Episode 20 – Navigating the Women in Tech Regatta with Cynthia Tee and Melody Biringer

NARRATION: I actually think that bringing
panels together, bringing forums for people to meet other people who aren’t like them
is an important part, because inclusion starts with you. (Music.) NARRATION: Microsoft Build is our ultimate
annual developer event, where the most innovative minds in tech meet to get inspired, create
tomorrow, and code the future. The conference will take place from May 7th
through the 9th at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, Washington. Programming will focus on artificial intelligence,
machine learning, mixed reality, cloud, data, and other emerging concepts. For more information about the event or to
register, head to Microsoft.com/Build. (Music.) NARRATION: You are listening to the Women
in Business and Technology podcast from Microsoft. In each episode, you will hear from women
in amazing technology and business roles, as well as male allies who are helping make
the industries more inclusive, and bringing you tips on how to build a successful career
in a supportive community. Welcome to Women in Business and Technology. (Music.) COLLEEN O’BRIEN: Welcome to Episode 20 of
Women in Business and Technology, I’m Colleen O’Brien. SONIA DARA: And I’m Sonia Dara. COLLEEN O’BRIEN: And we are recording on site
at the Women in Tech Regatta. This is the second annual WiT Regatta, and
it’s a week-long gathering to connect women in tech to mentors, peers, and resources. So you can imagine that we are having a great
time here. SONIA DARA: So we’re here recording at The
Collective, which is a brand new urban clubhouse that just opened up in the heart of South
Lake Union, which is actually the tech neighborhood here in Seattle. So right down the street is Facebook, Amazon,
we have a Microsoft office nearby, Snapchat — just very tech-centric area, so perfect
fit for the event tonight. So The Collective is a great clubhouse where
you can come eat, drink, chill, you can network with people, or there is even a bouldering
wall if you wanted to get in some fitness. COLLEEN O’BRIEN: And Sonia and I are incredibly
honored to be joined her by connection engineer, startup junkie, and the creator of the WIT
Regatta, Melody Biringer. Melody, welcome. MELODY BIRINGER: Thank you. This is so fun. COLLEEN O’BRIEN: I know that you are the creator
of this event. Why did you decide to make it happen? MELODY BIRINGER: Well, I was on the board
of Women in Tech, a nonprofit in Seattle, about five years ago. And for the last 20 years, I’ve been supporting
women entrepreneurs, but I’ve been hanging out on the Women in Tech board just kind of
seeing the ecosystem, what’s going on in Seattle with Women in Tech, and I was just fascinated. And in the last couple years, we as a board
were kind of studying how many nonprofits were popping up in the Seattle area alone,
and we started adding them up and we found that there were 66. And I said, “Oh, my goodness, we need to have
a resource reception and get all of these people together.” Some of them are national organizations, and
some of them are local. And let’s just have a big party and show everybody,
you know, what we have to offer as a city. So last year, we did the first one. And we had 700 people come and so much community
support. And it was just one evening, so I’ve been
working on this for a year. And I decided to blow it out and make it a
whole week. We have 37 events going on this week, and
it’s just — to me, it’s just this amazing experience. Like you said, I’m a connection engineer,
so I love trying to figure out how to bring groups of people together and have them connect. And I really saw a need for Women in Tech,
most techies are introverts. And so they need somebody like me to say,
“Hey, I’m going to bring you together and figure out how to get you seen and heard.” COLLEEN O’BRIEN: Can you tell me about the
theme or the slogan for this week? MELODY BIRINGER: So the hashtag is “relationships
are the true currency.” And I just really want to emphasize that everybody
that comes to the Women in Tech Regatta, the WiT Regatta as we call it, I want them to
be seen and heard. So this is not a keynote event, this is a
boutique event. And so everything we do is very intimate. Even though we have over 1,000 people coming,
all of our workshops are like 50 to 100 people and we break everybody up in groups of four
and five, and we ask them some vulnerable questions for them to get to know each other
so they can really create those true relationships. It’s my goal that if they walk out of here
with one friend after the week, I’ve succeeded, and it can be a friend, friend-friend, or
it could be a colleague, you know, a new business relationship. COLLEEN O’BRIEN: Melody, I’m so excited that
you had this big idea, and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the week. MELODY BIRINGER: We’re so excited to have
you here. COLLEEN O’BRIEN: Thank you for putting so
