In my two years as a UI Engineer at Addepar, I’ve had the pleasure of representing our team at recruiting events, including most recently the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC). GHC, named in honor of Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, is the world’s largest technical conference for women in computing. Participants come together to network, collaborate, and receive mentorship and development insight from leaders in industry, academia, and government.
Three Years at GHC
I first attended GHC in 2014 as a senior in college looking for a job post-graduation. I had already received two offers and was scheduled to interview on-site with two more companies immediately following the conference. Even with offers under my belt, I was incredibly nervous and seeking a sense of community. Fellow classmates also attended, but I didn’t know them well and we didn’t spend much time together. Instead, I spent most of the conference wandering around aimlessly and alone, collecting free t-shirts and giving my resume to anyone who would take it. At night, I holed up in my hotel room to finish my homework. Overall, my biggest gains from the conference were interview opportunities (I conducted my first-round interview with Addepar!), and an especially cool Oculus demo at the HBO recruiting booth.
A year later, I returned to GHC as a full-time software engineer for Addepar. As part of the recruiting team for this event, I gave away company swag at our booth and accepted resumes from eager job seekers. I spent quality time with my coworkers, which helped develop the sense of friendship and familiarity I had been seeking. We ate tacos, drove around Houston, and bought matching sweatshirts because the conference center was so darn cold. Overall, my experience was great, and I returned home to New York full of optimism and excitement for my career at Addepar.
In 2016, I returned to GHC, now as Addepar’s sole representative. I mingled, attended talks, and learned from and engaged with other women in the tech community. I participated as a panelist, offering guidance to a packed room of hundreds of college students in the exact same position I was two years ago. Specifically, I spoke on “A Day in the Life” and described my experiences as an engineer. Other panelists alongside me included Melissa Dalis (Uber), Charu Jangid (Linkedin), Trisha Kothari (Affirm; not pictured), and Gaby Moreno Cesar (IBM). Although we hadn’t met in person until the night before, we found we had a lot to discuss. We were overjoyed to see that students were getting something out of what we shared. It was at this moment that I grasped how my experiences at GHC conferences have progressed full-circle, growing from the seemingly clueless and lost student I was to the confident and more experienced engineer I had aspired to become.
Building My Career at Addepar
Although I’m only 23 and my career is very much still in its early stages, I hope and anticipate that I will continue along this same trajectory as I further my career.
Thankfully, my teammates and leadership at Addepar give me the space and tools I need to flourish. Even when I was the only woman on a team of seven (currently 11% of our engineering organization identifies as female), I knew they were looking out for me and had my best interests in mind. I don’t worry about acting like “one of the guys” because I’m already embraced for being myself. I can talk about my weird (and sometimes feminine) hobbies and my coworkers are interested in and supportive of what I say. I don’t experience the common issues facing women in tech like ‘mansplaining’ or someone passing off my idea as his own. It is for these reasons that I recognize how lucky I am to be working for a company that respects and values me.
That said, I understand there is work to do. For example, it would be great to not be the only woman in a meeting (I often am). It would also be great to have a woman in our engineering leadership team (our executive staff is 30% female, but none are in engineering roles). It’s important to me that engineering teams are as diverse as possible, as studies have shown that diverse teams perform better.
I’m encouraged by Addepar’s focus on increasing diversity in the workplace and creating an even better environment for me and my fellow female engineers. To increase the number of applicants from underrepresented groups, Addepar partners with external organizations such as #YesWeCode (Addepar is a founding member of its Employer Council), Lesbians Who Tech, Hackbright Academy, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and Society of Women Engineers. Addepar sponsors regular tech talks from female leaders in the industry. Addepar sponsored me to participate in GHC, where I am able to not only learn about leadership but also pay it forward to women in the tech community.
All in all, I am grateful for the opportunities I have had so far at Addepar, and will continue to work along with my coworkers to build a company that embraces diversity in all aspects.
If you have questions about diversity and inclusion at Addepar, please reach out to Lissa Minkin, our Vice President of People, at firstname.lastname@example.org.