz_patricia_florissi_picture_imagePatricia Florissi, EMC Vice President and Global Chief Technology Officer, Sales, knew from a very young age that she had an affinity and a talent for math problems and logic puzzles. What she did not realize at the time is how this skill set and passion for more technical subjects would lead her toward a rewarding career in information technology.

This is because at the time, computer science had not fully been developed as a curriculum. Perhaps it was fate –or a stroke of luck –that Florissi encountered when the first computer science course was created at her university in Brazil, giving her the opportunity to enroll in the class and take the first step toward her bright future in the field.

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October 17th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Intrepid Woman: Lucy Sanders: CEO and Co-founder of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT)

By Cathie Ericson

Lucy SandersLucy Sanders’, founder of NCWIT, interest in STEM fields started early. Her father was an early adopter, and her high school math teacher encouraged her by teaching her computer programming skills. Then she saw that her sister, who had earned one of the early computer science degrees, was enjoying enormous success and decided that was the path for her.

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October 16th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Collective Wisdom: Women on Wall Street

By Melissa Anderson

iStock_000002351861XSmallLast week, Deutsche Bank held its 20th annual Women on Wall Street Conference in New York City, placing an emphasis on the benefits of collaboration. In his opening talk, Deutsche Bank’s co-CEO Jürgen Fitschen suggested that by cultivating more female leaders, the financial industry could work to prevent the next financial crisis.

“I have not the slightest doubt that if we let people do this… we will not commit the same stupid mistakes,” he said. He called on men to become more engaged in efforts toward gender equality, although, he continued, it will take some outreach by women in the industry.

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October 15th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Men Avoid Giving Feedback to Women — What You Can Do About It

Guest Contribution by Anna Carroll, MSSW

iStock_000014470764XSmallAre you sometimes confused about whether your boss thinks you are doing a good job?

Does your male boss treat you politely, but you notice he doesn’t communicate with you often?

Are you puzzled about what it takes to be promoted in your organization?

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October 14th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

By Robin Madell

iStock_000001256887XSmallOne of the toughest career decisions you’ll ever make is choosing whether to stay with your current company, or pursue a new opportunity with another organization. While on some level it’s important to “go with your gut,” you don’t want to hinge your future job direction entirely on intuition.

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October 13th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Voice of Experience: Doris Daif, Head of Digital Customer Experience, American Express

Welcome to The Glass Hammer’s “Women in Tech” month! We will be celebrating successful women in technology all month long!

By Michelle Hendelman

doris_daif_AMEXDoris Daif, Head of Digital Customer Experience at American Express, offers one important piece of advice for women. “Confidence and poise are two of your greatest assets,” she said. “When you possess these qualities, you will be able to articulate your point of view and make your voice heard.”

“You have to go through your own journeys in life to see what lies on the other side,” added Daif, “but if there is one thing I wish I knew earlier in my career, it would be how confidence is such a valuable career tool.”

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