A More Thoughtful Approach…

Posted on September 23, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

This week I had a chance to skype video with a young woman from Dartmouth who reached out to me via the Dartmouth career network. She had created her own major in school at the intersection of media and technology and was beginning the Computer Science portion of her curriculum in her Senior year. We talked about careers in technology, the path to becoming a founder, things she could be doing now to position her well for a job in this world, and general tips and tricks like “startups won’t know their hiring needs until a few months before you graduate, Fall is the wrong time to apply.” I didn’t share anything ground breaking, but I found the experience of even slightly helping her as she considers this path a pretty rewarding one.

At Wildcard we have thought a lot about how to improve our gender diversity as a company. We’ve come a long way from where we started at “we need to get more women in here.” What I am starting to realize now is that our commitment to furthering a gender aware and forward thinking culture is not best solved by simply hiring more women. Checking the “female hiring” box is not quite like saying “some of my best friends are [insert minority here],” but it’s also not THAT far off. Our responsibility as a company is not to check boxes, it’s to invest in improving gender diversity in our field as a whole, regardless of the direct benefit to our company. There’s obviously a societal/cultural problem somewhere in the chain and I’m interested in attacking that problem at its roots if possible. Is bringing great women on board at Wildcard a positive step to take? Of course. But what I’m starting to believe is that our most impactful investment in this initiative may be long term in nature, as opposed to short term transactional steps that “yield immediate female hires to our team.” For example, I am really proud that we are hosting a group of 10th grade women for a day of mentorship around technical career planning in a few weeks. I’m really proud and happy to stretch my calendar to always fit in the type of skype call i referenced above. I’m really proud that the things Wildcard is doing to step up our approach are bubbling up from the entire team, as opposed to being mandated or encouraged from the top down. And I’m really proud that the conversation in our office is getting more connected to the intention of gender diversity, and less applied in the form of “hiring a great engineer is a win and hiring a great female engineer is a win +1.”

I can’t say that I am not excited when I look at my calendar and see an interview scheduled with a female candidate, but that woman has already found her way to our field and our door and she is in the minority in that way. I’m even more excited about the idea of reaching a young woman before some cultural norm, direct, or inadvertent message sets her on a path where a career in technology seems in any way unusual. I think like any goal, things happen through a combination of brute force effort and and intelligent planning and investment. We’re going to continue to work on the intelligent investment and planning part at Wildcard, and I’m gonna keep brute forcing it with categorical yeses to young women reaching out for advice or mentorship…obviously not super scaleable, but if this post reaches you and you are a female student interested in technology, give a shout if you want to talk through it: jordan.cooper@gmail.com. I invite anyone reading to extend the same invitation by dropping your email (and maybe title/company) into the comments field here and for female students to feel free reaching out to anyone in the comments as well. I guess this is a little experiment…

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16 Responses to “A More Thoughtful Approach…”

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For anyone curious about or looking for ways into product management, I’d be more than happy to chat! I’m a PM here at Wildcard, and before that was at eBay. Drop me a line: max at try wildcard dot com.

Awesome post. I’ll throw my hat in too: desk@subtraction.com

// @_nygren

AJ Nahmad, VP Stratrgy & Innovation, Watsco, Inc, ajnahmad@watsco.con

Feel free to reach out!
– Software Engineer @ Wildcard

e: andrew@trywildcard.com
e: hello@andlum.com

Definitely happy to chat whether you’re interested in a company small or large (I spent my previous 8 years at Goldman before Wildcard), and the merits of both! Shoot me an email and we’ll grab coffee.

Forgot to include my email – its karthik@trywildcard.com

Happy to answer any questions!
michael@trywildcard.com
@mpolycar

product engineer at PillPack (www.pillpack.com) – always happy to chat – john@pillpack.com

Likewise! Happy to chat about product design with anyone. steve@trywildcard.com or contact.meszaros@gmail.com

Always willing to help talking iOS or development in general

For students in LA interested in startups, feel free to reach out to us – Yair Riemer (CMO) – yriemer at internships dot com and/or Synthia Salas (Online Marketing Manager) – ssalas at internships dot com. Thanks.

Jordan – happy to connect with this young woman if she’s interested in having a woman with a 20 year career in the tech industry and a couple of startups to boot to ask questions of, connect with, and just shoot the shit. As a technologist, the lack of diversity of all kinds (not just gender) in the field concerns me. email: christine@wishstars.com


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    About

    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I think there is one metric that can be used to measure the value of a human life and that’s impact. How did you change things? How many people did you touch? How different is the world because you lived in it and how positive was the change that you affected? (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it) You can email me at Jordan.Cooper@gmail.com

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