Oct 8, 2018 - Stephanie Garza    

GitLab + STEM Gems: Giving girls role models in tech

Meet the GitLabbers working to inspire the next generation to pursue careers in STEM.

GitLab recently partnered with STEM Gems, an organization creating awareness of successful women in STEM, to inspire girls and give them STEM role models. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) pervades every aspect of our lives; everything can be tied to technology in some way, shape, or form. Given the constant expansion of technology, career prospects are endless. One would think STEM is the number one pursued career path right?

Surprisingly, according to the US Department of Commerce, in 2017 only 24 percent of women worked in STEM. Another harsh reality is that women who hold STEM degrees are less likely than their male counterparts to pursue a STEM career. In fact, women are more likely to work in education or healthcare.

Driven by the low numbers, STEM Education advocate Stephanie Espy strived to make a change. Espy created STEM Gems, an organization that began as a book filled with inspiring women in STEM. The book was the stepping stone for a greater initiative to create awareness for the successful female powerhouses in STEM, as well as provide girls with role models to look up to.

Girls who have STEM role models are more likely to pursue opportunities outside their traditional realm, and STEM Gems is making it possible for girls to connect with them. Role models, mentors, and career ambassadors inspire and empower girls to achieve their dreams.

At our recent summit in South Africa, forty GitLabbers came together for an epic power hour of delving into each other's professional pathways and identifying challenges. Participants were paired up and asked to interview each other about their individual careers, goals, and accomplishments. This included the significant others of GitLabbers and men interested in learning more about making GitLab inclusive. Through this event, we were able to strengthen our relationships and identify ways to foster a culture of inclusion. The event also provided greater visibility into the challenges and barriers women in STEM face.

GitLab is building a community where everyone can thrive. We've gathered together the stories and photos of the GitLabbers that participated in the event. In this post, and in a follow-up post, we will share each of these amazing stories. We want to inspire and encourage girls to set Big Goals and pursue every dream and remember you’ll always have a friend at GitLab!

Jenny and Molly

Name: Jenny Nguyen (right)

Role: Payroll and Payments Lead

Why is what you do important? I handle payroll and expense reimbursement, making sure all our team members get paid and reimbursed on time.

What is something you are really proud of?

I helped save a previous company $2 million by applying technical logic to processes.

Did you know you wanted to work in tech when you were growing up? If not, what did you THINK you wanted to be?

No, I started my undergrad with Business major and took programming as an elective class. My teacher encouraged me to change my major to Computer Science and Software Engineering, but I didn't have an opportunity to be in a technical position. However, I have applied my technical knowledge and aptitude from school to reduce manual processes within my functions for the past 10 years.

If you could give advice to a girl thinking about a career in tech, what would it be?

As a non-technical person, I want them to know that they don’t have to have a career in technology to have and utilize their own technical skills. Every function needs input from technical and non-technical perspectives.


Ramya

Name: Ramya Authappan

Title: Senior Test Automation Engineer

Why is what you do important?

At GitLab, I automate tests as much as possible. I design and develop test frameworks. Test automation is the key to Continuous Integration and Delivery, which in turn is essential in minimizing the 'Time to Market' of any new features, thereby achieving customer satisfaction.

What is something you are really proud of?

Apart from my work at GitLab, I'm also the Director of Women Who Code, Chennai chapter. As part of Women Who Code, I get to meet a lot of female leaders in the technical space. I was recently invited to be a Panelist in a discussion on digital safety help by Google and SheThePeople.tv. I was also interviewed by a Indian National News channel. I frequently share my knowledge as a conference/meetup speaker. On the whole, I love doing what I do and being who I am!

Did you know you wanted to work in tech when you were growing up? If not, what did you THINK you wanted to be?

Yes! In my school days I had to choose a specialization at the age of 16 years. I chose Computer Science, and I think I made the right choice. I find that I'm interested in software engineering and always wanted to be a software engineer.

If you could give advice to a girl thinking about a career in tech, what would it be?

  1. Choose wisely when it comes to specializations.
  2. Keep learning.
  3. Give back to society.
  4. Change the world! The sky is the limit!

Hannah

Name: Hannah Schuler

Title: SDR Team Lead – West and APAC

Why is what you do important?

I train other SDR team members to identify and create qualified opportunities. I also assist in recruiting team members and also work closely with online marketing managers for targeted ad campaigns. The SDR role is an evangelist role – we get the opportunity to be the first point of contact for people. It's an exciting and challenging role because most often people have never heard of GitLab. Sharing news about a solution that can help people and bring value is exciting.

