Diversity talk: “If you want to advance, make it known and be persistent. You’ll need a thick skin”
Women are underrepresented in the tech sector —myth or reality? Last year, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Shayn Baron, co-founder and Community Director at Crocagile.
A research study by The National Center for Women & Information Technology showed that “gender diversity has specific benefits in technology settings,” which could explain why tech companies have started to invest in initiatives that aim to boost the number of female applicants, recruit them in a more effective way, retain them for longer, and give them the opportunity to advance. But is it enough?
Last year, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Shayn Baron, co-founder and Community Director at Crocagile.
Shayn Baron, Crocagile
Shayn Baron is co-founder and Community Director at Crocagile, a SaaS startup bringing agile teams together with highly-collaborative workspaces. She devoted her career to the creation of Crocagile and she works every day to make sure Crocagile is always meeting the users’ expectations. She’s also a partner at Goodfellaz.com and a work-from-home-in-your-pajamas expert.
Follow her on Twitter: @shaynbaron
What got you interested in technology?
I began exploring photoshop when I was 20. I was a model, and I hated bothering my techie boyfriend every time one of my photos needed resizing. Before I knew it I was editing my own photos, resizing them, altering the background, enhancing my lip color, and making full-blown designer comp cards. It was awesome and liberating. I loved that I could manipulate software to create what I had imagined. When I eventually transitioned to acting, I learned how to cut movies with iMovie. Most actors needed a techie to produce a reel, but not me… I cut my own.
As a model/actress, I was surrounded by products, entrepreneurs, and interesting people. I got a behind-the-scenes look at business. I learned what it was to market and promote products and the importance of design. Acting taught me how to tell a good story. It was a great primer and a natural transition for me.
My family has been incredibly supportive. My husband is my partner and mentor. Early in his career, I inspired him to develop an online portfolio for models. He ended up selling it to big agencies like Ford. When he eventually started a software development shop, I helped him with client coordination, testing, research, wire framing and anything else he needed. As his company grew to a team of 25+, we had a hard time finding good software that could meet the demands of a fully-remote agile team. That’s what sparked the idea for Crocagile.
I watched our founding team build Croc from the ground up, when it was an awful little proof of concept that no one but our team would ever use. We had our clients use it, learned from their feedback, scrapped the whole thing several times, and eventually came to a point where the R&D work finally struck a chord with the market. What we ended up with is an all-inclusive lean agile system that is dead simple to use, and fun & exciting for the whole team.
Any bumps in the road?
A former colleague once tried to dissuade the team from allowing me to lead our marketing efforts in a radical new direction. His argument was that I wasn’t qualified to lead because I didn’t have a degree from university, and he lobbied to bring me on board with far less equity than I was worth. It was a stressful battle, but I stood up for myself and received the position and equity I wanted. Today, we call these radical ideas “growth hacking”. :)
A day in Shayn’s life
Today, I’m co-founder of Crocagile, a SaaS company. We’re a small work-from-home team so I wear many hats. We use Crocagile to build Crocagile. I handle our marketing and customer success goals. Together, our whole team collaborates with customers over Live Support Chat to help make sure we’re addressing their needs. Right now we’re wrapping up a few more things so we can launch on Product Hunt.
Why aren’t there more women in tech?
I think it starts with the fact that technology courses like computer science and software design are not part of core curriculum. It’s crazy to me that in 2018 we aren’t aggressively preparing our kids for the tech-enabled future. It’s also frustrating that technology opportunities are still mostly marketed towards men. We still have a long way to go, but it’s encouraging to see groups like “Girls Who Code”. They’re an inspiration and we need more of them. The tech industry is a sausage fest and that’s intimidating for any woman. Especially, when you read or hear about the abuse that goes on.
Women in STEM
More women in STEM will create a better balance and will fill more jobs. Women also have an emotional and nurturing way of looking at things. Our passion for our careers, our creativity, and our natural empathy will help make the world a better place. More women would translate into a more caring, involved, and empathetic society.
Some people might dismiss you or treat you less then an equal. Don’t let them. Stand up for yourself. Make your voice heard. Good talent is in high demand these days, so don’t be afraid to get out there and try something new.
Tips & tricks
If you want to advance make it know and be persistent. You’ll need a thick skin. Understand that you might encounter chauvinistic behavior. If so, stand up for yourself. If it doesn’t change at the source make it public. If that doesn’t work find a place that values you and treats you as an equal.
