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Unicorns in Tech is turning 4 – it’s a celebration!

Created on June 28, 2014, Unicorns in Tech is turning 4 years old this year!

To celebrate this event, let’s look back at the Unicorns in Tech history, successes and foresee what the future will bring.

Bringing together the LGBT community and the tech world, Unicorns in Tech promotes diversity in workplaces. Started as a networking event for LGBT and straight allies, Unicorns in Tech grew over the years and currently gathers more than 2,800 international members.

With monthly get-togethers organised throughout the tech scene in Berlin, the event joins tech talks, pitches and networking in a family atmosphere. “It is important for us to bring diversity in the IT field,” says Stuart Cameron, founder of the Unicorns in Tech, “The tech world is not necessarily as open as one could imagine, and bringing visibility to LGBT and to women for those positions is a step in the right direction.” With hosting partners such as Project A, Bayer and Google, Unicorns in Tech appeals to more and more companies, who are seeing the potential to attract new talents and more diversity to their company.

As a global tech community for LGBT and straight allies, Unicorns in Tech now expands out of Berlin with events organised in Munich, but also in Amsterdam and Tel-Aviv for example. “The ambition is now to keep on growing and make the Unicorn in Tech movement more international, more diverse and more connected.”

To achieve this goal, a new platform is coming up by the end of the year under the name “Unicorns in Tech Academy”. Similarly to the events, the platform will bring together the whole tech community and create a network where developers, creatives and marketers, seniors or students, can all interact and share their knowledge with each other. The goal of the Academy will be to develop the skills and knowledge of the community members.

“It’s been four years since the Unicorns adventure started and there is still so much to do. With the launch of the Academy and the new get-togethers organised outside of Berlin, we give the community the frame for a stronger, more innovative and more diverse tech world.”

The Unicorns in tech is organised by Uhlala, a Berlin-based company founded in 2009 by Stuart Cameron. Supporting women in leadership position and a better LGBT diversity in business and tech firms, the company is at the origin of several projects such as the Sticks & Stones – LGBT Job Fair, RAHM – the LGBT Leadership Contest and community, and PANDA – the Women leadership contest.

 

Tranformation and self-discovery: Jazmin Medrano

How to reach your innate potential and believe in yourself? By Jazmin Medrano

It is a good day today, Unicorns! And we are here to give you some treat or better yet, another blog post! This time a special, inspirational message to us all from Jazmin Medrano.

Jazmin is a transformational coach, TEDx speaker, trainer, and artist. She is passionate about [self] expression, transformation, human dynamics, and healing power. Her lively, wise, inviting & entrepreneurial spirit supports individuals and companies to become aware of their limitations, unleash their truth and innate potential, and be in alignment with their purpose. She firmly believes that everyone has a unique power within them that is meant to be discovered, expressed, and shown for the world to experience. As a performance artist, she works and evolves in the realm of inviting and giving space for people to come more into contact with themselves, by way of channeling these energies and expressing them upon a blank canvas using charcoal and body (in kinetic form).

” Through many years of diving into my core and supporting others in their own transformational journey, I found that the content of this blog post was needed in order to promote a taste of freedom, expansion, and power. I’ve experienced that the majority of mankind strongly resonates to a collective conditioning that exudes fear, blame, lack of self-responsibility, suppression of one’s individuality, and more. My intrinsic motivation to write this came from my intention to spread awareness of what I perceive supports others in not conforming to mediocrity or a fear-based and reactionary way of life; but rather to live a love-based, freeing and creational way of life.”

Suggested song to listen to as you read the blog post:  Dom La Lena – Batuque (Jeremy Sole & Atropolis Remix)

” My message to you, me, and the world…

Discover who you truly are. Ask yourself the question that you don’t want to ask yourself. Explore undiscovered parts of yourself to better understand yourself, how you interact with yourself and the rest of the world. Unlearn and let go of anything within and without that doesn’t serve you in becoming the best version of yourself. Figure out what it is that you truly want in life. Give yourself the space to JUST BE. Don’t get caught up in having to DO so much. Life is about being, not doing… we are human BEINGS after all and not human DOINGS.

Ask yourself the question that you don’t want to ask yourself.” 

Find that spark within you, that spark in your heart that just wants to be seen. Whatever is in your heart, let that lead the way. And use your mind to support you in leading the path that your heart craves to walk. When an opportunity you like arises yet you think to yourself “I can’t do that”, “I’m not qualified to do that”, or thoughts alike, do me a favor and tell those thoughts to stop and go take a long ass sabbatical because you ARE going to take that opportunity.