much time and energy and passion into this event. MELODY BIRINGER: You’re welcome, thank you. SONIA DARA: All right, listeners, we’re going
to go check out the networking event right now, but let’s move on to the interview. (Music.) NARRATION: Community Connect, get involved
and stay connected. COLLEEN O’BRIEN: At the opening reception
resource fair, I spoke with Fetiya Ibrahim, a systems stress engineer at Boeing, and the
secretary of the professionals chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers here
in Seattle. Fetiya brought me up to speed on the history
and the mission of the organization. FETIYA IBRAHIM: The National Society of Black
Engineers was an organization that was started by some students — undergrad students at
Purdue in the 1960s, and basically it was put together to help the retention of black
engineers, because 80 percent of black students who went into engineering major dropped out
before they graduated. And so there was a need for some sort of support
system to help students graduate from schools, and so the National Society of Black Engineers
started as a collegiate organization. And over the years, it grew so big that they
actually — it became not only a collegiate organization, it extends to pre-college students
and also people who’ve left college and are now in the professional fields. The mission statement of the National Society
of Black Engineers is, “To increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers
who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community.” COLLEEN O’BRIEN: The professional chapter
of the National Society of Black Engineers — or NSBE — recently formed in Seattle in
response to the growing community of engineering students graduating from local colleges. Fetiya explain that NSBE decided to partner
with the Women in Tech Regatta to raise awareness amongst the local community of tech professionals
and more tenured organizations. FETIYA IBRAHIM: So we said, hey, you know,
the Women in Tech Regatta is a huge event, hundreds of people, it’s a great way to get
our name out there, it’s a great way to connect with other groups and see how we could maybe
work with them, you know, align our different programs maybe, and just leverage the different,
you know, the different talents out there. COLLEEN O’BRIEN: While the professional chapter
of NSBE is new in town, Fatiya has a clear vision of what success looks like for the
organization. FETIYA IBRAHIM: Success would be the word
“engineer” being a common word in the community of color. There’s not a lot of people of color who are
actually pursuing engineering degrees for one reason or another. But I feel like success would be like any
household you go to, you talk engineer, everyone knows what it is. It’s not just, “Oh, engineers, what? Build buildings? What do you do?” So once that everyone understands like what
an engineer does and everyone feels like it’s something that they can do, I think that would
be a huge success for the organization. It’s basically like making people see that
this is something that is an option for them. COLLEEN O’BRIEN: Fatiya outlined a few ways
that allies can support NSBE. FETIYA IBRAHIM: One way is to help when we
do outreach events, for example, like at UW or high schools or middle schools, volunteering
to talk about engineering with those students, because we mainly focus on underrepresented
minorities and students that don’t really get that type of outreach. And letting them know that, hey, this is what
it actually is, and making them aware. Another way is to spread the word. Like if you know someone that’s struggling,
maybe they feel lonely and they want — they’re, like, “I don’t know anyone who looks like
me,” and you’ve heard of this organization, then link them up. Be, like, “Hey, I know there’s a National
Society of Black Engineers, I heard they’re a cool organization, they’re a big family,
you know, I think it would be something you’d like.” So spreading the word, volunteering, and if
you can, even, supporting it financially if you can. COLLEEN O’BRIEN: Fatiya explained that if
you’re hiring for a job, NSBE is the first community you should consult to identify great
candidates. FETIYA IBRAHIM: Our chapter on campus at the
University of Washington has actually gotten so big that we’ve gotten so many companies
reach out to us and say, “Hey, we’re recruiting, can we come in and talk to your students?” And it’s been a great resource. We’ve gotten like 30 people got internships
and jobs and it was like a record high that we’ve had in the history of what we know at
least at UW. We’re working on trying to make the professionals
chapter also a good resource for recruiters to come out and maybe look for professionals
to hire, and even executive positions because that’s our goal as a professionals chapter,
too, is try to get, like, okay, we graduated from college, now let’s try and get our professionals
up to those higher positions in these companies. Come if you need anyone, if you need to recruit,
