In Celebration of International Women’s Day 2020

Published March 10, 2020 by Luke Oliff
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To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, we wanted to do something special. Some of us took part in events last year and had tons of support from our colleagues to do so. But this year, we really wanted to make a measured effort to celebrate the amazing journeys, stories and voices of our colleagues and the fantastic people around us.

Stories and Journeys From Our Colleagues

This Community Is Unlike Any Other and I Am Proud to Be a Part of It

Bethany Loft is a Developer Community Event Manager working mostly from the London office. She has shared her journey into tech via an anthropology degree.

“I hung around at events so much that computing lecturers often mistook me to be one of their students”

Yes, I Am a Developer, and Yes, I Am a Woman

Marina Serrano Montes is an Applications Development Lead who shared her career story so far and how she co-founded Girls in Tech Spain.

“Women need to take part in the tech revolution, and tech needs more women. Let’s make it happen!”

My Journey in the Tech World as a Female

Renita Santos is a Data Provisioner at Vonage and she shares her journey here and her honest advice for women joining the tech community.

“My sincere message to other women is to tap into the richness of their inner beings”

A Retrospective for Men in Tech

Lauren Lee is a Developer Education Manager working remotely in the US. Lauren gives us a retrospective for men in tech. Things to stop doing, things to start doing, and things to continue doing.

“Stop assuming that if there aren’t women on your team that it’s because they didn’t earn a spot.”

It’s 2020, and I’m Still Here

Chen Hui Jing is a Developer Advocate working for Vonage in Singapore. Hui Jing discusses how the written requirements of some roles can leave you with doubt and the feeling of inadequacy. But, getting down to writing code makes all of these doubts disappear.

“I don’t fit nicely into boxes. I’m the wrong shape for a box.”

The One Where Nahrin Talks About Her Journey to Tech

Nahrin Jalal is a Developer Educator working remotely for Vonage in Canada. Nahrin talks about how the culture of personal sacrifice in return for progression in a legal career allowed her to refocus on tech.

“You’re not too old. It’s not too late. Always keep learning. Take risks. Don’t settle”

It’s 2020, and Words Matter

Alex Lakatos is a Developer Advocate working remotely for Vonage in the UK. Alex draws attention to the importance of using inclusive language after a recent tech conference experience.

“I’ve always cringed inside when I heard others using biased expressions, but I didn’t speak up about it.”

How I Broke Into the World of Developers, Without Being One

Daniela Facchinetti is a Developer Education Coordinator working for Vonage in London. Daniela talks about learning to code and her choice to pursue a career in tech.

“Editors didn’t exist back then, and everything I did, I did it with Notepad.”

Nevertheless, Diana Coded

Diana Rodriguez Manrique is a Developer Advocate working remotely for Vonage in the US. Diana reflects on how her childhood influenced her career choice. And, how her experiences in tech helped her to focus on improving diversity and inclusion in her tech communities.

“This job combines my passions: Python and public speaking/writing content”

Nevertheless, Alyssa Mazzina…Wrote About Code

Alyssa Mazzina is a Content Marketing Manager working remotely for Vonage in the US. Alyssa reflects on how she leveraged her degree to empower her in developer communities.

“What else do you do with an English degree?”

Nevertheless, Lorna Jane Mitchell Coded

Lorna Jane Mitchell is a Developer Advocate working remotely for Vonage in the UK. Lorna is dev by day, dev by night. Contributing to our ecosystem by day, contributing to her communities by night.

“My biggest hope is that my tech community starts to understand that diversity is more than a woman included in a conference lineup”

Nevertheless, Tasmere Never Quit Troubleshooting

Tasmere Peterson is an Advanced Operations Technician working for Vonage in the US. Tasmere talks about when she retrained, she wanted a career that would be challenging, creative and fun.

“Bravery is contagious, being more vocal will encourage us all to do the same”

It’s 2020, Here’s to Supporting People Through Their Journeys

Laura Czajkowski is a Developer Relations Manager working remotely for Vonage in the UK. Laura shares her journey from university to tech and how male-dominated teams left her with imposter syndrome, despite having worked hard to get there.

“My journey of working with companies that wanted to engage with communities and open-source had begun, and I was loving it”

My Journey in Tech as a Noncoder

Myrsini Koukiasa is a Senior Community Manager working for Vonage in London. Myrsini walks through her journey to tech through events management.

