Poornima Vijayashanker

How to Change Careers Later in Life and Transition Into a Technical Role

FemgineerTV

There are a lot of people who want to change their career later in life. They want to do more challenging work, earn more money, and have a better lifestyle. Given the growing need of technical talent in the US, it would seem like a technical career would be a great choice, right?

Unfortunately, despite the dearth of technical talent, many people are wary because of the misconception that transitioning into a technical career later in life is just too hard. Another misconception is that as you start to fall behind on your technical skills, it’s hard to play catch up!

Hence, a lot of people struggle to stay relevant.

Piling on career pauses like parenthood makes it even harder!

However, the growing number of retraining programs, bootcamps, and online education options are looking to cater to busy people who are eager to transition into a technical position.

In today’s episode, we’ll talk to Tina Lee, who is actively working to change these misconceptions with her nonprofit MotherCoders, which helps moms on-ramp to technical careers in the new economy.

Here’s what you’ll learn from Tina:

  • why people get put on the mommy track and how it does a disservice to women who want to continue to pursue their careers
  • why technical skills are crucial for employment and why Tina is focused on helping mothers acquire them
  • why companies shouldn’t withhold investing in a retraining program, and how it can benefit employees and help employers attract and retain top technical talent

Check out MotherCoders on their website.

Listen to the episode on iTunes!

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How to Change Careers Later in Life And Transition Into a Technical Role Transcript

Poornima Vijayashanker: Welcome to another episode of Femgineer TV, brought to you by Pivotal Tracker. I’m your host, Poornima Vijayashanker, the founder of Femgineer. In this show, I host innovators in tech and together we debunk myths and misconceptions related to building tech products and companies.

One common misconception I come across a lot is how challenging it can be to pursue a technical career midway through your career.

Another is that it’s really hard once you’ve lost track of your technical skills, or they’ve gotten rusty, to get back on track. One woman, Tina Lee, is working to change this misconception. She is the founder of MotherCoders, a nonprofit, that helps moms on ramp to technical careers in the new economy. Thanks for joining us, Tina.

Starting a career in tech

Tina Lee: Thanks for having me.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah. So, I know you and I met about a year ago at a conference, but I’m not too familiar with your background. Why don’t you just tell us a little bit about how you got started.

Tina Lee: So, I started this journey towards having a technical career when I became a management consultant coming out of college. I helped implement large, enterprise-level IT systems and from there I kind of had this epiphany that tech was going to play a major role in business, and it was just a matter of time before the rest of the world was going to be transformed by it as well, and then after that I did technical recruiting. I spent some time in grad school studying education technology, and then ended up working on behalf of nonprofits and government and helping them use technology better to meet their goals.

The pain that inspired the birth of MotherCoders

Poornima Vijayashanker: So that’s great that you’ve had all this exposure to technology in your career. What ultimately inspired you to start MotherCoders?

Tina Lee: Well, like a lot of people who are inspired to make change, it came from a deep place of pain.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah, what was your pain?

Tina Lee: So, I had been trained to do simple things, build simple things: HTML, CSS, a little bit of JavaScript. I even tried learning Ruby for a while. And it was fine until I had my second child, right? The programs that are available to beginners usually happen on the evenings or on the weekend or online. And I felt like because I had just had a baby, my second one, I felt very isolated. So, doing it online felt very lonely and I couldn’t make these in-person classes anymore, so out of that I had this vision of like, you know what? I cannot be the only mother, a new mother, who’s experiencing this. I should just organize kind of an informal meet up because my grandmother had met me.

I had envisioned maybe some grandmas here on the corner and then we’d be doing our thing here. And ultimately what happened was I had so many women that filled out this informal Google Poll that I had about their interest level that I said, “OK. There’s enough there to do something more organized.” So I ran a pilot out of a coworking space that was empty on Saturdays and just happened to be next to an onsite child care facility center.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Wow.

Tina Lee: Yeah. So that we were able to run the classes in the conference rooms and then have the kids be cared for by professional caregivers in a setting that was set up for them.

Poornima Vijayashanker: That’s awesome. So you really saw the opportunity. One as like a personal pain point that you experienced but then after you do this experiment there were a number of women who were interested. And then from that point, how did you transition into making it the nonprofit that it is today?