it’s a great, great group of people. COLLEEN O’BRIEN: To find a local chapter of
the National Society of Black Engineers and to learn more about future events and volunteering
opportunities, visit NSBE.org. (Music.) SONIA DARA: I’m thrilled to welcome Women
in Tech Regatta advisory board member Cynthia Tee to our show today. Cynthia, thank you so much for joining us. We’re very excited for you to make the time
to connect with us on this very, very busy week. So, Cynthia, what does your role as an advisory
board member for WiT Regatta actually entail? CYNTHIA TEE: So I started weren’t with Melody
Biringer, who’s the founder of the WiT Regatta, last year actually in April when she put this
event together for one evening. And my role has primarily been to really help
her bring a diverse set of women and men together for her panels around leadership and mentorship,
around tech topics, and around inclusion. And also just volunteer in general to help
the event be successful. SONIA DARA: What attracted you to the organization
in the first place? Like, how did you actually get to meet her
last year? CYNTHIA TEE: Last year, there was an organization
in Seattle, actually, called Women in Tech that, for a couple of years, basically founded
by Britta Jacobs and Martina Welkhoff, did these quarterly panels that brought women
together and allowed them to build relationships. So from that particular organization, they
thought of this one-night event of panels, and they brought Melody in to basically orchestrate
it, and she basically took just basically a very simple concept that both Britta and
Martina had and just transitioned it into a wonderful Regatta event that evening. And so I was part of the Women in Tech organization
at the time and met Melody and got very excited because I really believe that having a network
is super important, as a woman in tech and as somebody underrepresented. And I think I very much believe in her motto
that relationship is true currency. I think that is super important, and it’s
what helps us thrive, be successful, and be supported in this industry. And so I really wanted to help make that event
a success. SONIA DARA: So if it’s not obvious to our
listeners already, the concept of inclusion is a major theme in your life. CYNTHIA TEE: Yeah. SONIA DARA: It became a “tent pole” of your
career as well when you became the executive director of Ada Developers Academy in 2015. So, for our listeners, Ada Developers Academy
is a training program here in Seattle, Washington, for women and gender-diverse people who want
to become software developers. Can you tell our listeners a little bit more
about Ada Developers Academy and what that work meant for you? CYNTHIA TEE: So I was the executive director
for Ada for two and a half years. I left that position six months ago, Nicole
Buchanan is now the executive director. Ada is a tuition-free, fully full-time, immersive
program to take those without any formal computer science or programming training and turn them
into software developers, entry-level software developers by the end of that year. It is a six-month classroom experience combined
with a five-month internship program. The graduates basically come out with an average
salary of $95,000 a year. SONIA DARA: That’s awesome. CYNTHIA TEE: I think the key thing about it
is it provides access to a career that has traditionally been completely inaccessible
to people. College is expensive, people can’t afford
it, there are a lot of smart, capable people who just have no role models, have never been
encouraged to go down this path, did not have the training opportunities. And when they do have the training opportunities,
feel like they’re already behind because they don’t have the machines, they don’t have the
financial means to get exposed to it early on. So Ada tries to address that and does address
it. We have a pretty high job placement rate for
all our graduates, and there’s a whole lot of companies in Seattle. I’m very thankful that the industry in Seattle
is so supportive of this program, and more and more sponsors, including big corporations
like Amazon and Microsoft and Google support the program. SONIA DARA: Cynthia, you have a master’s,
as we mentioned, in computer science from MIT, but at Ada you were leading an organization
where applicants had almost no experience with software development, as you mentioned. So they are graduating into industry roles. What does it take to be successful in the
technology industry today, and what would you say to other graduates who are entering
without that experience? CYNTHIA TEE: I would say to be successful
today, you definitely need the training to be able to program. I feel like programming is just part of a
toolbox of solutions you need to solve problems today. It can definitely be vocationally trained,
as I would say, meaning you don’t necessarily need a formal degree in computer science. But I think to be successful today, you need
a more well-rounded understanding of the full context of the problem you’re trying to solve. If you build software that you expect everybody
