My recent op-ed published about Portland and startups

I was featured in the Portland Business Journal last Friday! I wrote an essay on startups and the experiences of women in the Portland tech community that have caused me to not refer women into startups for jobs unless the startups are run by fellow PyLadies.

Some excerpts:

It takes more than one CEO’s alleged behavior to cause 56 percent of women to leave technology related fields by mid-career, according to a Harvard Business Review study. That’s twice the rate that men leave the tech industry.

After all, 63 percent of women in STEM industries (science, technology engineering and math) have experienced sexual harassment, according to a 2008 study.

I can’t recommend that women work for startups in Portland.

Startup funders should keep holding executives accountable. Company cultures grow from the seeds planted by their leaders.

These companies need [qualified HR, skilled with workforce diversity issues], and our tech leaders should demand it.

Read the whole thing at the Portland Business Journal’s site!

meme: Current state of me

Audrey started a meme that I liked – so here’s my answers:

  • Did I earn a living? Yes, I did. I’ve never been happier with my work, who I work with and who I work for. I surprised myself a little with a job change that has me working at home, and co-working at various places in Portland. I find myself jumping out of bed every morning, excited to start my work day, and attending amazing geek events 2-3 times a week. (shameful Portland tech scene junkie confession!)
  • Was I able to incubate new ideas? Well, I was certainly *exposed* to tons of creative, exciting ideas, and felt energized to participate and organize in ways that I did not in 2007. As far as generating my own ideas, I think I was in the same boat as Audrey — spending a ton of time *doing*, but not as much time reflecting on experiences. The one exception to that was my vacation last August in Mexico. I took nearly three weeks to unwind from work, and I spent that time learning a little Spanish, and taking photographs that I was very proud of. Looking out to next year, I can’t wait to see what happens, and feel like I won’t be able to avoid an explosion of creativity.
  • Did I grow in ways that I wanted? YES. OMG. I had an incredible year, personally and professionally. I organized two PostgreSQL conferences – one in Maryland! – and helped get new user group leaders started with groups in at least five new locations. I’ve seen several long-time community members step up, join boards and become more active in the core community building work I championed. I met Tom Lane. I stood by as close friends, inspired by a growing community, started their own projects. I was inspired over and over again by the humor, grace and intelligence of the people who make PostgreSQL happen. I contributed code, presented nearly a dozen talks and traveled.

So, 2009 will be a lot about co-chairing Open Source Bridge, with a big helping of PostgreSQL community work, primarily speaking about the filesystem performance testing we’re doing here in Portland, and hopefully a bit more about user groups. I’m looking forward to a great work year, with a company that continues to be successful in a difficult time, and with coworkers that make me laugh every day.

I’m looking to Portland to inspire me: with cool ideas, exciting companies and a vibrant tech scene.

Your turn!