Remember this, if an opportunity comes your way, it’s because you CAN do it. Don’t let anyone (including yourself) tell you that you can’t do something. Don’t follow the herd out of reaction. Whether you follow or lead, make sure it’s the path that you chose to take. Trust yourself, believe in yourself. You have a unique gift, yes, YOU. Everyone has a unique gift to show and express to the world. Don’t be afraid to show what that is. You weren’t given life to be anyone else other than you. STOP trying to be someone else… you are YOU. You don’t see an apple trying to be a kale. You don’t see Bill Gates trying to be Kanye West. Accept yourself. Love yourself. Love yourself as much as you wish others to love you.

Don’t be afraid of change. Don’t be afraid of the unknown. And even if you are afraid, don’t let that stop you from moving forward with how your heart wants to live.

If there’s anyone in your life you want to change, DON’T do it. The only person you can change is yourself and no one else. When you focus on your own journey and on becoming the best version of you, you will notice a change in your surroundings. Why? Because you have an impact in the world; whether you see it or not. Become aware of what that impact is. If you’re not aware, ask. If it’s not true to the essence of who you are, reflect and take a dive deep within yourself to see what needs to be aligned and transformed. Don’t be afraid of change. Don’t be afraid of the unknown. And even if you are afraid, don’t let that stop you from moving forward with how your heart wants to live.

Know your boundaries. Learn how to say NO when it’s not true for you. You may lose people around you the more true you become. Be ok with that. What is the point of having people around you that don’t want what is best for you? Only you know what’s best for you and no one else.

Take responsibility for your life. It’s not your partners, friends, family, boss, or colleagues responsibility to take care of you. If you want something, ASK for it. If there’s a situation you want changed, do something about it. Don’t refrain yourself because you think it’s not appropriate. Notice what happens when you stand up for your truth and what you believe in. Don’t underestimate yourself. Learn what unconsious limiting beliefs are ruling your life and transform those little f***ers with love so you can be free to consciously create your life.

Focus on creating instead of consuming and binging on social media, alcohol, work, drugs, TV, books, etc. You’re an innate creative being who needs to consume the essential things to get by, and not the other way around. Discover what your creative essence is, everyone has it. And move towards that great potential and vision that you have. Breathe your potential.

 

Allow yourself to be. Stand your ground and stand tall for who you are. Be you, be free, be love, and live the life you want… free of inhibitions.”

Click here to find out about her next talks and appearances, read her blogs and see where you can follow her on social media!

Women in tech world: Natalie & Women Techmakers Berlin

Women in the IT and Tech World – a small insight into Natalie’s experience in this field

Numbers, codes and highly logical thinking  – is there space for intuitive femininity in this field? Absolutely! It is sure to say that IT and technology is a field in which women have already excelled. Although still in minority, this field is strongly represented by women!

Founder of Women Techmakers Berlin (WTMB), Natalie Pistunovich talks about her experiences, downfalls and highlights, in the industry.

As a true tech enthusiast, she has been involved in this area since high school and has continued her pursuit by graduating with a B.Sc in Computer and Software Engineering from the Technion in Israel. Her CV has a vast variety of accomplishments including co-founding Connta in Nairobi and working at Adjust and Intel. Now next to being a co-organiser of WTMB, she is a Backend Developer at GreyMeta, co-founder of GopherCon Iceland and co-organiser of GDG Golang Berlin.

Nowadays the topic of quotas for women, and women being able to do what men are able to do – is a topic that is brought up pretty often. Do you think there are more women in tech comparing to how it used to be in your career?

“I think that even without quotas, some companies just make the decision of setting a goal to have more women, and they are actively working to pursue it: by accepting people who are changing their career, by wording their job descriptions in ads, and by making themselves accessible when engaging with meet-ups and organisations that are focused on bringing more women to tech.”

 

Natalie’s experience

“In university we were about 10% women in the first 2 years, and in years 3-4 when you’d take specialised classes, I fell in love with Computer Architecture and was in the situation of about 2 women in a class with 20 men. In my first full time job the tech team was about 10 people and I was the only woman. When the team grew to around 25 people, the number of women gradually grew to 5. In my current job the numbers are brighter – 2 out of the 4 Backend Developers are women (and it becomes 2 out of 10 if you look at the entire tech team).”

 

Overcoming barriers as a woman

“It took me a long time to own my airtime in team discussions, and I am still working constantly on improving it. A big part of that is celebrating the small steps. I am looking back and remembering how in the beginning of my career I could sit silently through an entire meeting, and how today I fight my instinct, to stop talking if someone interrupts me, and actively remind myself to finish my sentence, instead of being interrupted. And most of the time I succeed in doing that.”

 

Self-identity in the workplace

“I am really thorough. And when I am looking into new subjects, whether it’s a suggested feature, or a new part of the code base, I always dig in deep, and ask many questions. And that’s why usually when I start a conversation with my CTO with “Good morning”, he responds with “Natalie, no bad news before 12!”

