How Female Entrepreneurs Can up Their Game With Tech Skills By Avery Taylor Phillips


If you’re not learning, you’re already falling behind. Being an entrepreneur is no walk in the park, especially if you’re a woman. The need for more entrepreneurs in the U.S. is undisputed, and though the rewards and benefits of entrepreneurship are enough to put in the effort, you need an extra edge if you want to be successful.

That’s where the tech industry comes in. Technology is everywhere; there’s no escaping it. Instead of fighting it or just learning the bare minimum, why not embrace this field and go all out? This male-dominated industry is ripe for the influence and innovation only a woman’s perspective can bring.

Tech jobs cannot be filled fast enough and many companies bemoan not being able to find enough qualified workers. Through technology, your entrepreneurial options become endless. All you have to do is take advantage of them.

Beauty and the Tech

Believe it or not, women were the pioneers of the tech industry. At one time, they even outnumbered men in this field. In the past, many women gravitated towards majoring in math, giving them the knowledge and skills that were necessary for computer science.

Women such as Jean Jennings Bartik and Grace Hopper made great advancements in this field, though they weren’t given much credit. Perhaps the lack of known female role models in technology was what led to the eventual decline of women in computer science occupations.

Many tech firms now only sport a 30 percent female employment rate. It was around the late 1980s when female computer science majors dropped below 20 percent. Before that, 40 percent of computer science majors were women.

What caused this decline? During this time, personal computers were on the rise. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were all over the news, and people took notice. Soon, computers were associated solely with boys and men.

Male students became the top picks of schools with technology programs, and women were left to pursue other degrees. However, things are changing now that the gender gap is becoming a more recognized issue in public discourse.

Tech 101

So now you have an interest in tech, but what exactly do you focus on? There are so many fields in technology to explore, and although you can’t really go wrong with any of them, here are some tech skills entrepreneurs must have to succeed:

  • Coding: learning some coding basics can do wonders for your website. HTML and CSS dictate how your site looks and works. Java and Python are other options to look into as well.
  • Big Data: Being able to analyze large sets of data and derive patterns from that data is an incredibly useful skill to have. Big data analysis can help you narrow down a target audience and inform business decisions, not to mention getting a leg up on the competition.
  • Online Accounting: Every business needs to keep their finances in order, including yours. Find an accounting software that offer billing and receipt tracking features and anything else your specific business requires.
  • The Cloud: As technology advances, more and more signs are pointing towards data storage in the cloud. That being said, you’re gonna need to learn how to use Google Drive and Dropbox (both are great timesavers and lifesavers). It makes sharing and storing content much easier.
  • Graphic Design: The saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” definitely does not apply to the website of a new business. How your website looks design-wise can be as important as the business itself. Bad website and logo design can be enough to deter many potential customers. So effective content marketing graphics with Photoshop and Illustrator is a must.
  • Mobile: More likely than not, there’s probably a cellphone on your person right now. That being said, you need to make sure your business is easily accessible on peoples’ phones. Once your website is optimized for mobile users, your business will be accessible to a much wider audience.
  • Email: Email is one of the most important tech skills you can have. It is one of the quickest and easiest ways of communication and can be made even more efficient by learning shortcuts and employing automated emails.
  • Social Media: Social media skills are also a necessity to have when trying to get the word out about your business. The benefits of sharing media (such as video) for your business are numerous. You can gather a multitude of useful information from social media free of charge. Plus, it’s a way to better connect with your customers as well.

Tech Savvy Education

As mentioned before, a career in tech entails a lifetime of learning. Fortunately, there are many routes one can take to gain a better understanding of computer science. There are plenty of free resources, such as tutorials, blogs, ebooks and workshops, that are available to gain a basic understanding of a particular subject.

To get a more in-depth education, it’s best to go to school and major in a degree such as computer science. Whichever path you decide to take, it’s best to set some goals for yourself. It’s important to reach the goals you set to not only boost your confidence, but also to grow personally.

The opportunities for entrepreneurial growth are at its peak, especially if you are a woman. A female perspective is much needed and desired in this industry. Instead of waiting and letting this opportunity pass you by, take the initiative and become the newest pioneer in tech.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Avery Taylor Phillips – Avery is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.  Check out her blog on https://www.equities.com/user/AveryTaylorPhillips

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Women in Business – The Legal Art of Self-Defense

Contributed article in our Women’s Health series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

There was a time when women were called the “weaker sex” or the “fairer sex,” both implying that she was too weak to do much about defending herself if the need should arise.