around the world to use, you better understand the backgrounds of people around the world
and how they’re about to use your technology, the issues that are very specific with different
countries, with people from different religions, people of different race, people of different
financial backgrounds. If you want software to be integrated in their
lives, you need to be able to understand that. One person cannot understand all those things. And, therefore, you need a team that is diverse
enough to contribute to that. And so I think if you bring together people
from different backgrounds to really understand all the issues earlier on, I’m not saying
you’d be perfect and avoid it, but you probably would have been able to preemptively see quite
a bit of it. SONIA DARA: So, Cynthia, you managed Port
2 at the Regatta this week, which is actually entirely focused on inclusive culture. CYNTHIA TEE: Yes. SONIA DARA: What was the motivation for making
inclusion such a major focus for this week-long event? CYNTHIA TEE: You know, at the time that I
started participating and volunteering for WiT, I was the executive director at Ada Developers
Academy. And I have always been a champion of diversity
and inclusion, even when I was working at Microsoft. But I actually don’t think I knew what that
meant until I started leading Ada and realized I had a lot to learn, actually, about how
to create a more inclusive space at the academy to support not only women, but gender-diverse
people, people of color, and people with disability, and people that just have so many identities
that are underrepresented today in our industry. And so as part of my journey through Ada and
wanting to really create a supportive community within the academy, I also felt like I wanted
to support and create a community for them in the industry. And, hence, my passion for participating at
a more city-wide level to promote that. I also believe inclusion is a journey for
everybody. And I think it’s not something you just do
with training. I actually think that bringing panels together,
bringing forums for people to meet other people who aren’t like them is an important part,
because inclusion starts with you as an individual. And I wanted to create the opportunity for
people as individuals to really define it for themselves by meeting other people who
are on the same journey. So that was my motivation for the single event
that was part of that April 1st regatta, and Melody’s motivation also for just taking every
single event she took that night and making it its own track. SONIA DARA: So you were talking about this
concept of inclusion in this journey. So when would you say you started your journey
for inclusion? CYNTHIA TEE: I started realizing that it was
a problem for me in college when I majored in computer science because I always felt
like the only one, and I always felt it was behind. I did not actually recognize that I could
do something about it until I started working at Microsoft. And it’s one of those things that the problem
— you look at it, and then you’re aware, it gets bigger and bigger and bigger. It’s like peeling an onion, finding several
layers, and then it took me a couple of years at Microsoft to realize truly how deep those
layers ran. And at Ada, it became really, really huge
in terms of being so multi-dimensional and complicated because so much of what is good
inclusion is really understanding all the different dimensions that people are different
and really building an environment that makes people feel heard and makes people feel like
they belong, is recognizing all these differences, and creating a safe space to accommodate them
— religion, race, gender identity expression, orientation, body size, ability like everything. It’s complicated. You know, in tech, I think we aspire to be
experts at everything. Like, I don’t know that there’s such a thing
as being an expert in this area. I think you just start the journey, you get
better, you don’t ever expect thanks for it because it is actually an obligation for the
leaders in this space to strive towards a more inclusive community. And I don’t actually think anybody does a
perfect job of it today. I don’t think there’s such a thing, you know,
maybe there is such a thing as perfect, but we’re all still trying to get there, and I
think every effort and every good positive outcome counts — at an individual level,
as well as a team level. SONIA DARA: In addition to coordinating so
many conversations throughout the week, you’ve also been contributing to the program as well. So earlier today, you were sitting on a panel
discussion titled, quote, The Right Crew: Secrets to Successful Ally-Mentee Partnership. The panel was comprised of mentee/mentor partners
in pairs, which made for some really dynamic conversation, which we loved. And you were joined by your mentee, Tahout
(ph.), and a lot of the panel discussion was focused on the work it takes to actually build
