CEO Marlin Page of Sisters Code Discusses The Digital Divide During @techonomy Detroit 2014

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DETROIT – Cass Tech high school and Wayne State University graduate and CEO of Sisters Code, Marlin Page talk’s “women in tech” during Techonomy Detroit 2014 with moderator Andrew Keen of TechCrunch.

“I travel often speaking with young girls about technology” and ”When we look at this digital divide” and “We’re missing a population of women” and “We aren’t taping into this workforce,” said Marlin Page of Sisters Code.

The panel of Brian Forde of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Google’s Chris Genteel, Laura Mather of Unitive, Marlin Page of Sisters Code, and Indiegogo’s Danae Ringelmann discussed way’s to make entrepreneurship more inclusive and the tech industry more of a melting pot in America during Techonomy Detroit 2014.

See Woodlawn Post for the complete article

Lady Paragons Interview – My journey in technology and how we empower women to re-career into the field of technology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had an amazing conversation with Sarah Worsham of Lady Paragons during the Women in STEM Podcast.  We talked about my journey from mortuary science to techie, the importance of awakening the mature geek and empowering women to re-career into technology, the Sisters Code difference, bridging the technology gender gap, the importance of walking in the room and “owning it,” and so much more.

Lady Paragons believe that women and girls can and do excel in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). They are building a community to tell the stories of women in STEM, showcase Women’s STEM organizations, and provide a platform where ladies can help ladies succeed in STEM careers. Click here for more information on Lady Paragons.

Below you will find the link to the podcast.  Check it out…would love your comments.!

http://bit.ly/1q51CVP

Rev. Jesse Jackson says that Tech Diversity is the Next Civil Rights Steps…As an African American Woman, I Disagree.

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Earlier this week it was reported that Rev. Jesse Jackson stated, “Tech Diversity is the next civil rights step.” As an African American Woman with 20+ years in the field of technology, I respectfully DISAGREE with Rev. Jackson’s opinion. As a matter of fact, I believe this type of rhetoric serves as a smokescreen and is not conducive to bridging the racial and gender technology gap. It simply takes our eyes off the prize.

Rev. Jackson’s lobbying tech companies asking them to disclose their hiring data is to be commended. However, now that the numbers have been exposed, this is an opportune time to shift the conversation.

This issue is about an empowerment movement in our African American community. A movement involving empowering us to proactively engage in the field of technology. A movement to transform technology consumers into coders.

There are STEM programs for young people in every state. Coding and Technology Classes for adults are plentiful (although some are one hit wonders with no employment opportunities tied to them…but that’s another conversation). The aforementioned being true now raises questions and shifts the conversation to how we can collectively: 1) improve community awareness and encourage active participation in technology training programs and career opportunities, 2) empower minorities to believe they can succeed in this field, 3) engage job opportunities in the right role given many aspects of technology jobs, not merely, “coding”, 4) engage committed technology employers in a conversation, which leads to hiring entry level non-traditionally, educated technology professionals.

Shifting the conversation must also involve a discussion around a full cycle program of helping successful non-tech workers re-career into the field of technology. We are missing an entire population of adults who are unemployed, underemployed or simply looking for a change. Through our Detroit based organization, Sisters Code, we call it “Awakening the Mature Geek,” and I’m living proof that it will work.

After college, I was an aspiring mortician and middle school teacher.  At the age of 25, I participated in a corporate training program where I learned to code in seven different languages in 13-weeks. My life was instantly transformed as I emerged as a mainframe programmer. I went on to become a global technology corporate executive, Deputy CIO, and Technology CEO. If I did not have my personal technology “awakening”, my life would not be what it is today.

Although my perspective is different from Rev. Jackson’s, it does not mean I don’t recognize the need for deeper engagement across our eco-system. There must be opportunity awareness in the community, identification of individuals who are interested in exploring careers in technology, training and workforce development programs with a direct link to jobs, and corporations who are committed to hiring non-traditionally educated employees.

Speaking from the experience of often being the only woman and person of color at many technology tables, the workforce technology diversity numbers aren’t shocking but I’m 100% sure we can do better.

If we are really serious about bridging the racial and gender technology gap, there must be accountability and engagement among all concerned parties.

Count me in.

Sisters Code in Dbusiness Magazine

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Seeking to boost the number of women in front-end technology — build­ing Web and mobile applications — Detroiter Marlin Page launched Sisters Code. The Detroit nonprofit aims to provide 2,020 females with employable digital skills by the end of 2020.

