On software, satisfaction, and being CEO

Connecting with women in technology at DeveloperWeek 2014

I was honored to be on stage with four notable women in technology, last month at DeveloperWeek. The panel included Jennifer Davis, Anne Ahola Ward, Anna Chiara Bellini, and Selby Walker. Each of the panelists responded in earnest to questions that explored work satisfaction, taking ownership of one’s career, and the real and perceived barriers that keep anyone from taking charge of their career path, ever reminding the audience that it takes a shift in just one person’s self-concept to promote change in the world.

Following are (just a few of) the most enjoyable moments from the afternoon:

  • Arabella says women must inspire other women to imagine careers in tech [at 1:37]
  • Why Jennifer Davis isn’t bored after six years at Yahoo! [at 9:24]
  • Anne Ahola Ward on the culture at her company, CircleClick [at 11:49]
  • Selby Walker talks about the value of accomplishments [at 14:46]
  • The Princess or Bitch question – Anna Bellini responds [at 22:13]

Hands down, the two best quotes of the day:

“I am the CEO of myself.”
–Jennifer Davis

“We have an open cat picture policy.”
–Anne Ahola Ward

Jennifer Davis (@sigje)
Meet Jennifer [at 9:01]
Jennifer is a senior production engineer at Yahoo. Jennifer has worked in education, startup, and large scale environments which has contributed to a diverse set of experiences over 14 years. Her current passions include promoting women in technology careers, improving infrastructure through code, and changing the way teams work.

Anna Chiara Bellini (@annachiara_b)
Meet Anna [at 8:34]
Anna earned her MS in Computer Engineering from the University of Bologna, confirming a passion for computer science and mathematics that she showed since, as a little girl, she bugged her whole family to play the games that she programmed on her brother’s C64. During her career as a software engineer and teacher, she has worked with some of the most important italian and international software companies, always looking for challenging projects and experimenting with new technologies. Now she’s working as a freelancer for Toptal, reaching out to interesting and demanding customers worldwide.

Selby Walker (@magicgirl111)
Meet Selby [at 8:21]
Selby is a software engineer focusing on full-stack JavaScript development. A San Francisco native, Selby graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science from UC Davis. In her free time she volunteers for MissionBit, a SF program that provides free programming classes to public school students.

Anne Ahola Ward (@annebot)
Meet Anne [7:31]
Anne is CEO and co-founder of CircleClick has 15 years of experience developing business on the web. She is a Futurist, Growth Hacker and CEO of CircleClick Media founded in 2009. Anne has thrived in a wide range of areas in the web industry. She has mastered almost every role in web development; DBA, web master, programmer, graphic designer, video editor. Anne was an early entrant into the field of search engine optimization, with a focus on analytics. Ward’s list of clients include Apple Computer, Inc. magazine, Breathometer, Tagged, Heroku, A&E Interventionist Ken Seeley and Rikki Rockett from Poison.

* * *

My co-moderator was Arabella Santiago (@arabellaLABS)
A journalist at heart, she believes in producing authentic products and content that have an impact. Through her work, she supports startups and opportunities for women. She was the former Executive Director of Techweek 2012 Chicago, the largest technology conference in the Midwest now with over 10,000 participants. For more than five years, Arabella ran a web production company that served businesses, nonprofit organizations and events including The Women’s Conference, then led by former California First Lady Maria Shriver. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and has continued to build on her journalism skills interviewing hundreds of leaders, visionaries and celebrities. Arabella graduated with a degree in political science and English from Rutgers University. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, writing and hiking beautiful Northern California.

Thank you for hosting this conversation, DeveloperWeek.

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