Royalty Free Photo

Things have changed greatly in the past few decades and women are now better armed than many men and can fend for themselves with the right set of ‘tools.’ If you are a woman in business, chances are at some point in your career some ill-advised robber will try to attack you for perceived money or goods they think you might be carrying. Why not focus on learning the totally legal art of self-defense? Continue reading

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WHY PUT ON A SHOW IN THESE TURBULENT TIMES? by Pamela Rose


As if spending two years researching, writing, collaborating and rehearsing with extraordinary artists wasn’t challenging enough, lately I’ve been dogged with the question  – why bother, in these turbulent times, to ‘put on a show’?

BLUES IS A WOMAN is a story I can honestly say that I’ve been driven to tell.  The fierce, audacious voices of women in the blues have always inspired me – and of course, carries on the mission of the Wild Women of Song project to honor key women in music.
I began my career as a blues singer: a teenager belting out Bessie Smith and Koko Taylor songs. The fierce, independent messages written and sung by powerful women, helped shape my own identity as a feminist — especially in the mostly-male world of live music in the early 1980’s.

What I did not imagine was just how RELEVANT it all has turned out to be. In Act 2 of BLUES IS A WOMAN, the ensemble turns an eye to post WW2 music and culture.  Everything was changing so fast – as soldiers returned home from the war, there was an uneasy feeling that somehow things should, but wouldn’t, go back to the way they used to be.  Lots of women didn’t want to give up that factory job.  Proud black soldiers couldn’t stomach being called ‘boy’ again.

It was a tectonic shift in American culture – as Aretha sang “Respect” and “Freedom”, protestors took to the streets for Civil Rights and Women’s Rights.  Nina Simone’s “Backlash Blues” is an extraordinary cry against political hypocrisy.

Why put on a show about women and the blues?  Well, as it turns out, there couldn’t be a more important time to remember and celebrate our cultural inter-connectedness.  It turns out this is exactly the right time to celebrate black culture, it’s importance to all popular music, and to hear the voices of powerful women.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
Pamela Rose is a professional musician: vocalist, bandleader, songwriter and educator. While performing weekly in the Bay Area, Rose has also been touring nationally with the Wild Women of Song project, a concert series devoted to giving voice to remarkable women in American music.

Upcoming shows:
Thurs Feb 2 – Angelica’s Redwood City, 7:30 to 9:30 pm
Thurs Feb 16 – BLUES IS A WOMAN show debut – Kuumbwa Jazz Club, Santa Cruz, 7:00 pm
Thurs March 2 – Angelica’s Redwood City, 7:30 to 9:30 pm
Thurs March 30 – BLUES IS A WOMAN CD Release and concert – Freight & Salvage, Berkeley, 8:00 pm
www.bluesisawoman.com
www.pamelarose.com
prosesong@gmail.com

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Finding Women in the Information Systems Environment by Beata Green

Beata GREENThere is a marked gap between the number of male and female students enrolled in computer science in schools. That means very few women are entering into a computing career. Moreover, this is a concern, because the lack of women in information systems careers can actually slow down the economy. Not only that, but the risk trickles down to companies who are missing out on the more diverse teams that studies say will make their businesses more successful.

There are a host of benefits to acquiring female talent, one being better returns. Women, when placed in general leadership positions can offer far higher returns to shareholders and investors.

The fact that there are fewer women in information systems means that they can be very difficult to find, let alone attract for a business. However, there are ways to locate the talented female coders you seek.

Explore Different Networks
Do you currently know any female developers? If you don’t, chances are you won’t be able to use your existing networking channels to find them. Instead, try and connect with individuals from other networks, and explore your opportunities there.

Support and Encourage Existing Female Talent
Are there women who are already working for your organisation that would be a good fit in the developer role? Identify the strengths and qualities you want in a female developer, and then set about finding and interviewing them. Ensuring that potential female developers feel supported and encouraged will help them to feel more comfortable with new challenges.

But the challenge lies not only in finding women to work for your company; it will also require a change to the way your existing company culture is structured. It also requires you to effect a change in how women developers are perceived by those who already work for your company.

Change Your Company Culture
If you are currently working with teams of male coders but want to harness female talent, a culture change will likely be necessary. Many business owners believe that new female team members will simply adapt to the existing company culture. However, this won’t be beneficial to the new team member or to your business. To make any team member feel welcome, you must understand how they communicate, and then learn how to communicate in their language. That includes new female team members.

A Non-Competitive Environment
A non-competitive culture can provide far more benefits to your company than a competitive one. When everyone is on the same playing field, individual talent can be utilised far more efficiently. This kind of environment places importance and value on all team members, and can present a much more welcoming place for coders of all genders to work.