People who want to change careers and transition into tech

Tina Lee: So, I’m all about failing fast and rocket prototyping. So that was kind of my way of experimenting with this model. And because so many women had reached out, ones who could not participate in the pilot for one reason or another, I knew that there were moms out there that were hungry. And once you dig deeper into the numbers it collaborates that, right? I know you had Lisen Stromberg on the show recently and you look at the numbers about how many millennia women are about to become mothers, right? A million a year for the next 10 years or so. And then you look at how millennia women are going to be the largest and the most educated demographic ever, right? And then you look at who’s already a mom now.

There’s just tremendous opportunity to help moms who are either stuck on the sidelines and they want to get into tech but can’t. Or they’re in a job where they’re not touching it and they want to move up. This is a great way to activate them and give them a skill set that will help them stay competitive. And we even have entrepreneurs who feel like they need a bigger tool set. They want like a wider understanding of how the ecosystem’s working so they can really launch their ventures. They come to us for that understanding and then also the community, too. That’s a big part of what we do is the community because like I said being a mom is very isolating.

Challenges of changing careers

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah that’s fantastic. I’m sure some of our viewers out there who are entrepreneurs will be interested to learn a little bit more. So it’s great that there are going to be all these millennial women who are becoming mothers but I know there’s still a problem when it comes to leadership, and as you and I have noticed, within tech itself only 26% of women hold computing jobs. So, how do you think MotherCoders is helping with that?

Tina Lee: Well, couple of things. One, we’ve kind of discussed this a lot which is a pipeline issue. Yes. We could be graduating more women with degrees in computer science or engineering but we also do a terrible job as a society of helping women thrive once they become mothers, right? No one ever says the term “working dad.” We just assume that—

Poornima Vijayashanker: That’s true.

Tina Lee: —you’re going to be working.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah.

Tina Lee: But for mothers, I think as a society, culturally, we’re still very ambivalent about how we feel about women working outside the home once they become mothers, but if you think about it, mothers are the people that you work with, right? They’re the people sitting around you and they’re your cohort next to you that’s going to be taking over this role. It’s just the workplace is not set up to help women succeed, right? The IT worker is all in, all the time.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Right.

Tina Lee: And if you have caregiving responsibilities, that’s impossible, right? And women are kind of pressured to make a choice because there are not…there just aren’t the social support systems, right? School lets out at 3.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah.

Tina Lee: There’s no paid parental leave, right? And a lot of companies are just starting to experiment with flexible work hours, right? So all these things make it very difficult for women who feel like they want to prioritize their families and of course at the same time they’re made to choose.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yep. I do remember in Lisen Stromberg’s interview we talked about this caregiving bias. So it’s great that you touched upon it. I think you also mentioned in a talk earlier the mommy tax versus the fatherhood bonus. Walk us through why this disparity exists.

The myth of the all-in ideal worker

Tina Lee: Oh man, we’re going to get sad. OK. So, because of this ideal worker model, right? You’re expected to go in all the time. Once you become a mother, everyone knows what that means and what that looks like, right? Based on our certain circumstances. Our current set of circumstances. So, automatically men and women will think, “OK. So this person is either going to be downshifting their careers or they’re going to drop out altogether.” Right? “And if they do stay they’re probably not going to go all in. So let’s put them on the mommy track.” So, women aren’t left with that many choices right? So the way I frame the mommy tax is that automatically you’re considered less valuable.

Right? And that will represent…that will manifest itself in salary negotiations, in having projects that will help you reach the next level, in helping you maybe make connections or professional development that will bring you to the next level. So there’s a tax not only in real terms in salary but also a tax in terms of the opportunity cost.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Right.

Motherhood bias versus fatherhood bonus

Tina Lee: Of what you could have done if you didn’t become a mother in the eyes of the employer. Now it’s such a powerful bias that women who aren’t even mothers get hit by it right? I mean how many stories have we heard of women walking in to pitch their companies or trying to get a job and they say, “Are you going to be pregnant?” Or, “You’re married, do you plan to have kids anytime soon?” Not only is that illegal.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah.

Tina Lee: That automatically kind of primes everyone in the room to think like, “Oh, right. You’re a woman. There’s a high chance that you’ll become a mother and you’re just going to peace out at some point and why should we invest in you.” Right? So that’s the motherhood penalty. On the flip side, the opposite is happening to men. “Oh! You’re going to become a dad? This means you’re going to be…you’re going to be going in even harder because now you’re responsible for caring for a family, right? You should be given the best projects because you really need to get to the next level. And you really should get a salary bump because now you’re responsible for all these people.”