a great mentoring relationship, that there’s effort to build on a foundation of honesty. So how do you go about establishing radical
candor in your mentoring relationships? CYNTHIA TEE: I think there are a couple of
parts to it. I think that part of a mentoring relationship
is to build trust with whoever you’re mentoring, right? A mentee needs to want you to be their mentor,
and I really believe in making sure that that is established, this person actually wants
me to be there to give them guidance. I don’t believe in just giving guidance for
the sake of giving guidance to somebody. And really getting to know that person and
establishing trust with that person is super important. That allows them to feel safe to be candid
with me, and that means asking me questions that they feel safe asking me, whatever question
is on their mind, but also feeling safe being vulnerable with me. And in exchange, for me to feel that I can
be also vulnerable with them because my goal as a mentor is not to be perfect, my goal
is to be able to support somebody and give them guidance within the context of what they
need, but also to learn from them. Like, this is a two-way street for me. SONIA DARA: And later this afternoon, because
not only did you have enough on your plate, so you were involved in a couple of panels,
there’s another one that you were part of called When Women Turn on Other Women: Why
this Happens, and How to Fix it. So the panel composition was great, featuring
both women in tech, psychologists, those who could help work through the behavioral motivations
behind stories from basically the trenches. I was surprised that almost every anecdote
from that panel reference a relationship, though, that was both personal and professional. CYNTHIA TEE: Yeah. SONIA DARA: So there was a lot of, “I lost
a friend,” was uttered definitely more than once. I’m not sure if you had noticed that as well. CYNTHIA TEE: Yeah, I did. I think it gets extremely personal because
on the one hand, we’re all in this together, we all want to fight for equity, we all want
to champion women and support them, and I have to honestly say that so many relationships
I’ve had with women have mostly been positive. It’s the couple of them that are not positive
that then become that much more painful because of every — all the mission we share, and
then you have these situations happen, right? And I think that it’s really difficult for
us to be very objective. I really want to make sure that people know
that they’re not alone, that so many of us have experienced this, and I think there’s
a way we can have these conversations so that we keep each other accountable to healing
and making things better. There’s a part of me that’s like, well, why
didn’t I step up and treat that situation just like I would any other situation with
a man? Have those honest conversations, call people
on it, not be afraid to be direct. And I think, in part, you know, I did that
panel because I wanted to call myself to action. I wanted people to also validate that, yeah,
you do need to do something about it, Cynthia. SONIA DARA: Unfortunately, there were definitely
some standard themes that were referenced during that discussion of — that there’s
only room for one at the top. CYNTHIA TEE: Uh-huh. (Affirmative.) SONIA DARA: That women are constantly in competition
with one another. So how do you, personally, set those untrue
stories of competition and scarcity aside to do the important work of supporting other
women? CYNTHIA TEE: I mean, I think it’s a very deliberate
balance. I think that I consciously choose times when
I give space to others. I’ve been in this industry now for over 20
years. I’ve made it to a fairly senior executive
level. SONIA DARA: Yeah, you have. CYNTHIA TEE: I feel like I still have to fight
for it sometimes. It’s unbelievable sometimes how I still have
to explain that I am actually technical, I have a master’s degree — SONIA DARA: From MIT, nonetheless. CYNTHIA TEE: Yeah. Yeah. It’s amazing to me how I have to sometimes
“mansplain” my way through job qualifications. SONIA DARA: Awesome. And then we just left your third panel that
you helped coordinate today called In Their Own Words: Stores of Underrepresented Voices
in Tech. I absolutely loved this panel. CYNTHIA TEE: Yeah. SONIA DARA: I thought it was amazing. CYNTHIA TEE: It was amazing. SONIA DARA: Super intimate. There were five panelists. Just some of the most amazing women that I
have heard their stories. For our listeners and people who couldn’t
be there, what would be your top three take-aways from that panel? CYNTHIA TEE: One is what Zena (ph.) said about
social justice and that what we face in the tech industry about diversity and inclusion
is social justice. Diversity and inclusion and social justice
— the same thing. Because for so many people, it’s not different. What you experience in the workplace, the
oppression and the bias there and the oppression you go out in the street, it’s not different. And so that was one key take-away. I think the second was the allyship being