My role is important because I facilitate and add structure to the team. I help remove roadblocks and enable us to work more efficiently. I help team members reach their full potential.

What is something you are really proud of?

I received a discretionary bonus a few months ago for going above and beyond in my role! Being promoted from an SDR representative to a team lead in nine months was really awesome, I'm very proud of that. I'm a certified SCRUM master and product owner. I am also certified in SAFE (Agile methodology).

Did you know you wanted to work in tech when you were growing up? If not, what did you THINK you wanted to be?

It's evolved over time – when I was little I wanted to be a ballerina. I was super shy, an introvert, and dancing was my way to express myself. When I grew older, everything changed and I become super outgoing. I wanted to make an impact in the world and got a degree in International Business Studies because I wanted to work for the UN. My excitement for technology came a lot later in my career. My friend shared excitement about the industry and that's what initially got my foot in the door. I did not have a traditional background in tech.

If you could give advice to a girl thinking about a career in tech, what would it be?

You will have an impact in this field. Companies are looking for you. You will develop lifelong skills and have an impact in this field. Women are trailblazers in this industry. You can dictate your own earning potential and will have the opportunity to mentor other women as well.


Cristine

Name: Cristine Marquardt

Title: Billing Specialist

Why is what you do important?

I process invoices for sales-assisted orders, troubleshoot support tickets (mostly related to money and licensing issues), provide sales support, and I wear a lot of hats. Everyone in the company plays an important role to keep GitLab running. When you work at a startup, you have to be game for all the obstacles that are thrown your way. I never imagined how much I would learn and how much I could contribute in my role.

What is something you are really proud of?

I'm currently dabbling in .Net framework and I made my first semi-functional calculator. While this sounds like a rather simple task, this is huge to me since my career has been focused in the finance and accounting world.

Did you know you wanted to work in tech when you were growing up? If not, what did you THINK you wanted to be?

I knew that I wanted to work in tech ever since I was a kid. I was fortunate enough to go to a school that had computers in each classroom and there was also a computer lab. I wanted to get into computer engineering when I was in middle/high school, but I never pursued it in college. I'm now pushing myself to learn software development.

If you could give advice to a girl thinking about a career in tech, what would it be?

Believe in yourself and don't be afraid. The only one holding you back is yourself.


Jaquie

Name: Jackie Collins

Title: Support Agent

Why is what you do important?

I answer customer tickets for issues they find in GitLab.com, enhancement requests, or troubleshooting.

What is something you are really proud of?

Getting hired at GitLab, as I didn't have any technical experience or a degree. I worked in a non-technical call centre for two years before being recruited internally to work for technical support within that organization.

Did you know you wanted to work in tech when you were growing up? If not, what did you THINK you wanted to be?

I didn't want to work in tech, I was in school for nursing, but left when my mum got sick and I had to care for her. I was then recruited to work at the call center.

If you could give advice to a girl thinking about a career in tech, what would it be?

You need to be firm, don't allow yourself to be out-shadowed by male counterparts. I was advised by my previous boss that "silence is acceptance" and to always speak up when you don't agree with somebody.


Gabriela and Diana

Name: Gabriela Mena Breña (right)

Title: Chemical Engineer (Not at GitLab, I am the significant other of a GitLabber)

Why is what you do important?

Practical transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy solutions. This will save the planet!

What is something you are really proud of?

I led the team that created fiscal terms for the first private investments in Mexican oil and gas resources. This protected the Mexican government's financial stability. We secured $3.1 billion worth of contracts to construct gas pipelines for the Mexican state. I am also proud to have received a full scholarship from the Mexican government to study for a Master's degree in Energy Science.

Did you know you wanted to work in tech when you were growing up? If not, what did you THINK you wanted to be?

Yes, I found science and math the most challenging, which made them the most interesting to me.

If you could give advice to a girl thinking about a career in tech, what would it be?

Don't let anybody else tell you what you can be. Be true to who you really are and focus on your own goals and desires.


Chloe

Name: Chloe Whitestone

Title: Talent Operations Specialist

Why is what you do important?

I am part of the recruiting team. I do all of the backend operations for recruiting, such as vendor management, reporting, researching on different tools, and employee branding. In addition, I am also the recruiter for a few roles (customer success, UX designer, data engineer). GitLab cannot be what it is without having great talent and I get to be a part of this exciting journey.