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah.

Tina Lee: So it’s just a very unfair situation where women are getting hit by this mommy tax and dads are not. And women are already a lot of times behind because of the gender pay gap that they came into before all this even happened.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Right.

Tina Lee: Oh and for every child that you have, additional child, you get hit a little bit more.

Poornima Vijayashanker: What can we do to sort of alleviate this? Or what…what can people do to sort of empower themselves?

Before You Change Careers Think About Your Personal Capacity

Tina Lee: Well, I think we need to talk about it in several levels, right? One is the individual level. One may be at the company level. And then one at a society level. So I’m going to start personal. Personally, I think one of the strategies that I’ve employed is you really have to take stock of your own capacity.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Mm-hmm.

Tina Lee: What are my goals? What are my passions? What do I want to do? What capacity do I have in terms of caregiving? Do I have family to help me out? Do I have friends? Do I live in a community where there’s support systems? So all of these things have to be taken into consideration. And I specifically stayed in a neighborhood in San Francisco that has a high density of in-home child care providers, and preschools, and great elementary schools to kind of situate myself where I would have these resources available to me. Other people move in, their parents.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah.

Tina Lee: Other people move closer to their parents. Everyone has a different situation, right? And I’m lucky in that I have a great partner. So all of these things help me succeed. But on a company level, what would make it even better, as I mentioned earlier, some flexible schedules. If I have a role where I pretty much can do work without being physically in the office, I should be allowed to do that, right?

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yep.

Tina Lee: And if I happen to work with other people who are caregiving, not just kids but for their parents, or they happen to do other things in the community, they should be given that right, too. So having this flexibility actually benefits everyone in the company.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah.

Tina Lee: Paid parental leave is huge, right? And also really thinking about how to combat that implicit bias against women and mothers, right? And that kind of speaks to the larger problem of the societal expectation that women are expected to provide caregiving and men are not, that women should stay home after they have kids, right?

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah.

Tina Lee: And the reality is that our society’s changing, women are more educated, they’re working. Forty-five percent of families with kids under 18 now have two working parents working full time to stay afloat, right? And so the reality is that we need to change some policies around how we support parents in general, caregivers in general. And I’m really glad that people like Sheryl Sandberg through Lean In, Emily Slaughter through her books, and then Lisa, too, are really tackling this societal piece because we can’t change. We’re not going to see change until we have culture change and I think that’s a long-term thing that needs to happen. Struggling To Stay Relevant In Your Career

Poornima Vijayashanker: So let’s bring it back to the struggle to stay relevant, right? You take a pause for parenthood, or you downshift, or maybe you don’t even downshift, but there’s this perception that you are downshifting. So I think it’s great that there are retraining programs like yours. How do you see these programs evolving overtime?

Tina Lee: I don’t know.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah.

Tina Lee: That’s the honest answer.

Poornima Vijayashanker: OK.

Tina Lee: I don’t know, because—

Poornima Vijayashanker: But you see people embracing them?

Tina Lee: Yes, people are embracing them, but I think we’re at the beginning stages of just having this consciousness that tech is moving really fast.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah.

Tina Lee: We live in this world where you have to continuously learn in order to stay relevant whether you’re a caregiver or not, right?

Poornima Vijayashanker: Right.

Why companies need to invest in retraining programs

Tina Lee: That’s why companies invest in professional development budgets and provide access to online training courses or learning plans. So I think we as a society know that people need to stay fresh on top of the skills and understand how fast things are changing in the industries, right? And that’s why they invest in the professional development piece, but they also will have to come up with new ways of providing those to people who may not have the capacity to go to the one-week conference.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah.

Tina Lee: Or the “take three months off to learn how to become a full-stack web developer” type of programs, right? Those all-in programs are going to be very challenging for people with caregiving responsibilities and that’s why you don’t see an influx of caregivers in those types of boot camps or in online learning, right?

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah.

Tina Lee: Because as I spent time in ED School, I know that learning is very social and I’m a big believer that context is important. It’s great if you learn how to speak French by yourself, at home, in front of a computer but if—

Poornima Vijayashanker: No, I tried that. I have a terrible accent.

Tina Lee: But yeah it would be better if you had actually visited France.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Right.

Tina Lee: If you understood French culture and maybe even had some French friends and had a French meal. So it brings it all together and that’s kind of the experience that we aim for because it’s not just the skills. It has to happen in context.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah. So why teach these technical skills? Why not just get people to get better at management skills or some of the other softer skills? Why do you want to focus on tech skills?

