What advice would these founders give their 18-year-old selves? Read on!
By Anbu Anbalagapandian (Founder & CEO, Orange Harp)
It goes without saying that more women than ever before are looking to explore opportunities in tech. The incredible reception of the GoldieBlox commercial, the open “Lean In” conversation and the news that for the first time ever, women outranked men in enrollment in an introductory computer science class at UC Berkeley are just a few indicators that women refuse to remain in the shadows of a male-dominated industry.
As a female engineer and the founder of Orange Harp, I find that women in technology are more than just brilliant, compassionate and driven — they’re also inspiring leaders and mentors. Orange Harp is a female-founded startup, and we’re incredibly lucky to know some of the female founders and executives who support other women in technology and entrepreneurship. On International Women’s Day, we launched our Women We Love series to feature brilliant, stylish and driven women and share insight about their journeys and careers.
Below are a few excerpts from female founders and executives featured in the Women We Love series. Visit Orange Harp to read even more from other inspiring women entrepreneurs.
What’s your advice to women who want to learn to code?
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are plenty of online resources and people willing to help. Work on scratching an itch with code, and you’ll find your way.” — Aarthi Ramamurthy (Founder & CEO, Lumoid; YCS13)
What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
“Technology is the future and I would have learned how to code.” — Lona Alia Duncan (Founder & CEO, StyleLend; YCW14)
“Forget about big names and brand recognition. What really matters is the the skill set you achieve. Be great at something you really understand, and know how to execute it.” — Anna Santeramo (Founder & CEO, StyleBee)
What does it feel like to be a woman in technology?
“Being the only woman on a team makes you be a little bit more cautious about how you are. As a minority, you feel conscious about how your reactions are going to be observed by the majority. I think it’s ridiculous that people think programming is a masculine thing — that thought would never even arise in my mind. I feel strongly about getting more diversity into tech. I think the conversations are happening, it’s just not there yet.” — Divya Manian (Product Manager, Adobe)
What has been the hardest part of your journey?
“Learning the culture, the language and adapting quickly. Being able to step into things that I’ve never done before and almost adopt this ‘fake it till you make it’ attitude. Staying confident, trusting myself to be able to do anything, and embracing challenges were key.” — Maria Karaivanova (Head of Business Development, CloudFlare)
“There were a lot of very hard things. My friends used to joke that in the beginning I was CEO/janitor. I think the variety of tasks that you have to spend your time on is very difficult. In the early days, it was making sure that when I was having a bad day, not everyone else was having a bad day and not being affected by my own emotional journey.” — Katrina Lake (Founder & CEO, Stitch Fix)
What’s one question you’d like to ask one of these female founders?
About the guest blogger: Anbu Anbalagapandian is an engineer by training who has built mobile products for Lookout, Palm (webOS) and Vodafone. Last summer, she and Kacie Gonzalez founded Orange Harp, the world’s only mobile marketplace for socially conscious products, from apparel to home goods and beyond. Orange Harp is a free app for iPhone and iPad, featuring more than 1,500 products for a conscious lifestyle. Follow @anbu5 and @orange_harp on Twitter.