All posts by iGirl

We’re independent, goal oriented, passionate, courageous, open-minded girls with a bit of a rebel side!

Giving Is Good Business

How to Give Back While Growing Your Tech Startup

Theresa Roemer, CEO and Business Philanthropy Expert offers startup entrepreneurs the following tips on how to get started giving back:

  1. Size Doesn’t Matter- The word philanthropy brings to mind big money for most people, we often think of large corporations and international giving. Just because you own a new or a small business doesn’t mean you can’t give back. Don’t let the word philanthropy cause you to hesitate. Philanthropy is simply giving, your business doesn’t have to be huge, you just have to have a big heart, and a passion for giving back.
  2. Discover what touches you- What causes pull at your heartstrings? It is likely that the business you started is your passion and the causes that would best fit for you to giveback to may be related. Do you own a business in the field of technology? Maybe education is where you would like to give back? Take some time to think about what feels good for you and may be related to work you are already passionate about.
  3. Budget- Plan for your giving each month in the same way you would tithe to your place of worship or budget for incidentals. Plan on spending a set amount every month toward your cause. If you are still building your discretionary funds, then donate your time in the meantime. Volunteering is another way to become active with your chosen charity. You could also find a way to have your employees donate time by dedicating a set amount of work time to a charity, such as mandating that every Friday morning everyone reports to a shelter or book fair for two hours instead of the office.  This is just as valuable as donating money.
  4. Research- Vet any charity that sparks your interest and make sure the money is going to the right place.
  5. Set a Goal- A firm goal and a five-year plan will help keep you focused. Be strategic with your giving and plan ways to raise money, if you start with a plan it will make planning events and fundraising opportunities more focused.

Guest Post by Theresa Roemer
Twitter: @theresaroemer

Short Bio:
Theresa Roemer is the CEO of Theresa Roemer, LLC and a small business owner who specializes in business philanthropy.  She owns several home goods companies in Houston, Texas and is a partner in Roemer Oil. Theresa is an expert in business philanthropy and works regularly with major motion pictures, television studios, corporations and high profile brands to expand their philanthropic reach to raise millions of dollars through business charity events. Theresa consults with organizations such as LVMH to understand their business goals with fundraising, then turns those objectives into a reality with her ability to produce high-impact business fundraising events.

6 Things You Must Know Before Starting a Startup

Frances Kweller, CEO of Kweller Prep, a learning incubator specializing in advanced test preparation in Queens, New York, founded Kweller Prep after receiving her law degree from Hofstra Law School.  She offers the following tips to women embarking on their first business venture:

  1. Execute Immediately – Most women suffer from what I call “analysis paralysis”, which means they analyze the situation over and over again and then never take action.  They have plans to do something, but don’t execute.  Don’t spend time over-processing everything and take action immediately before you get cold feet.
  2. Be Direct About What You Want – You need to be able to pitch what you want in 3 minutes or less.  Learn not to be soft and get to the point to get what you want.  Women tend to go in circles and are afraid of saying what they want.  Being able to say what you want and what you are looking for is critical to your success.
  3. Trust Your Gut – Many people will tell you that you cannot do something or that your idea is a bad one.  If your instincts are telling you that they’re wrong and you’re right, trust your instincts.  When they say “no,” move on from it and beware of all the free advice.
  4. Stay Away from Business Partners – Particularly in your first business venture, a business partner is not only not necessary but an unwelcome headache.  Your first venture comes with enormous learning curves and mistakes you need to make alone. You need to listen to your instincts and have clarity of mind to do so, unclouded by another party in the way.
  5. Get Support – Join a women’s group, while reading up on building a business and about other women entrepreneurs to garner the support you need while building your business.  Surrounding yourself with other female entrepreneurs will only help you on your journey in discovery and with a solid foundation while building your own leadership skills too.
  6. Don’t Let the Math Scare You – If you’re like me, you didn’t take a lot of math in school and numbers make you want to run the other way.  Take a class at a community college, spend quality time with your accountant, CPA and banker and understand how business loans work because you will need this information in the future.


Six Reasons to Plan a Career in Technology

Women are underrepresented in today’s exciting and growing field of Information Technology. Come join us and make a difference in the world now. There are as many reasons as there are website to get involved with tech. Here are my top six.

  1. Make a difference. Everything runs on technology today and there is a growing global shortage of technology workers.
  2. Create new products and technologies to meet men AND women’s needs. Most products today are created by males, but you can help create exciting new products or services that today’s women and market want and need.
  3. Build a career that comes with hugely unlimited opportunities for growth, challenge and satisfaction. You can try out different areas of technology and move around to learn and grow.
  4. Build financial stability for the future. Pay in a technology career is lucrative and opportunities great. Give yourself a solid foundation for your life.
  5. Build your own business — become an entrepreneur. You can choose your path to success if you desire to own and manage your own business. Many choices exist to reach this exciting destination.
  6. Increase diversity within the companies that serve diverse customer bases. Women make up half the workforce and numbers consistently show that women make a majority of buying decisions for their families. Step up for an opportunity to share with the rest of the market what you know they want and need in products and services.

