September 11, 2013

Calling All Girl Geeks

Kristin Potts


Did you know that technology companies with more women on their management team have a 34% higher return on investment? In fact, companies with three or more female board directors have an 84% higher return on sales. So why are only 18% of computing and information science degrees being obtained by women? Last week, Platfora hosted a Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner where nearly 100 geek girls came to be inspired, network and listen to the women of Platfora discuss big data, analytics and career advice.

The career journey of each girl geek is different. Starting her career at AT&T, Denise Hemke, Director of Engineering, now has a career where she is able to marry her love for both agile development and design. She attributes her success to continuous feedback. You need to be open and seek feedback to improve yourself and your work. As an engineer, there is always a chance to learn, create and release a better product, and – in her case – it’s every six weeks.

Being a girl geek isn’t easy. With over 15 years in the industry, Senior Program Manager Sive McDermott Kavanaugh emphasized the importance of work life balance. In her role, she takes project management up a level by leading a cross functional team to meet the needs of Platfora customers. But there is life outside of work. To be successful, you need to throw away the guilt that comes with saying “no” and set your boundaries.

Daria Hutchinson, Senior Manager of Technical Publications, followed an unconventional path to becoming a girl geek. Former Nordstrom buyer turned big data enthusiast, she explains the power of happy accidents. At times, life may surprise you with opportunities you might not feel you are ready for or are outside your comfort zone. Instead of shying away from them, embrace them because, most of the time, you won’t regret it.

Over the years, the number of women in technology has increased and Platfora is excited to be part of this movement. We are proud to announce that we have women in key leadership roles, on both the executive and engineering teams. As the company continues to grow, we look forward to hiring more women and bringing in top talent to help build our product and join our amazing team.


Take the Platfora Challenge

To celebrate our girl geeks, we’re holding a contest for a free Hadoop class. Simply tweet @platfora and @BayAreaGGD with a photo of you participating in a STEM event by 10/31. Winners will be announced on 11/10. Full contest rules can be found here.

Thank you to everyone for showing up! You can view photos of the event on our Facebook page as well as the presentation here. We’d also like to extend a special thanks to BayArea Girl Geek Dinner who continues to prove that girls are much more than a pretty face.

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