Meet Raffaela Rein, CEO & Cofounder of CareerFoundry.
Interviewed by Jess Erickson
What's your background?
At heart I am really a strategist, organizer and hustler. I worked as a banker before moving into tech, where I started out as a data scientist. Since then I have taken on much more strategic business development roles before founding my own business and becoming CEO of CareerFoundry.
Over the years, I've learned a lot about what it takes to build a strong community. In two years, our community has grown and blossomed into something more than just a network. This past July we opened our second hub in Hamburg, and now it feels more like a movement.
Our talks, workshops, hackathons and mentorship programs have connected women through a grassroots structure and built a space to share wisdom and experience. It's been a pleasure to watch the interaction between the women in our community and to see the shared value in helping one another.
After much consideration, we've decided to expand the Geekettes footprint beyond Germany and unite women across Europe and America with hopes of someday expanding to Asia, Latin American, Africa and further beyond. But for now, we're not biting off more than we can chew and we're going to expand into a select number of cities where we see strong community leaders with their hearts in the right place.
Over the years, I've had the wonderful opportunity to build personal relationships with brilliant women of tech across the globe. Women who are pioneering their own businesses, women who are building their own products, women who are creating communities and inspiring the next generation of women to follow in their footsteps.
Berlin - I had the pleasure of meeting Denise at the first Rails Girls event where we connected over a shared interest in learning how to code. Later she would join me to become Cofounder of the Geekettes organization, and together we took the leap and left our daytime jobs to go full-time with our pursuit of bringing more women into the tech industry. We see this as a very important goal to have in the coming years and we're so very happy to be working with our ambassadors Lisa, Aurelie and Amelie. End goal? We want to work in an industry that is diverse and have a long-lasting impact for the future.
Hamburg - Later we would connect with Diana, a mom and full time engineer who participated in the first Berlin Geekettes hackathon. She was impressed by the two-day event and asked if Tina and herself could spearhead the second hub in their hometown of Hamburg. We loved their ideas and collectively said "lets do it". They are really killing it right now and we couldn't be more proud of their work and dedication.
London - After our first hackathon, a wonderful Facebook engineer based in London introduced us to Marily. She is a bright-eyed, high-spirited individual who fell in love with Berlin Geekettes and took the step to reach out to us and ask if we would consider opening up in London. We connected over a shared interest in getting more women into hackathons and this in turn got us thinking about the bigger picture. She later introduced us to Claire who was also a big fan of supporting women and together they are ready to rock it in London town.
Maastricht - I met Ana through the Maastricht Week of Entrepreneurship. She graciously invited me to be a guest speaker and I had a really wonderful time connecting with her peers. All were studying in their Masters and PhD programs and were interested in possibly jumpstarting their own businesses. It was wonderful to see them open up, discuss issues in the industry and brainstorm solutions for the future. Ana has a way of effortlessly connecting people and building programs all over Europe. In many ways, she will be welcoming next gen of women into the tech industry through her outreach at University. I'm excited to see what's to come.
NYC - Ahhh, my old stomping grounds. A wonderful city with amazing women. I'm so lucky that I had the pleasure of building a friendship with Anna and Hollie. I studied with Anna in London and would later reconnect with her in NYC. Together we shared a passion for music, and today we share a passion for tech. It's the future, but these are definitely gals I wouldn't mind heading to a SXSW rock show with. We are also gaining support from Wendy and Florencia, dear friends from my days studying at LSE. All of them make up a very diverse team that will surely introduce a diverse set of programs this year.
Portugal - If you live in Europe and work in tech, you have probably met Ines. If not, you're living under a rock. Here is a woman who is uniting European entrepreneurs and connecting interesting people across countries. We met through Sandbox, another powerful community that has a presence in different corners of the world. She introduced me to Ana at the Switch Conference in Lisbon. Ana spearheaded coding initiatives in Portugal among many other achievements. Together, the two will host Geekettes events across many cities, so get ready!
Twin Cities - Ok, this one was a no brainer for me. Minneapolis is my hometown and will always be where my heart is. I was so excited to reconnect with an old colleague Sara over a discussion around the Grace Hopper Conference. You could hear the excitement in her voice and through her emails. She was blown away by the energy and collaborative spirit of the conference. She took that energy and spearheaded a movement within Best Buy and would later reach out to us in hopes of expanding the Geekettes footprint to the Twin Cities. She would then later introduce us to her colleague Shruti, a talented engineer who had a keen interest on helping us grow. P.S. You can be sure my mother will be attending future meet ups ;)
I'm really looking forward to 2014. This is the year that I believe we will see a major evolution for women in tech. With programs sprouting all over the world to support women, we're definitely going to see some big progress. More women will begin starting their own businesses, breaking into engineering roles and pioneering fresh ideas within the industry as a whole. I'm more confident than ever before and very excited to see what our new ambassadors will create in their respective cities. We hope to someday bring all the women in each new city together and foster a collaborative environment that crosses all borders. Synergies between ambassadors are already happening, I can only imagine what will happen next.