Tina Lee: I think tech is transforming our economy. It’s just going to be one of those things that we take for granted, right? And having that literacy is going to empower you to think about your own industry differently. And it’s going to impact the way you approach a problem differently. And I think once moms gain that level of tech literacy, it just gives them a level of confidence to approach this new phase in their life differently because a world of opportunity will open up, right? I think before in the beginning, when things were still very technical to the point where you had to have a bachelor’s or a master’s degree to understand it, then it was less accessible.

But now we’re at the point where we’ve automated a lot of these things and made it a little bit more friendly. And I think if you’re really going to innovate, it’s just as important to understand the problems in the industry and then figure out the technical piece that goes along with that. And I think there’s enough room for everyone to participate in that exercise.

What success looks like for the MotherCoders cohort

Poornima Vijayashanker: So why don’t we talk a little bit about the type of people you see coming to your program, other coders—are these people that are outside of tech? Or are they people within tech who maybe were on the business side and then wanted to transition into the technical side?

Tina Lee: So, after running five cohorts now, some patterns are emerging, right? We mainly see women who are working moms and they want to get technical but can’t find a solution that works with them because of scheduling or child care issues. They know that their path to career advancement requires them to gain this new skill set, right? So they want access to it and we provide that for them. Another group of moms who come to us, like you mentioned earlier, they may have stepped out for a little bit. A year, six months, some even 10 years, right? And they’re just looking for a refresh. To figure out a way to connect their passions to a path forward.

And then the last group, these are entrepreneurs who have an idea for an app or they are already on their way to building a company and they just realize, like, “Hey, I’m kind of stuck now and I can’t proceed without a grander understanding of what it is I’m trying to do and how to go about it.” And so they come to us. So those are kind of the three groups that we see. In terms of industry background, they just run across the gamut. We have moms who worked in a startup only on the operations side. So they wanted to get closer to moms who were scientists, who are working in a lab. And they’re like you know what? I actually want to do something else because it enables me to be more creative. So just really all over the map in terms of industry background.

A three-step approach to onboarding mothers into technical roles

Poornima Vijayashanker: And how do you go about doing the teaching?

Tina Lee: So, we have a three-pronged approach. As I mentioned before, it’s not just the technical skills.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Sure.

Tina Lee: So, we teach a little bit of code. All the moms are taught HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to build a basic website and how to launch it, but the goal of that really is to give them a taste of it, to see how it feels to build something and put it out into the world, and to really check themselves. “Do I like this enough to keep going?”

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah.

Tina Lee: Right? Or, “Is this enough? Or do I pivot?” The second piece that goes along with that is the community piece. So we bring in women from the field, like yourself, and we create this community not only of people who could mentor them, but people who provide access to job opportunities. And then of course they have each other.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah.

Tina Lee: Right? They can go to conferences together. They can just go to a café and help each other. And having that nerd mom comradery is really essential to success because, sometimes in the middle of the night and there’s no one else there, you can feel like you can ping someone.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Right.

Tina Lee: And then the last piece that we do, right, technical, community, and the last piece is the childcare piece, right? And that childcare piece really helps moms figure out in a safe space if this is something they want to go further. Right? And I would also argue that another piece of it is context. Although it’s hard to explain to people what I mean by that. What I mean by that is all of this is happening within context of what we see in everyday life and that piece of context is provided by the community, right? You come in and explain we use agile and that’s what it means in our shop.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah.

Tina Lee: Or we believe in rapid prototyping and design thinking and that’s how it works in our shop. Right? So all of these things are relevant. Not just the building part or not just the hanging-out-with-your-people part.

Poornima Vijayashanker: So that’s great. So how do you pick a cohort?

Tina Lee: We pick a cohort the way I would build a team.

Poornima Vijayashanker: OK.

Tina Lee: So because…before I used to be a technical rep, I spent some time being a recruiter, and having that safe space for learning is really important. And I realize how hard it is to do this when you are a mother as well. So I work with my board and we have several steps to our application process, the last one of which is an in-person interview.

Poornima Vijayashanker: OK.

Tina Lee: Where we really talk to the moms. “Are we right for you? Are you ready for this?” Because a lot of learning will have to happen outside of the classroom too, right? So they have to have capacity and they have to be really clear about why they’re doing it because otherwise you’re not going to stick to it and it’s not going to feel like you achieved something at the end, right? So we walk them through that. And it’s worked out pretty well. All the moms come together and I think because being a mother is such a democratizing experience they all show up as people who are there to support each other, and want to learn together, and move forward together.

