Opportunity and acceptance: 4 local technologists share what makes LA a unique city for women in tech

by Michael Hines
April 17, 2019

Los Angeles is quickly becoming known for tech as much as it is for traffic, and there’s a good reason for that: women. These talented technologists are finding acceptance and opportunity in LA, both inside the office and outside of it, and the local tech community is growing stronger as a result.

We recently spoke to technologists at four companies to learn more about what makes LA such a unique city for women in tech along with the programs, events and spaces that have helped them navigate their careers.

 

GoGuardian Los Angeles tech jobs
PHOTO VIA GOGUARDIAN

GoGuardian’s device management solutions are designed to help schools protect their students and the technology they use when they go online. Senior Product Marketing Manager Louise Stewart attended college in Australia and worked in London before moving to Los Angeles in September of 2016. Stewart is a big sports fan who said joining intramural and rec sports teams during her early days in LA helped her integrate into the community.

 

What do you think makes Los Angeles unique as a city for women in tech?

When I first moved to Los Angeles, I was asked, “Are you in the business,” which refers to the entertainment industry. But surprisingly, I was also asked, “Are you in the tech industry?” I’m very driven to technology and software, and in LA, people are much more interested in what I do. I’ve had more opportunities to talk about what I do and where I’m from, and LA provides a space for open dialogue and open collaboration thanks to the variety of industries that have gravitated to technology as a foundation for future growth and opportunity.

I’ve never been in a city that’s as free-flowing with its industries and where everyone, regardless of their background, expertise or gender, shares ideas. I’ve never felt stigmatized for being a woman in tech here in LA.

I’ve never felt stigmatized for being a woman in tech here in LA.

Are there any local or company programs, networking events or spaces that have helped you navigate your career?

I’m a big sports fan, and as I was finding ways to integrate into the community, both in and out of the tech space, intramural and volunteer-led sporting groups proved instrumental in building my network — and ultimately my career. I joined the ​L.A. LEGGERS running and walking club​, the ​LA Royals​ touch rugby team and played flag football through ​Zog Sports​. Each of these organizations provided me an outlet to both stretch my legs and social chops by meeting new people in the startup scene and building personal and professional relationships, some of which I still maintain to this day.

 

Hallmark Labs Los Angeles tech jobs
PHOTO VIA MCKENZIE SMITH

Hallmark Labs is the driving force behind Hallmark Cards’ direct-to-consumer digital offerings and services, which include its e-cards and the streaming service Hallmark Movies Now. Lead Software Engineer Stefani Taylor joined the company in the fall of 2018 and is originally from Texas. Taylor said that when it comes to helping the next-generation of women in tech succeed, being in Los Angeles makes it easier to achieve her goals.

 

What do you think makes Los Angeles/Santa Monica unique as a city for women in tech?

I am originally from Texas and I worked in tech companies out in Dallas before moving to California. Los Angeles offers a bigger social network with more access to job fairs, workshops and bootcamps. Also, I feel like it is a little more laid back and that there is a better understanding of the importance of technology.

There are a fair amount of startups in the Los Angeles area, so there’s a good opportunity for women in tech to get involved from the ground up. With newer generations of women entering the field, my goals are: How do we build them up, and how do we get them comfortable with not having all of the answers and just going for it? I feel like I can help fellow women in tech achieve these goals easier in LA and Santa Monica.

There are a fair amount of startups in the Los Angeles area, so there’s a good opportunity for women in tech to get involved from the ground up.

 

Are there any local or company programs, networking events or spaces that have helped you navigate your career?

I am fortunate to have a really good support group of friends who are developers. They have helped me with different challenges in my career. Almost everyone I work with I know outside of the office. Even my friends outside of Labs are engineers. I text them when I have an issue at work or am stuck on something, especially when it comes to microservices and splitting up concerns. That knowledge has helped me architect a micro app frontend.

Through Labs, I was able to participate in a Google hackathon, which was a lot of fun. Everyone on my team knew each other’s roles and we communicated well. Our team really clicked and understood UX from different aspects: two of us were developers, one was a UX designer and the other was in marketing. It was an interesting culture. I definitely want to attend more hackathons and conventions!

 

LegalZoom Los Angeles Tech jobs
PHOTO VIA MCKENZIE SMITH AND LEGALZOOM

LegalZoom connects people with efficient, simplified and professional legal advice on everything from forming an LLC to creating a will and registering a trademark. Director of Project Management Melanie Meyers said having a strong network of mentors and colleagues has been key to navigating her career. When it comes to her co-workers at LegalZoom, Meyers said there’s no shortage of people working to spotlight the contribution women at the company make.

 

What do you think makes Los Angeles unique as a city for women in tech?

Los Angeles is an extremely diverse city, and I think that is the number one reason it’s unique and why women find it easier to succeed and find acceptance in tech here. I have met and worked with so many intelligent and skilled women from all over the world in LA. I have learned from them and seen first-hand how their work and contributions have added value across the board. In addition, the opportunities for women are abundant and always growing, which I find very exciting!

Our people ops and technology teams are awesome at supporting and highlighting women’s contributions across our organization.

 

Are there any local or company programs, networking events or spaces that have helped you navigate your career?

Most important to me is that I have a strong network of mentors and colleagues who have helped guide me along the way. I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. Our people ops and technology teams are awesome at supporting and highlighting women’s contributions across our organization. Recently, they held an offsite event which included a panel discussion on women in technology and how the company can best continue to support them, which sparked some great ideas.

We also have an internal Women’s Leadership Guild that hosts many insightful and cool events throughout the year, such as Notorious RBG Day, where attendees visited the Skirball Cultural Center to discuss and view an exhibit on Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

 

CreatorIQ Los Angeles tech jobs
PHOTO VIA CREATORIQ

CreatorIQ’s cloud-based platform is used by enterprise companies to manage their influencer marketing efforts at scale. Director of Customer Success Brooke Hennon worked in Silicon Valley prior to moving to Los Angeles. Hennon said that when it comes to California’s two major tech hubs, LA is ahead of San Francisco when it comes to cultivating the next-generation of leaders who are women.

 

What do you think makes Los Angeles unique as a city for women in tech?

Being in LA as a woman working in tech is incredibly exciting — the city is ever-changing and full of creative people. With so many formative entrepreneurs taking the helm in the entertainment space, we’re beginning to transcend just camaraderie and are becoming leaders across the tech industry. Influencer marketing, my industry, is full of brilliant female leaders. This progress feels unique to LA and isn’t so readily available, or even an area of focus, in Silicon Valley.

Being in LA as a woman working in tech is incredibly exciting — the city is ever-changing and full of creative people.

 

Are there any local or company programs, networking events or spaces that have helped you navigate your career?

Here at CreatorIQ, we’re lucky to work with a vast array of partners. One of them is a fantastic networking group called Women in Influencer Marketing. This intimate collective really fosters growth among professionals and career-seekers alike and focuses on sharing best practices across the quickly evolving industry of influencer marketing. I have also learned from the social media data and women in technology events at General Assembly.

 

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