When I first joined the tech industry, I was unaware of the lack of diversity in the space—particularly the small number of women in tech. During my time at AdRoll, I have had the amazing opportunity to meet and work with some of the most intelligent, creative, confident women in my career. I created this blog series, Tech Women of AdRoll, to not only celebrate the diversity of women across AdRoll (BI, Engineering, Product Management), but to also acknowledge their diversity of backgrounds, viewpoints, and experiences. We had Nitasha Syed, creator and writer of the blog series Women of Stem, sit down with the women of AdRoll to better understand their backgrounds. These women are engineers, politicians, accountants, humanitarians, and even tattoo artists, who all found their way into STEM careers. Read below to discover their unique and inspirational stories.


Aviva

Growing up, I wanted to be so many things. Initially, I wanted to be a classical violinist, then a lawyer, a surgeon, a ballerina, an astronaut, and even a diplomat in the UN. By high school I was set on the diplomat route and wanted to work for an NGO. I did my undergraduate degree in international development and have a masters in public health. I worked for the Public Health department of Alameda County in communications and epidemiology. Non-profit work tends to be exhausting, problem-focused, and under resourced. I could see the hard work we were doing and nobody was listening to us and I ended up getting burnt out. I took some time off and decided to do some travelling. From there I thought I was destined to go back to school and become a midwife since I always loved pregnant women and babies. While I was planning my next career move someone suggested a coding camp to me. It made so much sense because I loved learning languages and am a creative person as well. My mother had a PhD in computer science and I had grown up understanding how creative programming can really be. Outside of work I’m a musician and play in a couple bands. I sing, play guitar and the upright bass, and write songs. I feel like there are a lot of benefits to being a woman in STEM. Since there are so few women, you automatically stand out and people ask for your opinion because you are representative of a community. I am very social justice oriented and I have been able to bring that perspective to the company (along with other male and female colleagues). The world can be a tough place to grow up in as a girl. There are a lot of expectations put on women at a young age. So, parents, do whatever you can to help your daughter discover who she is and make sure she feels safe and loved. Girls, remember to keep an open mind and talk to people who have done what you want to do when choosing your career. It’s okay to change your decision later on and just remember you can do anything you set your mind to.


Mary

I try to remain really teachable. It’s humbling for me to admit that I don’t know something, but it gives me the best shot at learning what I don’t know. I transferred from a liberal arts background into technology and have had to do a lot of learning on the job. I try to avail myself to all of the online learning that is available and also feel grateful to work in an environment where I can ask my coworkers for help. In college I really wanted to work in publishing and didn’t take into consideration how much publishing was moving online. I was interested in the dissemination of ideas. I wanted to write for a living so I studied French and thought I would pursue roles in academia. I moved to SF after college and after about a year here I went on my job hunt. I put together a resume of what I thought my strengths were, and said that I wanted to be part of something cool in the Bay Area and put my energy towards it. I got a lot of responses back and one of them was helping a CEO with a bunch of different things. This eventually lead to working with engineers to build different workflows and features. I found it very exciting to be with a team that was working on using technology to disrupt how things had been done previously.

Being in STEM is a great way for me to combine several different skillsets. For girls thinking about their careers, I would say first and foremost to follow what you are naturally drawn to. In the past, there have been these cookie cutter roles (like doctor or lawyer) with finite job descriptions. Today there are so many different niche roles and girls need to be aware that even within STEM there are many roles that require a broad skillset. Parents you need to realize that there is negative programming in society and a lot of it revolves around making woman feel like they are not good, smart, pretty enough. It takes a conscious effort to program that out of girls and there are a lot of resources available that can help. Make these resources available to your daughters so that they start identifying biases internally and they don’t fall prey to negative thinking. I didn’t plan on a career in technology. I sort of fell into it. But, I feel grateful to be working with a team of really smart people who want to make a positive change in the world.


Nisha

I was always fascinated by math and science. In high school, I did a vocational course in electronics, where I built circuits to remotely control lamps and fans. This course made me realize my love for building things. While my elder brother was pursuing engineering, I took a keen interest in his projects. This instilled in me the desire to become an engineer and I got a bachelors in Electronics. Soon my fascination shifted to software and I ended up doing a masters in Computer Science. Girls think being an engineer is totally nerdy or impossible but that’s not true. My journey was definitely not an easy one but the support of my parents made it achievable. Due to the popularization of technology and abundance of resources, nowadays students are starting to code at an early age and have a lot more exposure growing up. I believe parents should encourage and support their girls to pursue career paths in STEM. Stereotypes of women in STEM still definitely exist. Recently, I was at a popular tech conference and when checking into the hotel, the girl at reception was shocked to learn that I was an engineer and told me that I was the first female engineer that she had checked in that day. It was strange to hear her remarks and I hope this changes over time with more women pursuing a career in STEM.


If you would like to learn more about our tech culture and tech team, check us out at tech.adroll.com. If you would like to learn about all current open roles by location, check out our job board at www.adroll.com/about/careers/open-positions.