December 15, 2017 Meeting

This evening’s meeting is at 25N Coworking at 5:45 pm.  It is our last meeting of 2017.  Looking forward to seeing everyone there!

AGENDA

Last week’s guest speaker, Grace Haaf, had so much great information to share that we decided to dedicate the meeting to listening to her career journey in the field of tech and having a great discussion on what the future holds for our girls, today’s challenges for women in tech, and how to make a positive impact on your community by utilizing the tech skills learned in college and beyond.

Now this week, we will be working with the Snake Game, Makey Makey kits, and Object-Oriented coding.  Please see last week’s agenda below for details.

Advertisements

Amanda Lannert – CEO of Jellyvision

The girls of FVGCC had the privilege of web chatting with Jellyvision CEO, Amanda Lannert, as we wrapped up our first full year of coding club meetings.  Ms. Lannert generously shared her path in tech as well as providing insight and advice to our high school students.  Here is a sample of our conversation:

Ms. Lannert went to work for Leo Burnett right out of college.  She discovered early in her career that any job and any industry can be interesting if the people you work with are curious and engaged.  Who you work for and with is often more important than what you are doing in your daily work.  When looking for employment, interview your boss just as they interview you.  A good boss can turn your job into a fountain of learning that will lead to your next opportunity.  A bad boss can make even the best career seem awful.

In every position you take, it is important to build your network.  Who you know can often mean more than what you know as you move through your career.  One such contact led Ms. Lannert to a tech startup, Jellyvision, that was producing CD-ROM games. At that time, Jellyvision produced the number one CD-ROM game, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, based off of the popular TV show and the game, You Don’t Know Jack, a trivia-based party game series.  In her first position at Jellyvision, Ms. Lannert was working with future head writers of The Colbert Report and creative types that inspired her every day.  Interestingly, the company even turned down Seth Meyers for a job at that time!  Joining Jellyvision, was important because of the people and the creative work, it wasn’t about the initial position she held, but what she learned from it.  Within six months, Ms. Lannert was Jellyvision’s President.

With this new position, came the challenge of watching Jellyvision’s profit and loss numbers going off a cliff because the company’s main business was producing CD games and the technology around gaming was rapidly changing.  As a result, at the age of 28, Ms. Lannert had the gut wrenching responsibility of shutting down the company, laying off 60 people, including herself.  They had three opportunities to keep the company, but then the tech bubble burst and the company had to close.  One of the greatest takeaways for Ms. Lannert from this experience was that, “Failure is not permanent.  You need perspective and resilience.”

Ms. Lannert’s next opportunity would find her again working with Jellyvision after the company’s founder raised money to restart the company, transitioning from the gaming industry to selling software that talks people through difficult life decisions such as health benefits, insurance, and investments/saving.  The change did not come with overnight success, the company spent a decade going sideways, but through grit and perseverance, Jellyvision now works with just under 1,000 companies, representing 91 billion dollars in insurance premium.  Companies spend significant amounts of money each year to help explain health insurance to their employees.  Jellyvision helps make this process clearer, more engaging, and as an added benefit, easy, and fun!

Ms. Lannert used the latter part of our conversation to take questions and share important thoughts on college and career:

  • She hears from a lot of women “I can’t fail.”  Ms. Lannert says you may have set backs or failures but that should be because you have big dreams.  She told the girls of FVGCC, “I want you to have more audacious dreams.  Dream to have an audacious and brave life.”
  • The girls wanted to know how a person knows how to lead a 350 person company.  Ms. Lannert shared that the ability to learn is the greatest thing you will be taught in college. Through Liberal Arts, you can learn about diverse topics so challenge yourself to take a lot of unusual classes.  In Cultural Anthropology, you can learn why people do what they do.  The skills and knowledge you pick up will lead to understanding when you are in a position to lead a team, division, or a company.
  • Have curiosity and chase what interests you!
  • Developers with great communication skills help to bridge the gap between business and development.  The better you communicate within and across groups, the more invaluable you become.
  • Start-up companies are scrappy – never stop learning.  Pick up Ruby on Rails, Java, Python.  Stay curious.  You will find yourself taking on many diverse roles in a start- up.
  • Ms. Lannert is passionate about helping women gain opportunities.  She will meet with anyone who is female.  But, she advised the girls that it is important to do their part.  Know yourself and what you want both from yourself and others.  Make it easy for people to help you.  Ask for something as simple as an introduction.  There is a world of people to help you, everywhere from Facebook to LinkedIn.  Be clear on where you are and where you are trying to go.
  • Join a Women in Tech Group or view the video series 30 Days of Genius by Chase Jarvis.
  • Most importantly, know that as a girl going into tech, you can, “Join, build, or create a business that will make a difference.”

Thanks Ms. Lannert for your time and insight!

 

 

April 28, 2017 Meeting – special start time – 5:30 p.m. at 25N Coworking

On Friday, we are excited to welcome Amanda Lannert, CEO of Jellyvision, as our last web chat of the 2016-17 school year.  Our web chat series this year has given the girls of FVGCC great insight into everything from being a current computer science student at DePaul University to possibilities of careers in cyber security or starting their own tech start up.  We can not wait to talk with Ms. Lannert about her path to Jellyvision and what skills and characteristics she believes led to her receiving recent Moxie Awards for both CEO of the Year and Top Woman in Tech!  Looking forward to a great conversation.

After our web chat at 5:30, we will continue our mobile programming work. Hard to believe, but this is the last meeting where we will be working in depth on our coding project.  Next week, we wrap up the school year meetings with a Taco Bar send off party for our Senior members and will plan and brainstorm for our 2017-18 school year.