A day in the life of MotherCoders

Poornima Vijayashanker: So walk us through what a day in the life of MotherCoders looks like.

Tina Lee: Sure.

Poornima Vijayashanker: For your students.

Tina Lee: So, Saturday only classes right? You would go…you would drop off your baby. So we have a half an hour transition time. It takes a while to explain have they eaten, have they slept, all that stuff.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Right.

Tina Lee: So you hand off to the caregiver and you’re in your seat by 10:00 right?

And then you learn until noon. And then we have lunch together. We always have lunch catered because it’s such a special time and they have to bond. And a lot of times we’ll have speakers there too, right, who will stay and hang out with them. So it’s a great time to just kind of network and talk. And then after lunch they learn some more. And then around 3, we leave half an hour for reflection. So I’m big on you learn, but at the end of the day, you have to pause and really connect what happened to how you’re feeling about it and how it connects to your own understanding of the work, OK? And then after that they pick up their kid and then they go.

Poornima Vijayashanker: OK.

Balancing technical skills with career development skills

Tina Lee: In terms of content, it will vary by day. We have specific build days where people just get together and they build and we help you work through your wireframes and your issues. There are days when we have lectures. We don’t really have a lot of lectures. We have “discussions,” I should call them. And then there are other days when we have guest speakers who come in and they talk about a topic that they want to talk about, or they do a workshop, or something I’ve been doing is I’ve been pairing a cyber security info sec expert with data scientists.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah.

Tina Lee: So on one side you have data scientists who want like all the data, and then the other side you have people who are in charge of the data or making sure they’re following the rules about data and saying, “Whoa.” So that’s been a very illuminating conversation, too. So we’ve been doing stuff like that.

Poornima Vijayashanker: That sounds great. So how many people have you graduated? You mentioned you have five cohorts coming who have gone through the program?

Tina Lee: Thirty-four so far.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Great. OK.

Tina Lee: Yeah we’re really delighted because 34 moms represents families, right?

Tina Lee: And there is over 50 kids. And another way to think about this is we’ve placed 34 stem role models.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Oh, great.

Tina Lee: Right? Into homes. They are inspiring our next generation of kids. Right? So not only are these women changing the trajectory of their own family like right now, their kids are going to be impacted, too. So we’re really looking at this from a multi-generational perspective.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah. That’s fantastic. So what are some immediate outcomes that you see from them graduating in the program?

Tina Lee: Jobs!

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah.

Tina Lee: They’re getting jobs.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Good. OK.

Tina Lee: They’re getting jobs in tech, right?

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah.

Tina Lee: So we have moms who have become front end engineers. We have moms who have become mobile app developers. We have moms who have become user experience designers. Some have been promoted, of course, because now they have this new tool kit. And then we have other moms who are proceeding with their startup dreams. So potentially, right, we have entrepreneurs out there. So, this has been really exciting to see them grow.

Poornima Vijayashanker: That’s great. So it’s a lot of variety of outcomes but all pretty positive.

Tina Lee: Mm-hmm.

Poornima Vijayashanker: So how do you measure success for MotherCoders?

Tina Lee: Right now the way we’re measuring success is completion.

We’re also looking at how diverse we are in terms of the people that we have in our classes. Right? I’m an intersectional feminist.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah.

Tina Lee: Eighty-one percent of women become moms and if companies are really worried about diversity? I’m like, “Come to me, because we have queer moms, we have moms that emigrated from other countries, like just everybody.” We just think about it racially, religiously, geographically, right? So the way we measure success—there’s a piece of the diversity piece, and then there’s a completion piece, and then we’re starting to track not only who got jobs or who got promoted, but how much did they increase their income?

Poornima Vijayashanker: Oh, great.

Tina Lee: Or earning potential? Right?

And that’s been tricky because we’ve been running cohorts and it takes time. And different moms have different capacities, as I mentioned. And some of them have kids, again.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Sure.

Tina Lee: Because moms do. So, we’re trying to figure out a way to tell that story better but just anecdotally because there are only 34 moms, I keep pretty close tabs on them.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah.

Tina Lee: I know that they are making more money because some are buying new homes.

Poornima Vijayashanker: OK.

