This is a guest post by The Mom Project Community member Dimple Mathradas. If you are a Community member with a unique story to share let us know.
As moms (or mom-supporters), we strive for the best for future generations, but do we always know how to inspire them, especially when it's about career possibilities? If you are a mother of, or mentor to, a teen, you especially know what I’m talking about.
Many of us are looking to get back to work ourselves and are exploring our options, upskilling and pivoting to satisfy our own career interests and financial needs. We think that we can’t possibly be a career coach to our teens and so we depend on the school system to fill that gap. But the true story is, these institutions are not doing a great job and are far from having cutting edge information and resources, especially when it comes to tech.
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area with entrepreneurial parents but they were not in the tech industry. I learned a ton about how to be a leader, start a business, sell just about anything and the international business world but nothing about tech. We had family friends who were engineers, but they were all men. Personally, when I was graduating from U.C. Berkeley, I thought I had explored all possible career tracks by attending information sessions, frequent visits to the career center, speaking to upperclassmen and recent alums, but nobody clued me in on one major area, which was surprising given we were so close to the Silicon Valley - tech.
👉 Nobody clued me in on the potential opportunities in one major sector of business - the tech industry. This was surprising given we were so close to Silicon Valley.
I clearly remember that warm graduation day in May and while saying my goodbyes, I asked some of my friends which job offer had they accepted and their responses were along the lines of, “I’m going to a start-up called PayPal” and “There is this new company called Google, so I’m going to check that out.” They followed up with saying the salaries weren't the best but they were going to give it some time and see how it goes otherwise they’d jump ship. Well we all know how that story went!
But at the time, I couldn’t help think to myself, why wouldn’t these smart and savvy classmates opt for one of the major investment banks or consulting companies like the rest of us were doing as business majors? That was where the money was at and frankly the whole point of striving to graduate from this competitive business program was to get funneled into these prestigious firms. I remained happy and secure in my decision to join a leadership development program at a 100-year old Fortune 50 company and thought these classmates were making a BIG mistake.
Eighteen months later though, the start-up bug bit me, and I found myself as employee #24 at a tech start-up in the Silicon Valley and I haven’t turned my back on tech since then.
Tech is the future, and the future is now
I realize there is a generation of women reading this who jumped right into tech upon graduation because there was no question this was the future, so they went for it. But tech evolves so quickly that it's not only hard to keep up but tough to coach our daughters on all the career possibilities in tech.
From what I am hearing, female teens do not consider tech as a desirable industry because either they haven’t been exposed to it through their family or personal network and are not exposed to female tech leaders they can identify with or look up to. Some common misconceptions are that tech is for boys, or you have to enjoy coding and engineering to work in this arena. They are worried about bro-culture at work and have heard stories about how the Me-Too Movement is also rampant in the Silicon Valley. We can add that the lack of diversity in tech is definitely front and center these days and that fact can play on a young, impressionable mind when they are questioning what career path they want to follow.
Glow Up Tech
All of these issues came to a head for me as I met many teen girls who were confused about what they’d major in, even after they got into college, and once lockdown hit, teen girls became extremely anxious and discouraged about their futures since their high school and college experiences were being stripped from them due to the pandemic. So last summer, I launched Glow Up Tech to inspire females in high school and college to be future tech leaders while exploring the full GLOW of what it means to be a female human being coupled with opportunities to bring that glow to the technology arena.
👉 We accomplish this goal by inviting today's female tech leaders from companies GenZers admire that are building products and services that they use to engage in a chat together through our virtual parties. At the same time, we explore other passions in a girl’s life like beauty, fashion, music, food, travel and adventure.
Since our launch, we have featured leading ladies from Amazon, Zoom, Google, Expedia, Facebook and niche and trendy tech options like Blume and TikTok where we make these conversations relatable to our community by delving into the high school and college days of these current day leaders.
We talk about the challenges they went through then and the choices they made to get to where they are today. We explore what they do at the super cool company they work at and how these women balance it all as females in tech. We weave in chatter about their hobbies, favorite beauty skincare regime or passion for basketball or skiing or dogs! Let’s just say it isn’t your typical tech panel event. What our community loves is that they have direct access to fabulous women who they can’t easily access at this age, and and who work across all areas of technology from Marketing, Sales to Partnerships and Design to Product Management, Human Resources and Engineering. They can ask for on the spot mentoring and stay in touch with them in a personal way since the relationship was created in a safe space.
Paying it forward is a benefit to others, and me
Paying it forward to the next generation of women in tech has been nothing short of humbling and gratifying. To see how their eyes and smiles widen when inspiration is sparked is electric. At this age, we remember the people who planted a seed in us that directionally changed our future and provided the guidance when it was least expected and if Glow Up Tech can be that seed, I will have made the mark I am striving for in this world.
I want to celebrate our current female tech leaders for all they have done to achieve their goals and allow them the chance to have a lasting effect on GenZers who are almost ready to embark on their careers but before that are finding themselves forced to think about who they are, as their bodies are changing, what they are good and enjoy and how that translates to a major, college, and career. Teens experience a lot all at once. Glow Up Tech was created to smoothen and enlighten that journey as much as possible in hopes that they consider tech as a possible career path.
Be more equipped in guiding the future generation
I know The Mom Project’s Community is full of inspiring female leaders and moms who can and do it all and you too are sheros to your daughters in many ways. Glow Up Tech is also part of your extended eco-system in helping you empower them. We’d love to have your daughters, nieces and other teen girls you care about join our community at www.glowuptech.org. (Or by subscribing and following us on all major social channels—TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest) If you have a relevant story that you’d like to share with our teens, please email me through our website so we can chat.
We know that tech continues to be the future and the future is female, therefore the future of TECH is FEMALE so join me in glowing and rising!
Dimple Mathradas is a Silicon Valley native and global Fortune 100 Marketer-turned-Business Development Executive, Tech Eco-system Builder and Evangelist determined to provide a positive impact. Through grit and humility, she builds profitable relationships among people, brands, start-ups, and media. Valued for her high EQ, small ego and optimism, she’s passionate about Social Impact, Tech, Media and Entertainment and Venture Capital. She is a graduate from Columbia University and U.C. Berkeley's Haas School of Business - Go Bears! She can be reached at www.glowuptech.org or on Instagram and LinkedIn.