Let's Do Lunch with Technical Women
Here at Women in Tech we take our survey feedback very seriously. A recurring theme has been the request to have a technically focused event, for all the fantastic technical women here at Yahoo! Thus was born the "Let's Do Lunch and Meet Y! Technical Women" event. The setup was intimate, with 4 facilitators, 1 per table, where 8-10 women at each table had the opportunity to ask questions, share advice, and network. The format was free-form, or attendees could pick a question from a purple bucket placed at each of the tables.
Jennifer Davis has been at Yahoo! for 5.5 years, and her career path took her from FE, to SA, to SE. She is currently a senior SE within the Grid Data Management team. Her table was filled with lively discussions around work-life balance and how Yahoo! is a great place to work because it allows the flexibility needed to maintain a healthy work-life balance. A few of the key points around this topic were that communication and accountability are key components to a trusting and healthy relationship with your team and manager. It's important to ensure that you voice your needs, and that you maintain accountability for your work and responsibilities.
Olga Natkovich has been at Yahoo! for 11.5 years and is a Director in Software Development. Agile was a hot topic at her table, with everyone weighing in on the pros and cons, and how they've been able to adapt to it quickly. Some of the pros included the ability to have a short learning curve due to the fast past and short timelines, as well as there being more transparency and accountability. One potential downside is that teams are being trained on the mechanical aspects of Agile, but not the spirit of Agile. Focusing on the "what" instead of the "why."
Jenny Donnelly has been with Yahoo! for 7.5 years, has worked on front end, back end, client technologies, project management and is currently a YUI Engineering Manager also focusing on Mojito. How to transition to a new role was one of the talking points at her table. Autumn Victor mentioned that her experience in project management and event planning translated very well into her career as a software engineer and gave her to skills to quickly move into a more senior role. Jenny's advice for someone wanting to transition into a more technical role was around self-teaching and learning by experience. There are so many opportunities thanks to open source software, which provides a low barrier to entry for non-technical folks. Her advice - find a problem to solve and dive right in!
Arathi Selvaraj has been with Yahoo! for 5 years, and her career path has taken her from a developer, to a Service Engineer, to her current role as a Project/Program Manager in the Revenue SE group. This table dove right into the purple bucket for some questions.
Q: What are you doing to make your career what you want it to be?
A: Taking Yahoo! offered classes like the new Mobile Academy, exploring new technologies, and (our favorite) participating in Women in Tech events!
Q: What are the skills required to be a technical leader?
A: Organizational and planning skills are very important, as well as great communication skills.
The room was abuzz for the full hour and everyone was so engaged the event likely could have gone on for another hour! We wrapped up as we usually do with the ever popular raffle (mugs, cups, and laptop sleeves oh my!).
For those interested in continuing their networking opportunities, the event also concluded with some information about Lean In circles here at Yahoo! If you're interested in participating in or facilitating a Lean In circle here at Yahoo! please reach out to either Autumn Victor (autumnv@) or Mariah Martinez (mariahm@).
Thank you to everyone involved in this smashing success and we look forward to more Let's Do Lunch events in the future!