about action, being about empathy, being about really doing your own education and not putting
the burden on people who already have to deal with this every hour, every second of their
lives. And I think the third one that was just — really
struck me as each panel’s stories about all the ridiculous questions that they have to
deal with. The stereotypes, the very rude, invasive questions
about their body parts, about terrorism in their religion. And it seems appalling on the surface, but
it still happens quite a bit. And, you know, to be an ally is to catch those
and call people on it. It’s not okay to do that. And if you do it yourself, to just apologize
and move on and not try to justify your intent. This is not about intent, this is about your
impact on other people. SONIA DARA: Cynthia, in addition to your work
with WiT Regatta, you are a consultant with Diverse City, LLC, where you facilitate ally
skills workshops. These workshops teach everyday ways for people
to use their privilege and influence to support people who are targets of systemic oppression. Can you share one of the tactics from the
workshops that our audience could, perhaps, start using immediately? CYNTHIA TEE: I feel very strongly about this
workshop, I also do it for Ada Developers Academy, and I believe it’s an important discussion
to start. And I do it because it is a journey and a
discussion for me even, and I think the more people we bring into this discussion, the
more people understand that you can talk about these things. You can make mistakes, but if you do make
mistakes, apologize, move on, focus on the impact, and make it a learning moment is truly
important. I think one of the pieces of action people
can take that is super important is to really empathize and act on what it’s like to be
the only one. And there are so many of us in this industry
that feel like the only one of ourselves in a room, in a meeting, in a conference, in
a performance review discussion all the time. And if there’s one thing you can do as an
ally is to put yourself in that situation as much as possible. When you ask for the trust and put yourselves
in that space with people who are so different from you and you start to understand what
it feels like to be the only one, you will develop the empathy, and you will naturally
start to figure out what to do to champion people in that situation. SONIA DARA: In addition to your work with
Ada, you’re inspiring more girls to become interested in STEM as a volunteer with IGNITE
Worldwide. CYNTHIA TEE: Yes. SONIA DARA: IGNITE is an acronym for Inspiring
Girls Now in Technology Evolution, and we actually just saw you at the IGNITE gala a
couple weeks back. CYNTHIA TEE: Yeah. SONIA DARA: The organization introduces girls
from grades six to 12 to technology careers via panel discussions, job shadowing, mentoring,
field trips. So what does your volunteer work look like
with IGNITE? CYNTHIA TEE: I found IGNITE because one day
four teachers and 25 girls showed up my door at Ada. And I had no idea who they were. They said, “Well, we are here to visit Ada,
we arranged it.” I quickly looked through my e-mail because
I was very worried that I had accepted something and forgot. And I couldn’t find anything. And I looked at all these girls, all high
school age, all girls of color with their teachers of color come through my door. And at that point in time, my staff and I
basically had the time to take them in. Crystal, who was one of my instructors, did
an impromptu workshop using Arduinos, which she does a lot for high school in general,
and was able to pull that off. And we talked about Ada and, you know, we
had some of our students in the classroom also come and speak to them. And it was such a wonderful experience. And Cathi found me later and she said, “I
am so sorry.” To this day, we don’t know how this happened. But I also told her, “This was truly a blessing
in disguise. I loved it, I enjoyed it. I learned more about your organization, I
think this is great.” Starting from that point, twice a year we’re
bringing the girls from IGNITE over for the morning, and today, Nicole has carried that
forward. I went to Cathi’s gala. I do that now. This was my second year, and I love what she
does. I love what she enables. I am in support of really encouraging, at
every age group, this whole participation in STEM and accessibility of technology. I think Cathi is doing it for this particular
age group. I think these girls need to see role models
and examples of what it’s like to be successful. They need to find themselves in other people,
and I think that is really one of the key things that’s going to help them build their
interest and keep it sustained. SONIA DARA: What do you want your legacy to
be? CYNTHIA TEE: I think about every workshop
I do and I think about every panel that I’m on and I think about every mentoring or coffee
relationship that I have. And I feel like out of all those, if I just
somehow, with what I say, convince somebody to come on that journey with me, to just be
