The Power of Encouraging Women Who Code

Personal Capital is proud to sponsor Women Who Code, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring women to excel in the technology industry.

Most articles about the ratio of women to men in tech focus on the negative, citing differences in population, salary, and leadership roles. I would like to take time to put a spotlight on a couple of positive anecdotes that show how people can make a huge difference by providing a little support.

About a year ago, a female friend of mine pulled me aside at dinner and told me she had made a career change to become a web developer. She said the idea of entering the tech industry first took hold after a discussion we had years back, in which I (as a female developer myself) had encouraged her toward this new direction. The news was such a pleasant surprise because it made me realize how a simple conversation can change the course of a person’s life in a positive way, either through the introduction of an idea or by instilling confidence in one that had been lying dormant.

It reminded me of a conversation that changed the course of my own life. It was my first year at UC Berkeley, and I was taking CS3: Introduction to Symbolic Programming, on a whim. I loved the class and considered departing the hazy pre-med path my parents laid out for a computer science focus. I was concerned, though, because so many people in the class had previous programming experience and I was starting from scratch. I asked my sister if I was crazy for pursuing this foreign path, and she told me that if I was good at it and liked it, go for it.

Fast forward to now, I’m the Director of Mobile Technology at Personal Capital, a company that I believe in, where I’m doing what I love. It just goes to show how a little inspiration and support can go a long way, and I’m proud that Personal Capital is sponsoring Women Who Code, an organization that is dedicated in providing both.

The Art of Data Aggregation: Personal Capital @ FinDevR 2014

On September 30, Personal Capital presented at the inaugural FinDevR conference in San Francisco. FinDevR, a spinoff of the successful Finovate conference, is oriented to developers and technologists in the very robust financial technology (aka fintech) space. The conference sponsorship was dominated by some well-known household names, such as MasterCard, Paypal, Intuit, and TD Ameritrade, as well as lesser-known (but prominent in fintech) companies such as Yodlee and XIgnite.

In addition to the big players there, there were plenty of emerging entrepreneurs there among the 40+ sponsors and presenters, and it was a great chance to talk tech, rather than business models and user acquisition, with some smart people that were out showcasing great ideas. Payment technology was a big theme at the conference, as well as small-business and micro-lending; social/community angles on financial domain;  big data (always), and lots more. Several companies were there launching new platforms and service, such as Finicity’s account aggregation platform, and Kabbage’s Karrot lending platform for individuals.  It was a well-organized event, especially considering that this was the first time it had been offered, and organizers said there were over 400 attendees.  (CES it is not, and thank goodness for that).

Ehsan and I presented a talk there for developers, “The Art of Data Aggregation”, sharing some of our ideas for financial data aggregation, the foundation for data-intensive fintech services and applications. While most of the other presenters were there pitching their b2b services for fintech developers, we got to relax and just share a purely technical talk, without the added burden of needing to sell anything. (OK, *fine*, we did mention that Personal Capital helps over 600,000 people manage over $100 billion in assets.  I actually don’t really get tired of saying that).  If you’re interested in watching a video of our 6-minute presentation, or any other the presentations, check it out.