Are you a woman in NYC Tech and interested in participating in this series? Make sure to read the whole article…
Much has been said and written about the lack of women in the tech sector, be it as investors (or associates), founders, or in management positions at major companies. Is the problem the old boys network – or that success in technology is seen as a young man’s game? In this series, we speak with some of the top women in tech in New York as they discuss the challenges they face, the perceptions that need to be changed and the work that’s being done – or not – to help to promote women in tech.
Today we speak with tech expert, TV personality, and Emmy award winner Katie Linendoll. Growing up in Pennsylvania, Katie was always drawn to tech and media, which led her to working with ESPN (where she won an Emmy), Spike TV, The TODAY Show, CNN FOX and CBS. Katie has recently created her own podcast, and covers innovative technology across the globe on outlets ranging from Oprah to E!
AlleyWatch: What is your background and how did you develop your career as a female entrepreneur in the NYC tech ecosystem?
Katie Linendoll: I am a technology expert, media contributor, consultant, speaker, writer and Emmy award winner. I felt drawn to tech since I was a young child in grade school, clamoring to get into one of the very first computer classes. I obtained networking certifications in high school and then went on to earn an IT degree from RIT in new media. I began working at ESPN2 as college reporter and then at ESPN as production assistant. Through my journey, I learned the nuts and bolts of tech and media behind the scenes, first. Then, as I grew and more gained experience and confidence, I began to audition for opportunities to be on air.
Now, I work as a tech contributor on national media outlets such as the Today Show, The Weather Channel and Fox News and travel the world 200+ days per year to cover innovative technology. I have built a brand around being a consumer tech expert and have my own business and production company. It’s important for me to keep NYC as my home base – as “the city that never sleeps” keeps me close to the pulse of the latest innovations.
What are the advantages of being a woman in tech?
As I grew up, I was used to being one of the few girls in the IT classes, and now, at this point in my career, I’m often still one of the few women in the boardroom. I view this in a positive light– because I can bring a unique vantage point and make contributions from a female perspective. I have built my brand around the novelty of being one of the few young women covering the world of technology. So, I believe that being a woman in a “man’s world” can have its advantages –as its helped me to stand out from the crowd and get noticed.
What can be done to further promote female entrepreneurs and women in tech in NY?
Mentorship and sponsorship are keys to promoting the next generation of female entrepreneurs and women in tech. I try to model that an open mind, a positive attitude and confidence are the keys to success. I provide guidance and support whenever I can, and believe that this direct mentorship is very important in the media world, as I have taught young women about the camera and equipment both behind the scenes and on air. That said, a must-have requirement for me is that the women, who I work with, possesses their own innate personal drive and ability to keep up with my speed, as the tech world is very fast moving.
What is diversity to you and do you see if evolving in tech?
Diversity is something that I try not to philosophize about, but rather something that I try to live. I believe that technology transcends the boundaries of gender, culture and race. When working on a project, I use sites like Upwork to hire freelance support such as editors, illustrators, sound engineers etc. I have been fortunate to collaborate, literally, with people all over the world – including men and women of all different nationalities, races and cultures. I’ve learned firsthand that technology can help us to connect and overcome our differences– when we come together to work toward a common goal.
How can women rise in the ecosystem and what are the unseen barriers?
I remember working initially as a production assistant for ESPN. I would arrive to shoot a segment on location, and the camera man would do a double take wondering, “Is this 20 something year old girl, who looks like she’s ten, going to be in charge?” In these situations, even though I felt flustered on the inside, I learned to stay cool and collected on the outside. Overtime, I developed a “work strategy” to always over-prepare, so even if the camera man initially questioned my abilities, eventually he would realize that I was ultra-organized, hardworking and more than able to see the task through.
Please tell us about a few organizations that you are involved with or respect that are promoting women in tech?
I am heavily involved in getting young women involved in STEAM (Science, Engineering, Technology, Arts and Mathematics). Educational experts recommend exposing children to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as early as possible to give them an edge academically and to help shape their future. I work as an ambassador to Sylvan Learning Centers. Sylvan provides personal learning for children ages K-12. One of their core education categories, Sylvan EDGE, focuses specifically on STEM science, math, coding, robotics and engineering. These programs are designed to engage young women and inspire them to master critical skills for their future.
What can men do to participate in this discussion?
I believe that an ideal place to start the conversation with men is within their own families. Fathers, grandfathers and uncles often see the potential of the young women within their family and encourage them to move forward professionally. I grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania and my dad had four daughters. We were all expected to do well in school and then enter into the work force. My sisters and never felt limited that we had to fulfill certain stereotypes. My mom was a very hard worker and a great role model. Since we did not have any brothers, we were expected to model success on our own, and all four of us went on to successful careers – thanks to the support of our mom AND our dad.
The team at AlleyWatch believes it’s important to have an inclusive discussion around the challenges facing women in tech along with highlighting the work of the female entrepreneurs that have made NYC one of the best places for women in tech according to some recent studies. That’s why we are running this series that showcases women in tech in New York.
If you are a female founder in NYC working in tech and interested in participating in the series please visit this link or click on the image above.
Please feel free to pass this on to any women in NYC that you feel should be considered for the series. Thank you.