If you want to join our community, please sign up for membership today: http://www.geekettes.io/membership/
Official hashtag: #geekettesgoglobal
Interviewed by Jess Erickson , Founder of Berlin Geekettes
What's your background?
I guess I am what pop culture references as a Third Culture Kid. My father is Pakistani and my mother is Bangladeshi - I was born in Dubai, and went to international schools in Dhaka and then Islamabad before moving to the United States for university when I was 18. I have a Bachelors in Foreign Affairs & Middle East Studies, and a Masters in International Affairs with a focus in Conflict Resolution. Currently, my work has little to do with what I studied - ah well!
For full interview
Interviewed by Jess Erickson.
Lets Start With An Intro. Where Are You Living Now And What Are You Up To?
My girlfriend and I share an apartment in Berlin but I travel a lot. Right now I’m in Hawaii for a funeral. Then I’m in San Francisco for five days, then Paris for one day, then back in Berlin. Two days after that, I’m off again to India for a think tank with the Global Superangels Forum, an Indian investor and startup network that I’m part of. We’re the first of its kind in Asia and it’s very exciting. Our founder Rajesh Sawhney is almost like a cult leader. The email chains we have on the team are some of the most in-depth and philosophical of any startup stuff I’ve been part of. It’s the bomb.
For full interview
Berlin Geekettes caught up with author, entrepreneur and ‘women in tech’ expert Pemo Thoeodore to find out her views on the tech scene in the Valley, learn more about her research and to seek advice on how women in Berlin can better support one another.
Interviewed by Jess Erickson
Full interview here.
Spring is upon us! We've struggled through the long Berlin winter and now its time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Here are a few tracks that have added a little pep to my step. #yolo #swagalicious
1) Quakers - Fitta Happier
A friend from University just launched his new documentary "Our Vinyl Weights a Ton". The theme song is HOT, have a listen:
2) M.I.A. - Yala (Falcons Remix)
Who doesn't love M.I.A and Falcons? Put them together, this is what you get:
3) Soul Clap's Crew Love Carnivale Mix
I love the mix that begins at 3:15. Makes me want to hop on a plane and fly to South America.
4) DJ Rashad - Let U No (feat. Spinn)
Ok, I know this is a Youtube video but I couldn't find this track on SoundCloud. DJ Rashad all up in my grill.
5) Somepling - Flowering Gram
Keepin' it fresh.
Back in Berlin and its been busy. Luckily I have excellent music to get me through the long days. We have an upcoming "Berlin Geekettes" show next week at Berghain Kantine and I'm getting super duper excited. Here is a collection of music showcasing some of the artists playing at our event and other goodies I've found along the way.
1) Sarah Farina - 60 Min Boiler Room Berlin Mix
#footstep #footwork #boilerroom #hiphop #jungle #omunit
2) Six Girls - Always//Never
#house #r'n'b #fresh
3) Disclosure - You & Me (Flume Remix)
I was shopping at All Saints yesterday and this song was playing. Shazam'd it and now its playing on repeat. #UK
4) Charlotte OC - Hangover (Moodymann Remix)
This one went super viral. Found it via Nico De Ceglia (BBC Radio 1 DJ/Producer).
#berghain #synthpop #bluesy #windup
5) AlunaGeorge - You Know You Like It (Lapalux's Bass Ballad Remix)
#UK #lounging #r'n'b #sexy
I'm back in Minnesota for the coldest time of year (-29 Celcius). I hope to hit up French Park for some intense nordic skiing as well as a few underground techno parties in Minneapolis. Chillin' and listening to these warm/icy tracks:
1) "The Leopard" - Minilogue
When you're skiing, make sure this track is in your mix. And as my dad says, strap on a Camelbak, fill it with brandy and hit the trails at night. I think music should be included.
2) "ARMED 3" - tommyfourseven
This track is pretty dark and sinister. It sounds incredible on a decent sound system and probably even better in Berghain..... #industrial #machines
3) "Tell Me" - Cosmonaut Grechko
A fun, bouncy track I'd go ice skating to. Bright and happy:) Triple Salchow the $hit out of this one.
4) "Turn it Around" - Lucius
My anthem for "vintage shopping in uptown with friends" day. #hipsteress
5) "Fires Ft Josh Record" - Bondax
Cozy up to a fireplace, sip on some hot chocolate and if you have a lover around, get ready for a make out session.... this song is super saxxxaaayyyyy.....
For a bigger song selection, visit my SoundCloud page.
The word "Hapa" originally comes from a Hawaiian word for “half". It used to be considered a derogatory word but today it is embraced as a term of identity by folks who are mixed-race heritage that includes Asian or Pacific Rim ancestry.
