Dear Women in Tech community,
My name is Leslie Feinzaig, and I am one of you. I’ve been in this industry a decade, the only woman in the conference room more times than I can recall. I’ve internalized feedback that I am too quiet (speak up!) but also too assertive (pipe down!). I’ve changed my wardrobe multiple times to blend in. I’ve cried in the bathroom. I’ve wondered why I didn’t get that huge assignment. Just like you.
But the thing is, I love working in tech. I love the speed, the imagination, the crazy possibilities, the simultaneous elegance and difficulty of a simple solution. I love that this is where the future is written. Technology companies disrupt every single industry, and we are at the core.
Unfortunately, as we all know, there is an undeniable gender gap in every corner of our industry; from the percentage of software engineers at large companies to the percentage of venture capital dollars invested in female-founded startups (just 2.19%). A gender gap so big and so complex, that there’s no single way to fix it. We need to work together as a community to make our ecosystem inclusive and equitable for everyone. We need to be there for each other at every step of the long road that lies ahead. And we need to convene with other techies who love what we do as much as we do. Under Martina’s leadership, Women in Tech facilitated this ongoing community for the past five years.
Today, WiT is undergoing an exciting transition under Melody Biringer. Building on the huge success of this years’ WiT Regatta, Melody will focus on a recurring yearly event that convenes all women’s groups under one roof.
But what happens the rest of the year?
The Female Founders Alliance is a community of women that help each other succeed, born right here in Seattle earlier this year and now expanding nationally. We envision a world where women have a truly equitable chance at leadership in tech. At our core is the founders network: a private, curated group of female startup founders (which anyone who qualifies can join anytime). And our extended community welcomes every woman: those of you in technology, those who want to support female-led startups, those who have or will one day start their own company. I’m betting that includes you.
And if it does, allow me to welcome you. I’ll stay in touch with you via our monthly newsletter (sign up here). We’ll give you first access to FFA’s invitation-only events. We’ll organize a special event once in a while just for you, in the tradition of WiT’s smaller events through the years. And since we host events sparingly, we’ll also refer you to the absolute best technology and/or women’s programming in Seattle from our sister (and brother) organizations. We’ll even get you discounts ☺
In fact, you’re among the first to get a save the date for our next big public event. On February 1st 2018, the Female Founders Alliance will host an award ceremony to celebrate the people and organizations that best champion women in our industry. We will open up nominations in a number of categories. The winners will be selected by women: some by our core network of female startup founders, and some by you and members of other women’s communities we plan to partner with.
In a year that has seen huge leaps forward in exposing the people and behaviors that affect us negatively, we want to lead the way in recognizing and rewarding the people and behaviors that affect us positively. So please, speak up, nominate, VOTE, and attend. Because individually we are drops of water. But together we’re a thunderstorm. To participate in this exciting movement, sign up here. I hope to see you there.
In the meantime, if you have ideas, questions, feedback, or just want to say hi, email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. I so look forward to meeting you soon.
Female Founders Alliance