Already, 50 women have completed the first 13-week program, held at Microsoft Corp.’s regional offices in Southfield. After 500 women are trained in metro Detroit, Sisters Code will expand its curriculum nation­wide. Beyond that, Page says the nonprofit has the potential to operate in perpetuity.

“We provide the students with an hourly salary, which takes away a lot of the barriers of getting to class each day,” she says. “It’s a radical idea — (paying) people to attend classes — but it’s needed. Plus, we provide one-on-one mentoring, and career and life coaching.”

Each class will have 16 students, and no coding experience is needed. To help raise capital for the effort, Page launched a crowd­funding effort earlier this year, and new classes are being planned.

In-kind donors include Microsoft, Henry Ford Health System, Chalkfly, and the Michigan Council of Women in Technology.

“My goal was to weave technology with empowerment,” says Page, a tech­nology strategist for Microsoft. “I also advise parents on what their children are doing with social media. It’s not something you can leave to chance. You need to monitor everything your children are doing online. db

Sisters Code Participants Receive Free Membership to Michigan Council of Women in Technology

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Sending a special thank you to the Michigan Council of Women in Technology for gifting two Sister Code participants with free memberships to their illustrious organization.  MCWT is a progressive organization that inspires and supports women as they enter, advance, and contribute to Michigan’s technology community.

Last week in partnership with Microsoft Corporation we celebrated 50 “New Geeks.”  Since Sisters Code was founded in September 2013, we have trained 50 women to code in Java Script while building interactive websites.  Some of the women have gone on to develop websites, start their own businesses, and enrolled in college courses.  During the celebration, MCWT Executive Director, Janette Phillips motivated the women to believe in themselves and to consider re-careering into technology.

Since launching our 2020 BYTE 2020 Campaign last week,  we have received hundreds of inquiries.  It is evident that women are interested in re-careering into the field of technology, however it is very important that they see people that “look like them,” who are already doing it.

Kudos to MCWT for affording Sisters Code’s participants with an opportunity to network with some of the greatest women in technology.

For more information on MCWT please visit:  www.mcwt.org

 

Sister Code Weekend Website Warrior Graduates to Shadow Developers at Detroit Based Chalkfly

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Two Sister Code Weekend Website Warrior Graduates will have an opportunity to take their new coding skills and shadow some of the best developers in the City of Detroit.  Chalkfly is an organization that is really working tirelessly to make a positive impact in the community.

As we move towards bridging the technology gender gap, it is very important for women to “see people” who are actually working in the field, and Chalkfly has stepped up to give our participants that opportunity.   “Sisters Code is larger than a class, and we will not be a “one hit wonder.”  This is a movement to bridge the technology gender gap, therefore we cannot just teach a class and not offer support for further career growth.   Asking corporations to offer opportunities like this doesn’t cost anything, however a shadowing or mentoring experience could potentially transform the life of a woman. I would say that the “ask” is worth it,” states Sisters Code Founder, Marlin Page.

Chalkfly’s entire business culture is stemmed in giving back and uplifting the community.  When you purchase an item from their online office supply store a portion of your purchase goes DIRECTLY to a teacher of your choice.  We all know that teachers are always looking for ways to enhance our children’s learning experience, and Chalkfly’s effort helps get them closer to that goal.

Click here for more information on Chalkfly.

From Zumba Instructor to Website Developer – Women in Technology in Detroit

In December 2013 a fearless young lady, Chandra Floyd decided to “Awaken the Mature Geek,” and attend Sisters Code Weekend Website Warrior Experience. Chandra took a break from her work as a Zumba Instructor, and decided to learn to code using Java Script, HTML, and CSS. She did not have previous programming experience, but at Sisters Code…that is not a problem! Sisters Code offers an unconventional style of coding education where we provide: motivation, inspiration, sisterhood, and eliminating barriers by addressing the digital divide and providing all participants with the hardware and software needed to be successful in our classes – definitely not a “one hit wonder.” As proven with Chandra we are transforming the lives of women through technology

In the video she mentioned that the class was life changing, I think she didn’t realize how fast that change would come. One month after the class, Chandra shared some excellent news. I will let Chandra tell you in her own words:

“I’m doing it!!!! I am making my dream a reality. I found an opportunity and seized it. A woman commented in a group that she wanted to do a certain thing (whatever it was I forget) but first she had to get her website in order. I inboxed her and said that in addition to my Zumba classes, I do websites now. I’m looking to build a portfolio and I’d like to volunteer to work on her site.

She agreed to meet me, and I have my first stakeholder meeting this Saturday! I’ll use the resources from Sisters Code to create a checklist of questions to ask her and to define expectations. I will put a time limit and parameters so the project doesn’t drag on forever.

