Why Women Communities in tech matter?

“When unique voices are united in a common cause, they make history.” Gloria Steinem

Working in tech, I had the opportunity to collaborate with small business owners of all kinds: tech entrepreneurs, architects, designers, lawyers, yoga teachers. We provided online tools for these business owners to use, and we’d meet with them to hear their feedback about how our products could better meet their needs.

These interactions evolved into an international community of thousands of people, sharing ideas, and building on each other’s successes. We added training and webinars to this growing network, creating a one-stop-shop for online resources to help business owners with everything from managing cash flow and budgets to creating partnerships and raising money.

There were more men than women and I knew in the back of my mind that this didn’t feel right so I looked for an opportunity to shift the balance. When the time was right we launched a Women’s Entrepreneur Accelerator, with the help of a team of awesome volunteers. We showcased emerging companies that had at least one woman founder. These included an enterprise that printed jewelry, a business with a platform for marketing and selling healthy meals and a Harvard doctor with a new approach to treating breast cancer.

Members of this amazing group went through 8 weeks of training in practicing their pitch and developing their business models with the support of engaged professionals. Pitch night was moving and exciting, and I was so pleased with what we’d achieved as women, together. Later that evening I flew to Riga, where a woman friend offered me to join her in a gathering of 800 young business owners from all over Europe. We spoke about the tech sector, organizational culture, and the joys and travails of entrepreneurship. Riga was beautiful and peaceful, the Latvian food was sumptuous and hearty, and the companionship was meaningful and supportive.

As humans, and especially as women, we need to help each other to leverage opportunities and connect the dots. When this becomes a way of life, our days are more meaningful, we feel better, and we reflect this positivity back to our surroundings. When women put ourselves first, we can be especially powerful, pushing ourselves and each other to the next level.

Like Yuval Noah Harari, I see the unique power of humans working together. I’m especially inspired by the collaborative potential of women who, like the human species itself, aren’t necessarily the strongest creatures physically. Our superpower lies in our ability to combine forces with one another so we can beat biases and accelerate change. When we form communities with shared values we can rule the world, with compassion, of course.

Things have gotten so much more complicated with COVID. It’s hard to build community when we’re mostly communicating through our screens. Now I’m working to build an online community that can make a space for genuine and meaningful relationships to germinate in a way that connects the online and offline worlds. We’re going to need that, going forward.

Communities can keep us connected in wholehearted ways and can bring us back to a state of mind of giving first.