more self-aware about their biases, figure out how to take more action as an ally, that
for me is a really good outcome. SONIA DARA: So, Cynthia, where can our listeners
find you on the Internet? CYNTHIA TEE: I’m on LinkedIn and people can
always find me on LinkedIn, on Twitter, on Instagram. SONIA DARA: Thank you so much for joining
us today. CYNTHIA TEE: Yeah, thank you. Thank you for having me. (Music.) SONIA DARA: Well, listeners, we are officially
wrapping up this week at the Women in Tech Regatta. We are currently sitting at Bar Harbor, which
is a local restaurant, enjoying some rose to close out this surprisingly sunny day. Colleen, what were your thoughts as we close
things out here? COLLEEN O’BRIEN: Well, I have been so impressed
with the WiT Regatta programming, you know, from panels on cryptocurrency and bleeding-edge
tech to resume help and side-hustle support. I have learned a ton over the past few days. And I really appreciate that every panel this
week kicked off with a reading of the Code of Conduct. Many conferences don’t even have a code of
conduct, so I doubly appreciated that commitment to maintaining a safe space for everyone. Yeah, how about you, Sonia? What are you reflecting on here over this
rose? SONIA DARA: Yeah, no, it would definitely
have to be the hashtag #WhatWouldChadDo? The whole premise of that panel was to examine
the research-backed ways that men and women behave differently in the workplace, and to
promote ways that women can be basically bolder at work. Two really great examples that bubbled up
were how we negotiate for salary increases, or even speaking up in meetings. COLLEEN O’BRIEN: Yeah, I really appreciated
that panel, too. Marleigh Chiles was one of the #WhatWouldChadDo
panelists. She’s a graduate of Ada Developers Academy
— the organization that Cynthia led that you spoke to her about — and a current program
manager at Microsoft. And I was so inspired by her message. She suggested that even if you have an incredible
new job offer on the table, an offer that you’re completely in love with when it comes
to salary, time off, et cetera, that you need to ask for something. That the company needs to know that you’re
the type of person who asks for more. I’m so energized by that sentiment of asserting
your self-worth and your confidence in such a critical moment. SONIA DARA: Yeah. And there was one man on the #WhatWouldChadDo
panel, Nick Peddy, a VP of software engineering at Capital One. He is an instructor with Girls Who Code, and
an advocate for women at work. A secondary hashtag that grew organically
out of the panel was #FindYourNick, which I loved. That was definitely a big take-away for me. If your ideas are getting trampled in work
meetings and you’re not finding and getting the credit that you deserve, please get out
there and #FindYourNick. COLLEEN O’BRIEN: You know, I really can’t
think of a better way to wrap this episode. SONIA DARA: Yeah, but before we officially
drop these mics and switch back to our rose, we wanted to plug two upcoming events for
anyone traveling to Seattle for Microsoft Build, our annual developer event. The conference will be here at the Washington
State Convention Center, where in addition to finding great keynotes and sessions, you’ll
discover a relaxing oasis called The Lounge. COLLEEN O’BRIEN: That’s right. On Monday, May 7th, from 5:00-7:00 p.m., The
Lounge will host a Women and Non-Binary Community Happy Hour, hosted by Microsoft Katie De La
Maza-Baker and Nina Baliga, the cofounder of

ersity, that’s stylized as an HTML
division or section tag, and then “-ersity” — “diversity.” SONIA DARA: Nice. COLLEEN O’BRIEN: Nina and her cofounder are
connecting a community of diverse tech talent with trusted, transparent companies. SONIA DARA: Yes. And then on Wednesday, May 9th, The Lounge
is hosting a Represent Breakfast for attendees who identify as part of an underrepresented
or marginalized community. Head on over from 7:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. for
mimosas, breakfast burritos, cappuccinos, art, and plenty more. COLLEEN O’BRIEN: For more information about
the conference, visit Microsoft.com/Build, and as always, we really appreciate your support,
so subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play — wherever you get your podcasts,
or find us at wibt.com. SONIA DARA: Thank you so much, and we’re going
to go back to our rose now, so see you later. COLLEEN O’BRIEN: Our food is here, so we’ll
catch you next time.

7 thoughts on “Episode 20 – Navigating the Women in Tech Regatta with Cynthia Tee and Melody Biringer

  1. P-plz listen to me someone told me that "tell Microsoft I'm gonna find you and kill you!" B-be careful he is trying to kill you he said me in Amino i come here to alert you!

  2. This is racism! There's no Asian woman on the cover picture!
    You should add another Asian woman together with black and white women to show that you're equal.

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