Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

Ela Conf inspired me to make these 3 promises to myself

Photo of neon sign that says “Do something great” | Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my career this year. Where it is, where it’ll go. But most importantly, what I want it to be.

One thing I’ve always known is that, regardless of my industry, I want to lift up womxn and girls. So when I heard about Ela Conf, I knew it was the perfect opportunity for me to not only get to know cis and trans women, trans men, and genderqueer people but also be surrounded by people who want to do the same.

I left Ela Conf motivated and empowered, a feeling that I haven’t had much of these past few months.

So here are the three promises I’ve made to myself because Ela Conf gave me that push I needed to follow through on them.

1. Accept leadership opportunities

I have no problem taking the lead if no one else will, but I’m not the first person to jump at a leadership opportunity. Or the second. I’d probably even go so far as to turn one down if it was offered to me. But, it’s long past time for me to accept and seek out leadership opportunities.

2. Negotiate my salary (and benefits)

I’ve never negotiated my salary or benefits but going forward, I’m changing that. I’ll arrive prepared to negotiate, aware of the value of my skills, and I’ll be willing to walk away when the offer isn’t right.

3. Write more

One of the break-out sessions I attended was called, “Your Voice in Tech Writing.” I attended the workshop with the goal of leaving with actionable tips on how to be a better tech writer. For me, it wasn’t about how to craft articles, per se.

Rather, it was about using my voice as a woman in tech to build a platform. A platform I could use not only for myself but to lift up and prioritize the voices of girls and women (both cis and trans).

While I came away with actionable tips on how to do so, I also came away with a statistic that only 3 of the top 20 (actually, top 60 writers) on Medium are women. And these women aren’t just any women, they’re Hillary Clinton, Julie Zhuo (aka Product Design VP at Facebook), and Sarah Cooper, an author and comedian.

Meanwhile, many men on the list have made careers (or at least names for themselves) on their Medium followings. So there’s that.

Prior to knowing that, I had a slight feeling there was a pattern regarding whom was being published. I mean, I’ve considered on numerous occasions writing an article all about my theories why The Mission (seems to) overwhelmingly publish men. (I have yet to crunch the numbers on that, so stay tuned).

Of course, Medium isn’t the end-all, be-all of writing. I know that. Everyone knows that. But still. It’d be nice to carve out a home here, on a platform that is doing some pretty cool things for writers.

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About Ela Conf

A safe, inclusive tech leadership conference and community for adult (18+) women (cis and trans), trans men, and genderqueer people to connect with and empower one another.

Leadership skills are crucial to making an impact in the field and creating diversity in the workplace. Companies with greater top-level gender diversity perform better financially, are more empathetic, and more innovative. When marginalized individuals become leaders, the entire tech community benefits.

Special thanks to the Ela Organizers and all that great people I met (and didn’t meet) at Ela Conf. 10/10 would do it again.