What is something you are really proud of?

I've played a critical role in the multiple transitions of GitLab's ATS (application tracking system) which has improved candidate experience, increased efficiency, and given greater visibility for hiring managers to hire the best talent possible. Before I was at GitLab, there weren't any tools for recruiting metrics. Through my efforts, GitLab has recruiting metrics and is now able to analyze how they are doing compared to other industry leaders. This has allowed us to improve the hiring process and enabled applicants to get job offers faster than before.

Chloe also:

  • Migrated Workable to Lever
  • Migrated Lever to Greenhouse
  • Implemented background checks at GitLab
  • Trained GitLabbers for Greenhouse
  • Created a vacancy process for GitLab
  • Improved onboarding process and experience
  • Became an assistant manager in six months during her first fulltime job
  • Is proud of every hire she has made

Did you know you wanted to work in tech when you were growing up? If not, what did you THINK you wanted to be?

Growing up, I didn't think I would work in Tech. I originally wanted to be president! I was exposed to tech through my high school STEM program. That equipped me to be where I am today.

If you could give advice to a girl thinking about a career in tech, what would it be?

Start right away by learning and getting involved in the community. It's harder to start the older you get (IMO). Don't be afraid, no matter how much experience you have or how old you are. You are not alone!


Katherine

Name: Katherine Okpara

Title: Junior UX Researcher

Why is what you do important?

I work with product management and UX designers to understand users' pain points, goals, and needs. My job is to understand where we can improve the product by speaking directly to users. The user experience of a product impacts the the customer directly. Positive experiences equal stronger relationships (more feedback) for the product to improve.

What is something you are really proud of?

I've received mentorship during my eight months here at GitLab and am now leading studies. I've been able to learn about different features and different aspects of the product at a fast pace. I have helped to build healthy relationships between end users and teams for better product improvements/advancements.

Did you know you wanted to work in tech when you were growing up? If not, what did you THINK you wanted to be?

No. I didn't know anything about tech/computers, etc. until college. I took a few programming/data science classes in college and that's when my interest was piqued. I was on more of an academic path at school (psychology). In my last year of college I took a web design class (applying research to products) and felt that I had found my niche. I have been working on those skills ever since through online courses, research, etc.

If you could give advice to a girl thinking about a career in tech, what would it be?

There is a place for you! Whether it's programming or another area, there are still many paths for consideration. If you come from a non-traditional path, there is always a way to link your skills to your desired role. Believe that you can do it, even if you don't currently have the skills (you can build those skills!).


Lucas

Name: Lucas Charles

Title: Individual Contributor to Gitlab (significant other to a GitLabber)

Why is what you do important?

I am an end-user, and GitLab wouldn't be a product without users. It's built on open source technology, which requires everyone to contribute. As a user and contributor, it is powerful to have everything in one place and GitLab is fun to use. It's easier to go to work every day with software you love.

My significant other works at GitLab, but I would use it every day regardless. I love the product and company. I think GitLab is doing something important and changing the way we build software.

What is something you are really proud of?

When my significant other was looking for a new job, I realized that GitLab would be a perfect fit for her and encouraged her to apply. I wanted to do everything I could to help her because I care and it's an amazing opportunity to push herself and contribute to a greater tech community full of diverse people, product, and cultures.

I'm incredibly proud of my significant other. She works on GitLab every day, making the world a more interesting place through technology. I'm quite proud to be part of that network. I'm also proud to be one of the first 1,000 contributors to Gitlab. I'm proud that GitLab chose to recognize that by sending me a special sticker!

Did you know you wanted to work in tech when you were growing up? If not, what did you THINK you wanted to be?

I've always been a tinkerer and like to take things apart and put them together. Tech enables me to do that quickly and easily. It is an amazing industry that creates something out of nothing but an idea, and has limitless possibilities. We move fast and many truly believe they are changing the world.

If you could give advice to a girl thinking about a career in tech, what would it be?

First, to just do it, because it's an incredible field and we need more diversity. Diversity is important: we need a range of ideas, perspectives, and to create more opportunities to understand each other. We should build products that work for everyone and address all needs. Challenging ourselves and growing ourselves through different perspectives is critical for both personal growth and a healthy culture.

Install GitLab in 2 minutes

With Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, openSUSE, and Raspbian packages or from source

Install GitLab Now