D.C.-based Tech, Rebalanced welcomed new members to its leadership team and launched a podcast to amplify voices working to diversify the tech industry.
The nonprofit hosts coding, creativity and civic activism programming for beginners and advanced tech professionals alike, especially of genders that are underrepresented in technology. Natalia Barnhart, Eugenia Fernandez and Melanie Laffin join the organization’s cofounders Meag Doherty and Kelly Miller to lead programming. The five leaders will continue to be advised by the board that Tech, Rebalanced established last summer.
The leadership change comes nearly two years after the organization rebranded to Tech, Rebalanced from Tech Lady Hackathon to become more inclusive. Another change came when Rekha Tenjarla, a previous co-leader, departed the organization last November to relocate to New York for an editorial interactives developer position at The New Yorker.
“Tech, Rebalanced was already a lot to handle for just three organizers so we wanted to take the opportunity to restructure and build a bigger leadership team with new talent,” Miller told Technical.ly. “Eugenia, Natalia and Melanie are all greatly accomplished but also relatively new to the ‘DC tech community scene.’ This balance of experience with fresh perspective was really important to us and we’re a better organization for it.”
Barnhart is a consultant at JPI, an information technology and program management consulting firm, and she co-leads a group of volunteers in the D.C. area working to support refugees. Fernandez is a data scientist at Inter-American Development Bank, while Laffin is a data scientist at Booz Allen Hamilton — and the host of the new Tech, Rebalanced podcast.
The organization’s new podcast will highlight stories from people of underrepresented genders in technology on their career paths, and about how to navigate the #dctech community. The first episode is live and features Eva Reid, a senior analyst and trainer at the Office of the Chief Technology Officer. Some upcoming guests of the show include Alexis Ewing Moody, senior software engineer at Morning Consult, and Leilani Battle, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland.
“It’s a different world now and we want to meet our community where they are and to engage in a way that makes sense,” said Miller, who joined FTI Consulting as its senior director this June.
To better inform its programming through the rest of the year, Tech, Rebalanced is running a survey and calling on community members to participate so it can shape its next steps. The organization hasn’t hosted any virtual events during the pandemic, but it’s hoping the new podcast will bring people together in a different way.
“We want to reach new people who are looking for our kind of community but don’t want to lose sight of our guiding principle of radical inclusion,” Miller said. “Creating a truly inclusive, safe space — that some attendees have described as ‘magical’ — requires a real focus. We want to continue to be a safe haven for an even larger community, but in the borderless digital environment, it would be really easy to grow too fast and lose our sparkle.”
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