Question: "So, what are you?"
Answer: I am of Korean and Norwegian heritage and often identify myself as "Korwegian". My ancestors were Vikings, Mongolians, adventurers, nomads, immigrants and entrepreneurs. I am proud of who I am.
In the past, I had an identity crisis due to kids picking on me but today I'm proud of my unique cultural makeup and believe that it has contributed to my curiosity of the outside world and made me a lover of all things different.
I compiled a list of random thoughts this morning over breakfast that I'm sure my fellow Hapas can relate to. If I'm missing anything, feel free to add them in the comments section below.
Here we go:
1) Koreans think I'm white and white folks think I'm Asian.
2) People often ask, "so, what are you?"
3) You meet a fellow hapa and there is an instant connection
4) You get excited when you spot a hapa on an advert.
5) People use to ask: "Is that your dad? Were you adopted?"
6) Its normal to be eating dried squid one day and pickled herring the next.
7) As a kid, you get called Asian derogatory names. You feel sad, ashamed and embarrassed. Then as you grow older, you begin to embrace your Asian roots and identity and ignore the meanies. You finally begin to celebrate your heritage and be proud of your differences and rich cultural background. Screw this Jonas brother, he's ignorant.
8) As an adult, you're still called derogatory names. Only this time, you know how to stand up for yourself and report the abuse.
9) People ask "do you date white guys or asian guys?"
10) You often get mistaken for a variety of different nationalities/backgrounds. You've been told you look Mexican, Hawaiian, Alaskan, Mongolian, Japanese, Chinese, Uzbekistani, North Korean....the list goes on (you should have been an international spy).
11) You celebrate Loving Day, an important milestone in American history where interracial marriage was legally allowed in the U.S. in 1967. The Loving Day name comes from Loving v. Virginia (1967), the landmark Supreme Court decision that declared all laws against interracial marriage unconstitutional in the United States. Everyone should have the right to marry. If they are of different race, same sex, different religion. Let's just love one another.
12) You get excited at the growing list of well-known hapas: Keanu Reeves, Devon Aoki, Sean Lennon, Norah Jones, Kelis, Anne Curry, Apolo Ohno, Hines Ward.... who am I missing?
13) You're delighted at the fact that Dave McClure has just told you San Francisco has a large population of hapas and you now will strongly consider moving there in the future:) Hapa mecca is calling...
14) You were frustrated when filling out university applications because you were only allowed to click one ethnic background box (White, Asian, Native American, African American). Do you pick your mom or dad's side? Pick one! Are you white or Asian??
15) Before we were rare, now we're everywhere.
16) Are we the face of the future? When cultures blend more and more, will we all eventually look the same?
17) Question: Who is asian? Your mom or your dad?
Answer: My mom.
Reply: Was she a nurse and met your father in the war?
18) You want to fit into both worlds but sometimes that can be a struggle. But somehow you always find a way;)
19) For the first time, the U.S. Census Bureau allowed you to classify yourself in 2 or more racial and ethnic categories. It's about damn time.
20) The 21st century has brought us globalization. People are more open to mixed relationships and interracial marriage. Faith in humanity is restored.
I'm proud to be a hapa and happy that my parents fell in love and grew old together in a time where it was not always accepted.
Finding the optimal work-life balance is always a tough task. But stress no more. We have assembled some of our finest ambassadors to show you how to not only make your business more effective and productive, but also how to streamline your workflow too.
Join Jess Erickson (Founder of Berlin Geekettes), Josh Zerkel (User Education Specialist from Evernote) and Moritz Zumbühl (Evernote Business customer and CEO of Feinheit) as they share their experiences and best practices on how to make the most of Evernote on iOS to improve your business’ productivity.
Location: Apple Store, Kufürstendamm (Berlin, Germany)
I think most gals who head out for a night on the town have some music blasting as they are getting ready. This is a little warm up list for the ladies. You won't get the full pre-party effect unless you have a decent soundsystem. It doesn't need to be a Funktion One, but don't bother relying on your MacBook Air speakers. Invest.
I remember the first time I became interested in technology. It was when I was working for a small startup out of Manhattan but I knew the feeling was part of something bigger. I immediately fell in love with how limitless technology felt; how it crossed borders, ages and skills sets.
I have always wanted to push myself and take my energy and intelligence as far as it can go. I knew working with technology would allow me to do just that. But the more I delved deeper, the more I realized there was a gender imbalance. I quickly discovered that technology wasn’t so limitless; it was actually limited for me—as a woman. I wasn’t given the opportunities I deserved and I was often silenced when I wanted to take things to the next level. People treated me differently because I was a woman. I wondered how many other women were going through the same experience, and the more I asked, the more I realized I wasn’t alone.
For full piece, please visit Lean In Org here.