One of the great things about working at New Relic is that the company is very supportive of its employees’ lives outside of work. One example is that part of our benefits package is paid service days to contribute to our favorite non-profits. That’s pretty cool, but it gets better.
Where Are the Women?
Since I’ve been in the web business I’ve worked for a large corporation, an academic institution and now a startup. The startup scene is heavily male-dominated in a way the other segments of this industry are not. At the academic institution I was at, almost half of the computing department was female. Likewise for my coworkers at the big corporation. But every startup you walk in to isn’t nearly so well-balanced.
People ask, “Where are the women in tech?” Well, there are women in tech, just not enough to balance out the men. And they tend not to be in startups. So for those of us in startups, it’s easy to wonder where the women are. I think this a real problem for our industry. In my experience human organizations work best when there’s a balance of men and women. Too many of one gender and we get all off kilter.
The great thing about working at New Relic is, that since I care about this issue, New Relic cares about this issue. It happily supports any efforts I want to make in this area. Let me explain.
RailsGirls To the Rescue
A couple of months ago a group of local coders led by Eric Redmond decided that they were going to run a RailsGirls event here in Portland. If you don’t know about RailsGirls, they’re awesome. It’s an organization based in Amsterdam that helps anybody who wants organize an intro to coding class for women, focused on Ruby and Rails. They provide a format and content. And you do the work organizing volunteers and recruiting students.
Eric started organizing it, and put out a call for volunteers and sponsors to the local Ruby group. I thought this was a valuable event, so I approached our VP of Engineering and asked him if we could sponsor. I thought it would be a bit of a sell, but in classic New Relic style it wasn’t even a question. Of course New Relic would be happy to sponsor! It’s an issue I care about, and one that affects our industry in profound ways, so it was a no-brainer.
Two months later, RailsGirls Portland is about to start, backed by a lot of volunteer work and some cool sponsors. I’m proud that my coding community cares enough to organize this event, and I’m even prouder that my company is sponsoring. I love working at New Relic because of things like this, and because I get to do great work with great people.
Best of luck to all the students at the class tonight and tomorrow. I’ll see you all there!