“Experience in tech wasn’t necessary, and within a month of moving to the UK, I miraculously landed a job planning global events”

I’m Luke, and I Could Do More

Luke Oliff is a Developer Educator working remotely for Vonage in the UK. Luke talks about why it’s important for men in tech to use their privilege as a platform, ask difficult questions and not leave it to women to fight for diversity and inclusion.

“Being an ally isn’t some achievement you unlock because you retweeted some outrage of the gender pay gap average in your country”

Nevertheless, Lisa Venezia Coded

Lisa Venezia is a Business Analyst working for Vonage in the US. Lisa is a developer by education, employed as a business analyst in a company and role that benefits from her experience with code.

“I thought maybe coding wasn’t the path my life was meant to take. But in my personal life, I still liked to set up websites”

I’m Julia, and We Deserve to Be Here

Julia Biro is a Developer Advocate working remotely for Vonage in the UK. Julia’s an artistic techie who loves low-code solutions to using technology, and writing about it.

“I’m a freelancer, a contractor, I have my own company, I work for an API company, I work in DevRel, I’m the one doing the avocado drawings”

London Breakfast Meeting

On March 3rd, the DevRel team hosted over 50 people to attend talks by internal and external speakers where they spoke about their careers, their role models and other topics they’re passionate about. Speakers included Melinda Seckington, Dr Sarah Wiseman, and Jessica Rose. And, our very own Marie Laurendeau, Acacia De Almeida and Hui Jing Chen.

Melinda took us on a journey of her career in tech. It involved everything from studying at university (and how this led her to her current role), to writing a movie blog, winning hackathons, and organising tech events in London.

Dr Sarah Wiseman spoke about research she has undertaken throughout her career with topics spanning from how people use emoji to communicate to create an immersive theatre experience.

Jessica Rose focused on the topic of imposter syndrome and provided tips on how to mitigate it.

Marie’s talk touched upon the topic of balancing career with family life. She mentioned working with female leaders in her previous job in France and how they became her role models. She also mentioned how supported she’s felt at Vonage with taking time off for her growing family while progressing in her role.

Acacia talked about her journey to becoming part of the TokBox family and how she grabbed the opportunity to take on a new challenge and move to London to join the Vonage API Group Product team.

Hui Jing joined over video from Singapore. She shared stories centred around women-led and women-inclusive initiatives from local communities that she is involved with.

Tel Aviv Breakfast Meeting

On March 8th, the Tel Aviv office hosted more than 50 people to attend talks by Adi Altschuler who formerly led Google for Education (Israel) where she would advise teachers on the use of I.T. with the goal of transforming Israel’s education system. Adi left Google to found Inclu – Special for All that promotes inclusive education in Israel through a network of public inclusive schools.

It was inspiring to hear about her initiatives focused on inclusion. She spoke about Krembo Wings which provides weekly social activities for youth with different types of disabilities and their able-bodied peers. Zikaron Basalon is another of Adi’s organization which supports active Holocaust remembrance and commemoration by small groups. The organization now numbers in the 10s of thousands.

Adi really touched the hearts of employees with her lessons of building inclusive communities, especially in schools.

Each for Equal

The International Women’s Day campaign theme is #EachforEqual for 2020. #EachforEqual is a call to action, to motivate everyone in support of celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

We encouraged colleagues around the world to strike the #EachforEqual pose, and snap a picture to share. Across Vonage we had hundreds of individuals take part and share their pictures.

Dress for Success

Several office locations hosted a clothing drive for Dress for Success, to benefit women who may have been affected by domestic violence or socio-economic challenges by providing gently used business attire, removing a common barrier to success and fostering confidence and empowerment as they begin interviewing.

Other International Events

Vonage CEO Alan Masarek shared his thoughts on International Women’s Day to the entire company, and about how important inclusion was towards our goal of becoming a destination place to work. We also hosted a live-stream with Kristy Fall of Rutgers, who shared her experience in entrepreneurship and provided advice on leadership across different industries.

Each office has a dedication board where colleagues could write messages and dedications and pin them to board.

The Holmdel office held a meetup and invited colleagues to make dedications and share their views on inclusion.

Our other UK office based in Basingstoke held a breakfast and Food for Thought interactive workshop session where colleagues shared thoughts on inclusion.

Our Wroclaw, Poland and Munich, Germany offices both held breakfast events and workshops with office leadership giving closing talks.

In Closing

We are proud to be elevating voices within the Vonage community this International Women’s Day. Thank you to all who supported our various initiatives and helped shine a light on issues women and non-binary folks face in the software industry.

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