At the end of May, FVGCC will be participating in our first Hack-a-thon event through Chicago Hacks.  Stay tuned for updates on the project we decide to complete at the event and how we survive 24 hours straight of coding and community!

See you Friday at 5:30 p.m. at 25N Coworking in the boardroom.

FVGCC’s First Web Chat – Fiona Baenziger and Lily Fisher – DePaul University Computer Science Majors

Fox Valley Girls Coding Club was so excited to hold their first web chat in November 2016.  With the newly introduced web chats and guest speakers, FVGCC is looking forward to reinforcing topic areas that we will be tackling in our monthly meetings as well as introducing club members to areas within the computing industry that may be of interest to them after high school.

In our first web chat, we spoke with Fiona and Lily, Computer Science majors at DePaul University.  Here is some of what they shared with us:

On their computer-related background prior to College:

Lily: In High School, Lily took AP Computer Science and was on the Robotics Team. She also learned Python while in high school.

Fiona: Fiona’s Dad is a professional Software Developer. Fiona learned Scratch at age 12. She started out in a different major at DePaul, but came back to Computer Science

Advice/Shared Experiences with our club members:

  • Women going into Computer Science need to stay focused, have a plan, and execute.
  • Start networking now!  Go to events.  Meet other girls/women involved at all levels of Computer Science.
  • Computer Science is like a puzzle. Don’t be afraid to try and fail.  You can only find success and what types of projects you like by continuing to try.
  • Lily started the DePaul chapter of the ACM-W (Association of Computing Machinery for Women – women.acm.org !  Great example that if the community you are looking for does not exist at your high school or college – be brave and create it yourself.
  • The gender gap in technology is real.  Lily and Fiona want to change the perception that software developers are just nerds with a computer and we at FVGCC can each help with that too.  Don’t be afraid to let others know that you are a girl who likes Computer Science!
  • They both like working with and encouraging younger girls to use Computer Science for things they enjoy; for example, animal advocacy.  Successes come when you can use what you learn in coding to create something you are passionate about.
  • Go out of your comfort zone!  As the CEO of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani, says – “Teach girls bravery, not perfection.”
  • “Volunteering for Girls Who Code changed my life.” – Fiona.  This volunteering opportunity gave me a deeper understanding of how impacting other girls and serving as a role model, helped me to develop a stronger commitment and connection to what I am studying.
  • Take on challenges like the Technovation Challenge
  • Apply for the NCWIT Aspirations Awards

Thanks to Fiona and Lily for being such great inspirations to FVGCC.  We look forward to continuing to see more of our girls following in their footsteps and entering Computer Science in college!

Meet Julie Pak, CEO of RazorX2

FVGCC wants to thank Julie Pak for an amazing web chat on Friday, February 24.  Ms. Pak shared her experiences in business and computer science that led to her starting her own company, RazorX2, while still in her 20’s.  Here are some of the highlights of her background and our web chat discussion.  Ms. Pak received a Business degree from  University of Illinois and a Masters degree in Computer Science from University of Chicago. Ms. Pak’s career has spanned investment banking, working for the Department of Defense, and now running her own successful business that finds effective and efficient solutions for federal government projects.

While speaking with FVGCC, Ms. Pak shared activities that would be great for girls looking to explore computer science:

  • Hack-a-thons:  Participate in one!  You can be a novice or a seasoned programmer – just join in.
  • Internships – look for paid or unpaid opportunities in a career that appeals to you.
  • Start a blog or a website.  Just find something that interests you and start a project now!
  • Get an account on GitHub and start creating.
  • Use free online resources to always be learning:  Code Academy, Code.org, etc.
  • Find a programming language that speaks to you and learn that one first.
  • Read!  Some potential books to start with:  The Confidence Code by Katty Kay & Claire Shipman, Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett, or Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.

Ms. Pak also shared great advice on supporting other girls who have similar interests in technology.  She reminded our FVGCC girls that it is great to look ahead at your future and to look up for your mentors, but to also remember to look back to help other girls who are looking to you as an example.  During the web chat, she also let the girls know that it is important to know that you have earned the opportunities you get and your “seat at the table”.  Don’t discount your abilities even if you are the only girl at the table.  Her final message was to support each other.  This is a sisterhood.  So, learn all you can, support others, create what interests you and solves a problem, and BE KIND!

Thanks Ms. Pak for your great insight and inspiration!

www.razorx2.com

2016-17 FVGCC Meeting Schedule Set!

Starting on October 14, FVGCC will begin meeting for the 2016-17 school year Friday evenings from 5:45 p.m.-7:45 p.m. at 25N Coworking on 3rd Street in downtown Geneva.  This year’s coding projects include mobile app projects, completion of the Geneva Film Festival Website, and holding a Girls Make Apps workshop.  FVGCC is open to all girls, ages 14-18.  Limited spaces are available so please sign up now!  Contact us at fvgcc12@gmail.com.

Meeting Schedule

October – 14, 21, 28 – Scratch!

November – 4, 11, 18 – JavaScript

December – 9, 16 – Web (HTML, CSS & JavaScript with NetBeans)

January – 6, 13, 27 – Gaming (JavaScript on the Web, Di-sect the Snake Game, Jan 13 Robotics) 

February – 3, 10, 17 – Mobile (MIT App Inventor)

February – 4th @ 9am,  St. Charles Library AAUW talk

Feb 24 – skype with guest speaker

March – 7 @ 6pm Teen night at Geneva Library

March – 10 Security Speaker & Mobile

March – 17  – Advanced Mobile

April – 7, 21 – Advanced Mobile

April – 28 – Guest Speaker – CEO of Jelly Vision!

May – 5 – Last Meeting – Cinco de Mayo & Planning Session for 2017-18 school year