Don’t Change the Focus for Female Interviewees
Believe it or not, talking about the work-life balance your company offers will not impress female interviewees. A woman engineer, coder or developer will be interested in the challenges they will be solving at your company, just as male interviewees would. If you have a set of especially difficult challenges that you are dealing with, put the spotlight on these at the interview.

Some studies suggest that even simply removing any gendered pronouns from employee communication before handing it to your team can be enough. When management shows no gender bias, it can set an example for employees. Although this may seem like a simple solution, it can go a long way to communicating to existing and potential employees that you are interested in talent, regardless of the gender from which it may originate.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Beata Green is Managing Director of HeadChannel Ltd., London based bespoke software development company. She is responsible for overall strategic direction and overseeing the company’s continuing growth, building closer client relationships and maintaining best working practices. She enjoys brisk country walks with her red fox labrador and then relaxing in front of a TV crime drama with a glass of red wine.

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Shirley Wiefling, an Inspirational Early Women Entrepreneur!!

 “I’m particularly thrilled to see Shirley’s story here because . . . she’s my inspiration, my closest friend, and  . . . I’m very fortunate to say that I’m her daughter.  I’m so proud of you, Mom!” – Kimberly Wiefling, Author, Scrappy Project Management and Scrappy Women in Business

Mother by Day, Entrepreneur by Night: Shirley Wiefling Shares Her Inspirational Experience as a Woman at the Forefront of Business.

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Stand up and Sing: Pamela Rose Shares Her Story of Celebrating Women in Early Jazz and Blues by Shannon Galiotto

BiD-Women award 2014 pic Pamela RosePamela Rose presents Wild Women of Song is a captivating showpiece celebrating the lives, times and music of the Women songwriters of the Tin Pan Alley era. With dramatic projected images, and superb storytelling, Rose artfully delivers a cultural retrospective while treating the audience to a wonderful live jazz and blues concert.

I had the wonderful chance to interview Pamela on the phone.  Let us hear her story.
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Interview with Barbara Nunes by Mahima Dutt

Barbara Nunes NEWTalking on the phone with Barbara Nunes, a member of Board of Trustees of the Fremont Union High School District was an honor. Nunes has served as a professor in the SJSU Urban High School Leadership Program for administrative credential candidates; as co-director of Tomorrow’s Leaders Today (a community program for teens); and as a representative on the National Merit Scholarship Advisory Board. She was employed by FUSHD for over 35 years and is caring, hardworking and passionate about her career in education. Nunes discusses her personal reasons for entering the welcoming field of education and what her job has been like a trustee on the board. She also shares memorable aspects of her work as well as learning experiences that helped her grow and succeed.

Q: What prompted you to pursue a career in the field of education?

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Simply Dream Your Own Dream by Madalina Bucheru

madalina_bucheru_blog  KWBeing from Eastern Europe (Romania) always gave me a special view of the world, and pushed me to move forward. Eastern Europe is a wonderful place for vacation trips, river cruises and short 15 seconds bits in the news… For me, as a journalist fresh out of college, it was way more: it was my battle ground, the place where I would become someone, make a difference, have my voice heard. Well, it turned out that was not the case, as getting a decent job in any kind of media would actually be reduced to just two simple basic skills: copy and paste! So there I was, after 4 years in college and working at small newspapers, completely lost and confused on whether journalism has actually a voice in Romania. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a job posting within a nonprofit. And that was the beginning of my own dream.

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Blessings from the School of Hard Knocks by Dr. Kevin B Kreitman

kreitman_kevin_1-9-21-11-6490-2Maybe it was my name.

My parents named me Kevin, although no one had the courage to tell me how, uh, unusual a name like mine was for a girl.  That is, until 3rd grade when a little boy named Kevin joined the class and I asked the teacher why his parents had given him a girl’s name.

I was also blessed with parents who told me that I could do anything I wanted to do that I put my mind to.  I’m sure they didn’t intend for that to include my early career as a motorcycle mechanic and several years as an owner-operator in the long-haul trucking business.
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Closing the Confidence Gap: Stop Waiting for Permission! by Kathy Klotz-Guest

(Originally posted at Kathy Klotz-Guest’s Linkedin Blog on May 06, 2014 – www.linkedin.com/in/kathyklotzguest)

Last week, I wrote about the Confidence Gap for women and how important it is to step up to uncertainty and re-frame the way we look at risk. In that post, I talked about a key concept from improvisation – the cornerstone principle of “yes, and” – that we can use to exercise our risk-taking muscles and build confidence.

Closely related to confidence and risk is the issue of permission. Too many people are waiting for validation and permission to do the most important thing in the world: be themselves and do the things they are passionate about. Stop waiting for the external OK to be you and build what you need to build in the world.