Tina Lee: Some are buying new other things.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah.

Tina Lee: And they’re updating their LinkedIn profiles and LinkedIn tells me that, right?

Poornima Vijayashanker: Sure.

Tina Lee: So we know that they’re getting skills, getting new jobs, buying homes, and on top of that, starting businesses.

Poornima Vijayashanker: So I love that you care about this diversity piece, and I do, too. So I’m going to ask you this question: What about Father Coders? You know there’s a lot of stay-at-home dads that’s becoming less and less of a stigma, but would you ever be open to allowing men to come in and participate in your program?

Tina Lee: Not in the foreseeable future.

Poornima Vijayashanker: OK.

Tina Lee: And here’s why, right? The reason why we don’t do Father Coders is exactly the same reasons why we do MotherCoders, right?

Poornima Vijayashanker: OK.

Tina Lee: Think about it from a kind of a cultural perspective.

I have actually gone to meetups and programs. They’re very friendly. Not that they’re not friendly to women, but in terms of belonging, I think women have a harder time feeling a sense of belonging in those spaces, right? And you walk into a room and you don’t see anyone who looks like you…it’s very intimidating and there’s a lot of trepidation around going back again.

So we create this safe space where we know that women will find inviting, right? And I think mothers specifically have a very unique set of challenges, right? That go beyond just being a woman, right? The scheduling, the feeling of pressure to be the perfect mom, and the perfect spouse, and the perfect worker, all the perfect things, right? And then on top of that picking up skills and working in an industry that’s predominantly men is very intimidating, right?

Poornima Vijayashanker: OK.

Tina Lee: So all of that comes together in MotherCoders. And I understand that fathers have the same challenges with scheduling, but I bet you they would feel less trepidation walking into a space that was designed more for someone without the challenges that moms have.

And we actually have had conversations with women who come up to me and say, “I’m not a mother but I care for a family member. Can I come?”

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah.

Tina Lee: So I can see at some point that we rethink our structure.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Oh I see. Right.

Tina Lee: But we exist for the same reason that Hackbright exists and Women’s Colleges exist.

I graduated out of a Women’s College. So all of those things still stand and until we kind of break apart some of those barriers to women I think I need to keep doing what I’m doing now.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Thank you so much for coming on the show. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our audience before we end?

Tina Lee: Yes, I would love to share with you kind of my pie-in-the-sky kind of vision that I’m working towards, right? Women from all all over the U.S. and the world reach out to me and ask when we’re coming to their communities.

Poornima Vijayashanker: OK. Yeah.

Tina Lee: So I know there’s a desire for this type of training program all over and we’re trying to figure out a way to get there. And we envision ourselves being in any community that wants to have a MotherCoders but, because, you’d know, technology varies by geography, and industry, and all these different things. We want to design a program that’s thoughtful enough and flexible enough where they can design it to fit their local conditions, right? To fit the needs of their local employers so that moms will have a place to move to. So we are moving towards that. We are actively fundraising towards that.

And the reason that we’re a nonprofit is because we’re committed to helping women who cannot afford to pay $10,000 for Bootcamp or they’re not sure if they want to invest in that even before having tried out something more preliminary. So we are working towards a vision where we’re all across America, if not the world, so that we could help women everywhere as they transition into being moms and thrive in the workplace.

How You Can Get Involved With MotherCoders

Poornima Vijayashanker: Great. So how can we help you with that?

Tina Lee: Well, help us get our word out. This is great, right?

Help us send moms who are interested in taking our program to us. I would also love it if employers who are worried about retaining moms that they have to provide professional development for them through us. And then also figure out a way to maybe work with us to develop programs or return ships where women who may have stepped off want to get a refresh and then go back.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Yeah.

Tina Lee: So those are great ways. And then of course, we’re always looking for donations, always looking for sponsorships. So many ways to partner with us and everything can be found on our website.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Wonderful. Well we’ll be sure to include the link to it.

Tina Lee: Thank you.

Poornima Vijayashanker: Thank you again for joining us, Tina. Thank you for tuning in today and special thanks to our sponsor, Pivotal Tracker, for their help in producing this episode of Femgineer TV. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, then please be sure to share it with your friends, your team, your employer, and of course, all the mothers that you know to get the word out. And be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to receive the next episode of Femgineer TV. Ciao for now.


FemgineerTV is produced as a partnership between Femgineer and Pivotal Tracker. San Francisco video production by StartMotionMEDIA.

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