Since I joined, I drove awareness about importance of comprehensive testing. I also believe that the best way to learn something is to try and explain it. So I introduced the concept of tech talks in the company: once a week we are dedicating one hour to discuss a technical subject. It can be a new technology we consider using, or just a tool someone heard about and thought it would be cool to explore together. Even members from the sales team asked to join, so they can keep being with the hand on the pulse about industry trends when talking to clients!”

” When I am looking into new subjects, whether it’s a suggested feature, or a new part of the code base, I always dig in deep, and ask many questions “

 

Conquering the difficulties of life

“Waking up on a bad day, when you have a bug for a few days, personal life isn’t going well, and typing the first few lines of code. Everyone is facing big challenges when they are least prepared for it, but you also know it’s going to be behind you eventually. Low times are something that will come again and again in your life, and powering through them is the biggest challenge for me. My trick to tackle those is to be more forgiving, and accept that sometimes things will be bad, because something needs to balance those amazing days.”

 

Guiding principles for success as a software developer

“Ask lots of questions, have a good test suite and document your work and write your code in a clear way. Language can bring misunderstandings, and so can code. Especially if it’s more sophisticated than straight-forward. In the last year I was mostly writing Go code, and this aligns really well with the language principals. For example, there is a build-in linter, and the styling guideline is readability and simplicity over sophistication and shortcuts.”

 

Natalie’s future ambitions and challenges

“One of my biggest professional challenges for 2018 is organising a conference for 550+ Go developers in Iceland: gophercon.is. It’s going to take place on 31/05-03/06, and it’s scary, hard and exciting and is turning out to be a great journey.”

 

What would be 3 things you would have told your past self (as well as young women in tech industry) to do/not to do if you have had a chance?

  • Do more of what scares you. There is a reason that we all heard the cliche that you grow way faster outside of your comfort zone.
  • Learn more. There is so much out there to know, and after you’ve learnt a lot, you will reach a point where you start understanding how much you don’t know, and it’s usually the start of an exciting journey.
  • And my motto: this too shall pass. Keeps me through the bad times, and reminds me to cherish the good times.”

 

” Everyone is facing big challenges when they are least prepared for it, but you also know it’s going to be behind you eventually “

About Women Techmakers Berlin

“At WTMB we have been encouraging diversity in tech in Berlin since 2015. In our 4th year in, our team has grown to 10 organisers. We have had over 120 events for thousands of attendees, all on a voluntary basis. Our participants get visibility, networking possibilities and resources to make the tech community of Berlin diverse and inclusive. WTMB is part of the global WTM program, run by Google.

Our events range from 3-months long Study Groups in Android, Go, JavaScript, Ruby on Rails, to the International Women’s Day celebration, Fireside Chats with companies, monthly parents in tech meetings, workshops and talks by inspirational speakers. We meet several times a month, for example in 2017 we hosted 40(!) events, and our mission is to connect the Berlin companies with the local diversity-encouraging community of techies.

While the name can suggest our focus is only on women – it’s not. We are working with people of all genders, we are also helping refugees, parents or just people in their 40s to get a job in tech. As a matter of fact, we are now working on an event where our graduates will share their stories and make themselves available to inspire and guide people who are looking into doing this step themselves.”

You can follow Women Techmakers Berlin on their website,  twitter, facebook, slack and meetup, and Natalie’s personal twitter

All about the first UNICORNS IN TECH: Women edition

Women are powerful IT and digital drivers.

 

HERE’S WHY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY IS IMPORTANT TO UNICORNS IN TECH

Take a guess, how many tech startups do you think are owned by women? When I asked the women in the Unicorns in Tech office, they guessed none. They were hardly far off – according to Women Who Tech, only five percent of tech startups are owned by women.

Then I asked the girls “do you think more women will own tech startups in the future?” Their answer was definitely. It is nice to hear that they have confidence for the future of women in tech but to implement this and make a change, we need role models.

Where are all the women in tech? Much ink has been spilled answering this question, and one answer might be – they are in Berlin. Join UNICORNS IN TECH at our next Get-Together to celebrate and support women in tech on International Women’s Day.

We are passionate about diversity and equality. But we cannot ignore the fact that our past thirty-nine meetups have been male-dominated.

Why is diversity so important? All genders are different and while that is both factual and debatable depending on who you ask, differences should be celebrated and utilized for optimization, especially in the workplace. Equality of all kinds encourages unbiased decision making and deepens the opportunity for broader thinking.

Furthermore, diversity inspires innovation and while that sounds obvious, women are still under-represented in the tech world. No really, the statistics are quite shocking.

Our next event is taking place not to highlight the underrepresentation of women, but rather celebrate the achievements and success of women around the world. So get involved, get your place at our WOMEN’S EDITION event now.

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