To celebrate Women’s History Month, we sat down with some of the women working on ActBlue’s tech team to hear about their experiences in the industry. ActBlue Technical Services, the team that builds ActBlue’s tools, is made up of many women-led groups of engineers, product managers, designers, and other technologists who are passionate about ensuring that our digital fundraising tools are inclusive and accessible for everyone. If you’re interested in joining the women-led teams described below to help create software supporting the small-dollar donor movement, apply here!


Mariam

Mariam K, VP of Product Design and User Research

What is it like to work at a tech organization with multiple tech teams run by women?
This is the first time in my career that I’ve had the opportunity to work at an organization where women are in the majority across the board. In tech, this is a unique space, where we have women not just leading teams but also entire product teams led by women. There is a feeling of empowerment when I (virtually) walk into rooms that are majority women. The tech world has long talked about a more inclusive future and to me, this is it: spaces created for and by women.

How does centering gender equity in ActBlue’s tech team further the organization’s mission?
We think about equity in not just how we build our teams but also in how we build our products. This is essential in creating real, people-powered change. Centering gender equity in our tech teams keeps us mindful and aware of a diversity of needs and opinions. It helps us build strong teams, as well as thoughtful products.

How have women leaders in tech influenced you and your career? How did they help you get to where you are today?
Throughout my career, I’ve been super fortunate to have women mentors. These were women who have generously volunteered their time to provide guidance at various turning points, provided opportunities for career growth and made space for learning. I strongly believe that women must support women, and it is these mentors who have helped me get to where I am today. Susan Ehrlich, for example, inspired me to reach further and go deeper. And Ayesha Barenblat taught me to go with my gut.

What is your advice to any women looking to break into the tech industry?
Go with your gut, seek out your (women) mentors, and take the space you need.


Chelsea

Chelsea N, Senior Product Manager

What is it like to work at a tech organization with multiple tech teams run by women?
I love being part of such an incredibly diverse team here at ActBlue. The number of women, people of color, and queer folks on our teams really speaks to our desire to turn our values into actions. Having such a diverse team allows for better decision-making, communication, and a more collaborative work environment because we better represent our users and the people impacted by ActBlue’s mission.

How have women leaders in tech influenced you and your career? How did they help you get to where you are today?
I’ve been fortunate to know and work with many incredible women in technology over the last few years. In my former life as a software engineer, I heavily relied on a group of women engineers to help navigate the sometimes tricky world of being the only woman in the room, a more junior person on a team, and a woman of color. Without the support of those women — some of whom now work at ActBlue! — I’m not sure I would have had the confidence in myself to explore product management and sharpen my skills.

What is your advice to any women looking to break into the tech industry?
Tech can be a difficult industry to break into alone. Isolation can make you feel like you’re an imposter. You should support other women and find other women to support you. Avoid the mindset of “there can only be one” and instead seek out companies that don’t want to just hire women but want to empower them, grow them, promote them, and truly invest in a diverse team.


Ash

Ash P, Engineering Manager

What is it like to work at a tech organization with multiple tech teams run by women?
I’m constantly starstruck working for and alongside such incredible and diverse women leaders. We say a lot that representation matters, and you never truly internalize how much until that surrounds you. These women bring a wealth of professional experience, knowledge, and thoughtfulness and each a unique perspective on our work.

How have women leaders in tech influenced you and your career? How did they help you get to where you are today?
I would say that I wouldn’t have found my career if it weren’t for the amazing women who’ve paved the path before me. From my good friend encouraging me to make the career change six years ago, when we became unemployed unexpectedly, to the woman who gave me my first job as a software engineer, to my current manager for mentoring me, advocating for me, and promoting me — they provided me with wisdom, guidance, connections, and strong pushes to move out of my comfort zone.

What is your advice to any women looking to break into the tech industry?
Be your authentic self. Just because you’re a woman in the tech industry doesn’t mean you have something to prove. You do not have to analyze each move and compete with your male peers or any other peer. The journey in tech is not without its challenges and pitfalls. Be patient and kind to yourself. You will have doubts, feel inadequate, and even get discouraged at times, and it’s okay to have those feelings. The key is not letting the negativity in those feelings take over. You should acknowledge and reflect on them, picking apart the negativity and addressing the parts you can, tossing out what doesn’t serve you or has no meaning or value.


Antoinette

Antoinette S, Senior Engineering Manager

What is it like to work at a tech organization with multiple tech teams run by women?
I’ve been at many places where upper-level management had significant numbers of women. However, what stands out to me about ActBlue is the number of women in hands-on engineering roles. I think this definitely has a positive impact on the engineering culture at ActBlue. Unfortunately, being the “only woman engineer” on a team quite often results in a decrease in psychological safety for that team member.

How have women leaders in tech influenced you and your career? How did they help you get to where you are today?
I’ve hands down made major moves in my career because of other women leaders that I’ve worked with. They’ve seen qualities in me that were often overlooked and have sponsored me for higher-level opportunities.

What is your advice to women looking to break into the tech industry?
Applying to jobs is great, but you’re likely to get more traction by actively networking. Get involved with a local tech meetup or do some tech-adjacent volunteer activities. You would be surprised at how being a familiar face can lead to having your name mentioned as potentially being a good fit for a position that may not have even been posted yet.

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