*singing* I’m so excited! I just can’t hide it! I’m about to lose control and I think I like it!” – Chandra Floyd.

Congratulations!

Sisters Code Business Spotlight – Automation Alley

Social Enterprise Sisters Code Empowers Detroit Women, Transforms Lives Through Technology

We are living in a digital age that is increasingly defined by computer programs that require coding. Most of us have conquered how to work, play, socialize and consume information on apps, but very few of us understand the technology that makes them work. And when that discussion shifts to women, the number is even more alarming. Women make up 46.7 percent of the U.S. workforce, but they represent less than 25 percent of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workers, according to Detroit-based Sisters Code. The founder of this new social enterprise, Marlin Page, is determined to change that statistic.Launched in August, Sisters Code is on a mission to educate, empower and entice women – of all ages and ethnic backgrounds – to explore the world of coding and technology. The Sisters Code vision is to not only get women interested in learning to code, but to ultimately help them land jobs in technology fields.

“It is undeniable that jobs in the technology industry are not going anywhere. No matter the career you choose, you will touch a piece of technology. In every area of our lives, technology is here, and I believe it is very important for people to learn how to code,” said Page, who, in addition to being the brains behind the Sisters Code movement, also travels the country as a STEM speaker and strategist.

During her speaking engagements, Page found that her message was not reaching an important segment of the population: mature women. “I actually started off my professional career as an aspiring mortician and also a middle school substitute teacher in Detroit,” she said. “I thought, what if someone never offered me that opportunity? Then I wouldn’t have this awesome career I have today.”

Page said she knows how it feels to be underrepresented in the world of technology and coding. She made the decision at 25 during her summer break from teaching to learn to code. “It was a hard reality when I started coding. There were women in my class, but by the end, there weren’t many left. The numbers were even more glaring when I entered the executive level of my career,” she said.

Click here for full story

Million Women Mentors Launches National Movement to Mobilize One Million Mentors of Girls & Young Women in STEM Education and Careers

Photo courtesy of STEMConnector

Photo courtesy of STEMConnector

Million Women Mentors (MWM) was launched on January 8, 2014 in an effort to engage one million science, technology, engineering, and math  (STEM) mentors.  The initiative’s goal is to empower females to actively pursue STEM education and careers.   MWM has 13 corporate sponsors and more thatn 40 organizations dedicated to mentoring and increasing access to professionals working in the STEM field.

MWM’s launch includes the debut of the website www.millionwomenmentors.org, which will be developed in phases. The first phase will include a national call to action for those interested in mentoring.  The second and third phase will pair mentors and mentees in STEM Fields.

“We have the responsibility as a country to move the needle on girls and young women in STEM careers from 24 percent of our current workforce to 50 percent,” said Edie Fraser, CEO of STEMconnector and Co-Founder of Million Women Mentors.

“STEM careers offer women and girls the opportunity to engage in some of the most exciting realms of innovation. TCS believes we collectively need an all hands on deck approach, clearing hurdles as women navigate careers in STEM, and paving the way towards realizing greater equality and economic success,” said Surya Kant, Tata Consultancy Services’ President for North America, UK & Europe. “We are proud to be a Founding Partner of MWM and pledge our commitment to make mentoring accessible to girls and women across the nation, especially those from underrepresented minorities.”

Founding Sponsors include: Accenture, Cisco, Sodexo, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in addition to Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, Microsoft Research, Walmart and ADP. Silver sponsors include: Adecco Group North America, General Motors, Intellectual Ventures and UST Global.

Sisters Code Perspective:  When I entered the field of technology, I didn’t have a formal mentor and unfortunately there were not many females at the technology table.  Luckily, I found a mentor and he taught me the value of learning to code and helped me to navigate through a field filled with men.  I believe that a formal mentoring program and allowing young girls the ability to see “someone who looks like them,” in the tech field will  definitely help to bridge the gender gap in technology.   Sisters Code has joined the movement pledging to mentor help females looking to re-career into the field of technology!  We are looking forward to joining the movement!

Question:  Do you think mentoring will help empower girls in STEM?

Click Here to Find out more about MWM

Local Organization Sisters Code bring technology event to Metro Detroit

Detroit, Mich. - Sisters Code, a social enterprise dedicated to introducing and empowering women to explore the world of technology, in conjunction with Microsoft, will host the organization’s inaugural “Weekend Website Warrior” program Friday, August 23 – Saturday, August 24. The program will be held at the Microsoft Technology Center, located at: 1000 Town Center, Suite 350, in Southfield, Mich.

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