women in tech

Invisible Disabilities, Diversity

Why Research Invisible Disabilities?

I remember talking to friends I had known for years and hinting or telling them about my depression, only to get the response, “But you’re so happy!”

I’ve been living with an invisible disability for what feels like a hundred years.  While living with an observable disability comes with massive burdens, invisible disabilities (IDs) present their own issues for sufferers.  IDs can be crippling for anyone trying to take part in normal society.

Earlier this year I had a sudden exit from a relationship and was struggling at my full-time job.  In a moment of boldness/weakness, I reached out to one of my safe women’s communities online to see if anyone else was feeling like I was.  That turned into informal interviews, which snowballed into more formal interviews.  That all resulted in a proposal to the Grace Hopper Celebration about Invisible Disabilities, women, and careers.  There were a lot of similarities, but the most glaring is that this is a tough topic to talk about and is often overlooked because often the symptoms are ‘invisible’.

Each story I receive reminds me that I’m not alone.  And every time I tell my own story, I heal just a little more and become stronger.

The goal of this project is to put a voice to the struggles of professional women with invisible disabilities.  Around 10% of the population suffers from them (https://www.disabled-world.com/disability/types/invisible/), meaning there are plenty of stories, plenty of data, and plenty of room for progress.  The more voices are heard about the subject, the closer we will become to a society that accommodates the real-life struggle of invisible disabilities.

Want to get stronger by adding your story to the research?  Even if you choose to remain anonymous, having your story added to the research will get us all that much closer to mass awareness and understanding.  Fill out the form below.

#InvisiblyDisabledLooksLike, #WomenInTech, #WomenInBusiness

Diversity, career

#ASK for your participation, ladies!

I recently left my 9-to-5 job and am picking up some research on #invisibledisability for #womenintech and #womeninbusiness that I starter earlier this year. Previously some wonderful woman participated in conversations about their life, work, and how the disability impacted them.

I am seeking women to participate in this survey: 


If you feel like you fit in with the research or are open to sharing it I would GREATLY appreciate it - looking to get 100 women to share their experiences by the end of the year!

Diversity, career, HR

#WomenColorTech at Microsoft

Agenda and list of speakers for the evening. 

Agenda and list of speakers for the evening. 

Before: Pleasantly surprised at both the turnout and the makeup of the audience. This is the first diversity event dominated by a diverse group of attendees. Also the first diversity related event in which there seem to be more corporate than startup. 


- "diversity is super profitable."
- No pomp and circumstance, getting right into the speakers and the meat of the event.
- First all black panel I've seen. Badass.
- Barabino: personal, professional, and STEM identity
- "You're going to be a great CTO. And you're going to be a great mom" - Minerva Tantoco (twitter

Overall: Very strong event around diversity and women of color in tech. Microsoft partnered with Startup52 brought together insightful and bold panelists and speakers who weren't afraid to give some real talk about problems, solutions, and how they've been affected as women in STEM industries. 

jobs, life lessons, career

Hackathon Wisdom for a Non-Coder

In late April I volunteered for an all female hackathon--#SheHacksNYC**-- sponsored by Monarq at Trello's lofty offices in the Financial District, NYC.  Over 30 women had submitted project ideas, teams were created, and by Friday evening the women were grouped and talking shop.

I am a not a coder. I'm a trained painter, Stage Manager, and English teacher to small children. While I love and work in tech, my coding skills are limited to 8th grade HTML.

That weekend and these women have been inspiring.  I'm blown away with what they created and the lessons I'm bringing into my life.  Here are five key takeaways for a non-coder from a hackathon.

Friday late night

Friday late night

CINCO*: You don't have to understand the tech to get the concepts.  I'm only beginning to learn about APIs, full stack, tech-speak, and new coding languages.  But each moment I realize that I don't have to understand the technology to get the ideas and concepts.  These women are passionate, idea-filled, and conscious that their audience isn't always a coder.  This hackathon considered the importance of all sides of a new product including coding, marketing, design, business development, and pitching to potential clients and investors.

CUATRO*: Everyone is interesting.  Everyone has a story to tell. I heard about new projects being working after the traditional 9-5 work hours.  I heard tales about leaving multi-decade professions to pursue passions. It's been a joy and a privilege to listen to these women. Their stories have inspired me to get off my butt to take further actions on my goals.

Coffee orders on plates

Coffee orders on plates

TRES*: Simple gestures matter. I learned how and made many rounds of cappuccinos, lattes, and espressos this weekend. Beginning with the personal interaction of asking for orders and ending with a hot coffee delivery, my fellow barista extraordinaire Lydia and I fulfilled on caffeine promises. These women were unreasonably grateful not just the coffee but also the recognition of a need (the caffeine) and the follow-up ask.  Simple gestures matter.   Those gestures make a difference in that moment and moments add up fast.

Teams working to finalize presentations on Sunday morning

Teams working to finalize presentations on Sunday morning

DOS*: I could be a coder. I could learn and start working with a new career path in mind. I could be a designer. I could pick up Adobe Creative Suite or balsamiq. With passion, I could do just about any damn thing I want. The diversity of "how I got here stories" provides a wealth of future possibilities for those who are truly listening. No ceilings. No limits. There is no stopping me (or you)!  How exciting is that?

UNO*: A group of women working together--even if on separate projects-- is a powerhouse of potential. This was my first female-only tech event (except for some exceptional male mentors). This experience has far exceeded my expectations. Women, when brought together in a challenge like a hackathon, are a force to be reckoned with.

*At the hackathon we found that counting down backward in Spanish tends to be an effective tool to gaining the others attention. 

** #SheHacksNYC is hosting their second all-female hackathon this October.  Please find more information at shehacksnyc.splashthat.com

The teams working hard at Trello's office

The teams working hard at Trello's office