Baltimore is near the top of city rankings for women in tech. And when it comes to connecting with the community, it can start just by going out on a limb and reaching out to someone for coffee or meeting up at an event.
The messages from a panel of nine leaders at Startup Grind Baltimore’s Monday night event at Spark Baltimore: Believe in yourself. Be confident Don’t be afraid to be make a mistake. And be willing to ask or help.
“You have everything inside of you that you need to build your business and to live out your dream,” said Chantel Clea Goins, of Moms as Entrepreneurs.
Another key takeaway: the importance of convening a community of allies. The panelists themselves represented the local groups putting the spotlight on women technologists and providing resources. They’re working across tech, entrepreneurship and education.
“It doesn’t matter if a woman is working on a piece of code or in something in a lab, we all need the same types of support at the end of the day,” said Lindsay D’Ambrosio, a Baltimore-based leader with Women in Bio Capital Region.
With that in mind, here’s more about each of the groups that were represented.
Baltimore Women in Tech, the meetup group made up of women and female-identifying technologists that hosts events and education programming throughout the year to showcase women in tech initiatives in the Baltimore region. Cofounder Shervonne Cherry said the meetup grew out of a Facebook group and then began organizing events.
Code in the Schools, the computer science education nonprofit that provides programming inside and outside Baltimore city schools. For the last several years, the group has organized the Girls in CS Summit, said Qubilah Huddleston.
Lesbians Who Tech Baltimore, a community of LGBTQ women and allies. It’s connected to a national network of more than 40,000 people promoting visibility, leadership and education. “Having this community behind me, I feel more empowered, I feel more confident,” said local chapter leader Kayla Tullis.
Moms as Entrepreneurs, the program which runs academy programs for entrepreneurs and makers on building a business. The spring expo featuring graduates of the program is June 5 at Morgan State University.
Women Techmakers Baltimore, the Google-affiliated meetup group that aims to be a resource for women technologists in Baltimore. Launched in Baltimore in 2017 by Kristie Callander, the group holds events featuring discussion on tech and career paths.
Ladies Get Paid Baltimore, a community seeking to help women achieve their professional goals and get paid fairly. The group organizes IRL meetups, and also taps into an online community. It was represented by Lois Sarfo-Mensah and Chelsea Keene. For her part, Keene also is a founder of SmartLogic’s Women in Tech Micro Grants program, which has supported initiatives created by women to connect women in tech.
Women in Bio Capital Region, the DMV-wide group that’s dedicated to promoting and opening up opportunities for women in life sciences and biotech “from the classroom to the boardroom,” said D’Ambrosio. The group organizes events and mentoring groups. The Capital Region was initially the national headquarters for the group before becoming its own chapter in 2011, and has since grown.
Hack Baltimore, the city wide hackathon that’s bringing together multiple groups to develop solutions for the city that are designed to be sustainable, and used by the people who they are built for. The early stages of the 2020 event are underway.
Smart City Baltimore, the committee bringing together citizens, businesses, community leaders and government officials that was organized by the Baltimore City Department of Information and Technology as the city explores using technology to solve key challenges. Leaders talked about the importance of inclusion. Karina Mandell represented the latter two groups.
Knowledge is power!
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