If you want to be great, stop asking for permission.

Kathy Pic1-2 real

Truth In Comedy and Life

There’s truth in comedy. In improvisation, we endow our on-stage partners with character traits: gender, relationships, names, idiosynchrasies, etc., in order to build great scenes.

It’s also important to endow yourself on stage and off. In improvisation, I often hear from women, “Why am I always endowed as a mom, or a teacher, or a girl, or a whatever?” That usually means an uninteresting and weaker character. There is some truth here – men tend to endow women with certain qualities. Hell, I’ve said this very thing in frustration a number of times. Years ago, a great male friend and fellow improviser finally said this to me: “What the hell are you waiting for? Why don’t you jump in there and force the guys to keep up? Don’t put up with that!” He was right. I’ve started a business and an improv group for Pete’s sake. Yet, here I was expecting someone else to endow me, to recognize me…to give me permission to shape my on-stage character. Why? What the hell! It made no sense. I should know better, right?!

Listen, we can’t control what others do. We can control our choices. Where is it written that we can’t self-endow? We don’t have to wait for permission. Permission comes from within.

The next time I was endowed as a mom, I endowed myself as a werewolf. And a mom. See, they are not incompatible. You want to endow me as a mom? Fine. I will be the biggest, most badass mom – on my terms so I am “yes, and-ing” others ANDmyself.

That’s the key. You must “yes, and” yourself, too. Give yourself permission to be, do, explore, discover, and create.

Kathy Pic2-2

Successful People Don’t Wait for Permission; They Choose Themselves

Dharmesh Shah of Hubspot calls it “selecting yourself.” You get to discover yourself and act on your talents. You don’t need to wait for someone to fund you or give you that column in a magazine, or promote you, or tell you how how great your ideas are. Get your ideas out into the world. When you see a need, step up and use your talents.

Here are some ways to give yourself permission:

1. See it and do it. If it’s something that compels you, find a way to do it. Partner with others if you need to. Start first. You don’t have to know all the answers ahead of time. Life isn’t a straight line; it’s a series of comically (at times) twisted turns.Visualize the start and end. You don’t have to know all the pieces in between just yet. Just start. Somewhere.

2. Speak up. If you feel you have something to say and contribute to a conversation, don’t talk yourself out of it. Your point of view is as valid as someone else’s. How many times have you wanted to say something and didn’t? You censored yourself. Unless it’s a tacky comment or an expletive in an inappropriate setting, what’s the worst that could happen if you speak your mind? You would be surprised at the support you might get.

3. Dare to ask the basic questions. You won’t look silly; you’ll learn.

4. “Yes, and” and ask, “What if?” Engage in possibility thinking. Asking “what if” can be a very powerful tool to jump start possibilities and new ideas. “Yes, and-ing” others and yourself can create a positive dynamic. Remember, “yes, and” doesn’t mean wewill do it; it’s simply opening up a space that says to people, “I hear you.” And when you do this, most people will reciprocate that positive energy.

5. Stop apologizing when you don’t need to. “I’m sorry, but….this may be wrong but….” Nope. Stop. You have a right to your opinion. Own it. We use an apology to soften our stance or lower our status to be equal to others. While men do this, too, women do this far more often in my personal experience. It signals a lack of confidence and that we are waiting for approval. You don’t need no stinkin’ badges and you don’t need no stinkin’ approval. Unless you are a jerk or hurt someone’s feelings, you don’t have to apologize for an idea, a presentation, a failure, etc.

6. Take your seat at the table. Stop waiting for the invite and invite yourself. Donna Brazile, well known democratic strategist and CNN contributor, tells a great story of how she wasn’t invited to a meeting early in her career. So she found out what time the meeting was happening and showed up. All the seats had been “taken” by briefcases – where men had claimed their spots. While they standing and discussing, she marched in, physically moved aside a briefcase and took her spot! She spoke up at the meeting and acted as if she belonged there. The results? She was invited to future meetings. She stopped asking to be invited.

You have something to say and something to offer the world. When you own who you are unabashedly and act according to your values, you step into something pretty great – your own power.

Got that blog or book you want to write? That company you want to start? That non-profit that means so much to you? Or maybe it’s just being a badass mom in an improv scene.

Whatever it is, do it. Stop waiting for permission. Choose yourself.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kathy Klotz-Guest, A marketer and storyteller, helps clients tell compelling stories that get results. The founder of marketing strategy and communications firm, Keeping it Human, she also performs improvisational comedy and kicks jargon’s butt.
Email: kathy@keepingithuman.com.

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