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.


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, 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