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 Dina Tate, founder of Global Girls Squad. Starting off with a company called Community Connect/BlackPlanet.com, Dina moved into the eCommerce space and then onto larger companies as an enterprise digital project manager. Having founded two startups, (BlackBridalGuide.com and Global Girls Squad), Dina is also a technical project manager with High5Games and an Adjunct Professor at NYU. Dina is heavily involved with the Brooklyn BlackGirlsWhoCode chapter as well as other important organizations empowering women in tech.
What’s your background and how did you develop your career as a female entrepreneur in the NYC tech ecosystem?
I started out in the early days of the dotcom working at a company called Community Connect aka BlackPlanet.com. From then on I went on to work for companies like ESSENCE, MetLife, New York Life and Ansell. I went from managing intranets to leading complex global projects. My expertise includes digital marketing, digital & technical project management, enterprise content management and social media. I have a MS in Management Technology from NYU Tandon School of Engineering. I created my first company BlackBridalGuide.com, which was an online wedding marketplace for African-Americans. I funded the company by competing in Business Plan and Pitch Competitions. I have since started my second company Global Girls Squad. In addition to my business I am a technical project manager with High5Games and an Adjunct Professor at NYU.
What are the advantages of being a woman in tech?
It’s a double-edged sword I would have to say, sometimes you run into a great group of women who understand that we are all up against so we make sure there is a sharing of information. On the flipside there are those that will do whatever it takes it get ahead. I feel a sense of pride because I started out so early in dotcom and have managed to continue to enhance my career and business still to this day. A lot has changed since the days of Netscape I’ll tell ya that!
What can be done to further promote female entrepreneurs and women in tech in New York?
It’s a combination of things. Some would say the responsibility lies upon the female entrepreneur or maybe mainstream media only wants to take notice to a certain “type” of female entrepreneur or women in tech. Maybe it’s time for the non-traditional media outlets to take a stand and help the voiceless become more heard. There are so many organizations and programs doing great things. In April, there was Project Entrepreneur a two-day event that provides women training and tools to build a scalable business. But how many people knew about it? There was also the Project Diane Report by Digital Undivided was ground breaking. Google has great events as well, but I feel like we are just scratching the surface but its 2017 we should be past that! Maybe we aren’t using all the right tools to bring about awareness; maybe there is too much dependence on bloggers and social media.
What is diversity to you and do you see it evolving in tech?
Diversity to me is being able to be inclusive and respectful of the differences between each other. Diversity will evolve in tech when people want to change their mindset, as long as people continue to think the same way it will continue to be a sad state of affairs. This issue is happening in other industries as well such as publishing, if the gatekeepers won’t change their ways, nothing ever will.
Why do you think it’s important that women retain, grow, and develop into senior roles within their organizations?
It’s important to have a seat at the table to have an understanding of where the company is heading and how your role can have an impact.
How do you see the future of teams and interactions in a diverse environment and what implications will this have?
There will always be a need for teams how they continue to evolve will become interesting. You have companies that depend on millennials to the point of looking down upon the more “senior” people. Then you have remote vs. onsite vs. offshore mentality, open office vs. cubicle. Corporate culture is imploding.
How can women rise in the ecosystem and what are the unseen barriers?
What helped me was having a mentor throughout my career. But a good mentor is someone who won’t sugar coat things so that you if you are open to the feedback you can grow. We tend to think that because we work hard we should be rewarded, but there are those soft skills that people don’t tell us about. It’s hard, but try to stay authentic, the moment you comprise your principles is when you have gone to the dark side, it’s not worth it. The tire tracks and stories I could tell at the end of the day I am proud of my career. I am proud of the businesses that I was able to create and the students I was blessed to teach and some that have even gone on to start their own businesses. One of the unseen barriers unfortunately is race. Just because we are women, there is a difference that spans across races unfortunately and how corporate America treats us and how we treat each other.
Please tell us about a few organizations that you are involved with or respect that are promoting women in tech.
Black Girls Who Code, Women Who StartUp and Women Techmakers are my personal favorites.
What can men do to participate in this discussion?
I’m sure they are doing this now, but continue to be mentors. Investors should make a concerted effort to support women of color not as a just because to save face but give them the same respect as they would another company. I can tell you my own stories of meetings I’ve had with investors.
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.