Non-profit aims to help women overcome barriers in tech field

A local non-profit is helping women overcome barriers to join the tech field, working to connect women from all walks of life with the communities and resources they need to succeed in tech careers. (Photo courtesy of Lyssa Louise)

LANE COUNTY, Ore. - A local non-profit is helping women overcome barriers to join the tech field, working to connect women from all walks of life with the communities and resources they need to succeed in tech careers.

It all started with an experiment over a year ago, when Lauren Jerome, the co-founder of "Redefining Women in Tech," had an idea to support women interested in technology careers.

"What if we put on events that are by women, for women," asked Jerome. "Would we get a different reaction? And we did."

For Jerome, the idea was to give women who are interested in tech-centric jobs an equal opportunity.

"A lot of the women who helped get this organization started have gone through at least one or more career transitions, so we're focusing there," said Jerome. "People that didn't find the right career or the tech career, or their career's changing, the job force is changing, and now they're looking to get into tech."

That was the case for Darla Beardsley, who had been working in advertising for 15 years, until a year or so ago.

"I had mostly done print, so I was interested in doing more website design and things, and I didn't have a whole lot of experience with that," said Beardsley. "So I just started trying to meet people who knew about that sort of thing."

Beardsley found and attended one of the very first Redefining Women in Tech events, and now works as a freelance graphic designer.

"People that know stuff you don't know, or just are there to be in your corner to encourage you, that's what's really powerful for me," said Beardsley. "That's what's really nice to have, and Redefining Women in Tech does that very well."

Now, after more than a year, what started as an experiment is helping to redefine an industry.

Redefining Women in Tech is currently planning events in Eugene, and looking for mentors from any region. For more information, you can visit their Facebook page, or go to their website here.


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