Don’t miss our Women in Tech profiles:
- “Technology reflects the people who make it”
- “In the right company, working in tech is a great career”
- Why women fall out of the tech pipeline
- Breaking the mold: ‘It’s not that you’re good — it’s that you’re female’
- How to avoid the culture of male programmers
- Creating an equal playing field is about more than just teaching someone coding skills
- The more women you see in STEM, the less intimidating it is for others to join
- The tech industry tends to lose women along the way. Change is underway
- How to get (and stay) into the tech industry: Tips & tricks for women
- Transitioning into a tech career? Silicon Valley culture is one of the biggest initial obstacles
- Abby Kearns: “Diversity ensures continuous innovation”
- “In technology, you become a lifelong learner — More women should embrace this career”
- Cultural impact is not driven by gender, but by diversity
- Everyday superheroes: “I don’t have a role model, my career was based on my mistakes”
- Diversity talk: For tech, it’s less about a pipeline problem and more of a marketing problem
- Diversity talk: It’s important to receive support from tech communities
- Everyday superheroes: Women just need to see more of us — techie women
- Anyone who wants to learn and grow won’t continue in an industry that tells them they are stupid
- There is too much allowance for tolerating toxic people in tech
- Coding myths and how finding communities like Hear Me Code helps you learn best
- 3 strategies to try out if you want to support women in tech
- Young women carry less career gender bias and more media influence
- Women are often pigeonholed into “soft skill” roles and pushed away from engineering
- Diversity talk: Many women suffer from the impostor syndrome
- How to succeed in tech: Shutterstock’s Rashi Khurana gives her tips
- Diversity talk: Using lingo is making tech sound harder than it really is
- Diversity talk: “We can’t expect men to hand us equality on a silver platter”
- How to succeed in tech: Agnès Crepet gives her tips
- “Many people still need to be taught that diversity is more than just a trend”
- “Many companies lack the infrastructure & career growth opportunities to support female employees”
- “Diverse teams can help prevent unhealthy competition that occurs sometimes in male-dominated teams”
- How to succeed in tech: Testlio’s Kristel Kruustük shares her tips
- “As the tech field becomes cloud-based, the flexibility and remote work culture will grow”
- How to win the diversity battle: Tips from Atlassian’s Molly Hellerman
- Diversity talk: “Women should not be herded into a career to meet quotas”
- “The tech industry can move even faster by increasing the diversity of talent”
- Diversity talk: Even if your team is not very diverse, what matters is that they value you
- Diversity talk: Exec reveals her secret to success — Always be curious
- How to win the diversity battle: Tips from GitLab’s Barbie Brewer
- Diversity talk: Tips from Lisk’s Gina Contrino on how to succeed in tech
- “The combination of tech IQ and people EQ can set you apart in the tech world”
- “Mentorship, acceptance, and trust are really important in fostering gender diversity in the workplace”
- The tech industry is not solely responsible for pushing gender diversity
- “There isn’t enough clarity on what it means to work in tech and to be a woman in tech”
- Diversity talk: Exec reveals her secret to success — Become comfortable with change
- Diversity in the AI world & how imposter syndrome is vital!
- “Even if women decide to work as developers because they are passionate and qualified, they are sometimes treated like diversity hires”
- “We need fewer WiT luncheons and more women coding & deploying projects side by side with men”
- Diversity talk: How to overcome challenges in the workplace
- “We need to increase the awareness of the benefits and challenges of diversity”
- Diversity talk: The biggest obstacle we currently face is the idea that equality is here already
- How to succeed in tech: “Go ahead and do it. This is a great option for women”
- “I think the topic of diversity is viewed very narrowly to only mean race or gender”
- Breaking the mold: “Women are not solely responsible for solving the diversity challenge”
- How to succeed in tech: Katerina Skroumpelou gives her tips
- How to get (and stay) into the tech industry: Ana Cidre shares her tips & tricks
- Diversity talk: “We need to ditch the idea that women don’t love their careers as much as men do”
- How to succeed in tech: Samantha Quiñones gives her tips
- Diversity talk: People who act as gatekeepers in the tech community are part of the problem
- How to succeed in tech: Tzofia Shiftan shares her tips
- Diversity talk: “Tech is one of the most flexible and evolving industries that can work in women’s favor”