Create your own path to success: Talk to your family, school faculty, friends and people already employed in technology to gain insights into options for a technology career. Ask for your school to arrange for women in IT speakers to come and present to your class about the diversity of opportunities open to you.

Post By:
Debbie Christofferson, CISSP, CIPP/IT, CISM 
International Board of Directors, Information Systems Security Association 
CISO Advisory Council Chair (ISSA) 
ISSA Distinguished Fellow (

Photo by Dean Johnson

Adventures at the Northwest Regional Women in Computing Conference

AlexandreaYoong Co-Writer: Alexandrea Yoong
“Alexandrea’s goals are to pursue an MS degree in Computer Science and work to program games and more widely accessible educational software or applications that encourage younger students, particularly girls and underrepresented minorities, to explore and pursue STEM careers.”
NicoleLewey Co-Writer: Nicole Lewey
I am a Computer Science major with Mathematics and Music minors. I am Vice President and co-founder of the Women in Computer Science Club. I participate in multiple choral ensembles, one of which I will be directing starting Fall 2014.LinkedIn

Hi, we are Alexandrea Yoong and Nicole Lewey, President and Vice President of the Women in Computer Science Club (WICS) at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. Our club’s mission is to foster a community which promotes equal opportunities for women in computer science by helping to create professional development opportunities and by advocating for more women to enter and contribute to this dynamic field. We were really excited when our advisor, Shereen Khoja, told us about the Northwest Regional Women in Computing Conference in Portland, Oregon. Given that we formed our club very recently in February 2014, this conference was our first chance to interact with other aspiring computer scientists and professionals.

We knew that the conference would take place on April 12, 2014 and that we had the option to sign up for mock interviews and resume reviews. We also learned that our university’s Career Development Center prints free business cards for students and thought this would be useful. To prepare for the conference, we made sure our resumes were updated and thought about questions to ask the people we would meet.

GLaDOS of Portal was born as a senior project!

When we arrived at the conference, we knew that the morning keynote speaker, Kim Swift, had worked on the game Portal. What we didn’t know was that she and her team of fellow students at DigiPen Institute of Technology had developed the concept and first version of Portal (under a different title) as their senior project. Even more astonishing is that while showcasing this game at a convention, Kim Swift and her classmates were invited to present their game to developers at Valve, and then offered their first jobs on the spot! Kim Swift was down-to-earth but spoke about how it was important to look for opportunities and also create them. It was motivating to see someone achieving her goals at such a young age.

Next, we participated in a speed networking session. There were 21 colleges and universities represented, as well as a number of professionals. Our business cards came in handy, and we also learned that many people utilize LinkedIn profiles to build their professional image and further their networking. At this session, I [Alexandrea] met Ron Tenison, a retired professor and strong advocate for women in computer science. Later in the day, the club reconnected with him and learned about how to form a student chapter with ACM-W (Association for Computing Machinery – Women). I [Nicole] found it interesting to talk to other female computer science students who have had similar experiences.

Breaking the Ice with Angry Birds

For a fun icebreaker and group activity, we divided into small groups with people we didn’t know and spent 45 minutes engineering our own real-life version of an Angry Birds game. It was a fun way to meet new people and appreciate the amount of creativity every person brought to the table

At lunch, a diverse panel of four women talked about building your personal brand. One of the key takeaways from the panel was that recruiters rely heavily on LinkedIn to find potential employees. One of the women talked a lot about advocating for yourself, having the self-confidence to know how to pick your battles, and knowing when to confront an unfair work situation. It was also neat to see how Claire Francis, a high school freshman, was able to take her passion of health/fitness and develop her personal brand by using a blog and other social media – all without a formal degree.

There were three afternoon talks after lunch. The first was by Jennifer Davidson, a PhD candidate from Oregon State University, who researched how to involve a greater number of older adults in free/open source software communities. As women in computer science, something that stood out to us in her presentation was that only 1% of open source developers are female. This was also relevant because Open Source Development is a special topics class being offered at our university next Fall semester.

The afternoon keynote speaker, Reena Agarwal, spoke on the topic of innovation. We liked that she thought of innovation in little steps; she approached each day practically, explaining that she didn’t get up in the morning saying “I’m going to be innovative today!”

The third talk was given by Franziska Roesner, a PhD candidate from the University of Washington, who talked about privacy and the companies that track users online. A main point that she made was that many people don’t realize how extensively they’re tracked and that many of the tools currently used for privacy are much less effective than users think.

More than Digital Connections

During the career fair portion of the conference, I [Nicole] met with a woman from HP for a mock interview and resume advice. One piece of advice was to format the resume so that the most important components stood out just by scanning the page. We then went over some common interview questions and she gave me feedback about my answers. This was especially timely since I had interviews the following Monday and Tuesday for potential summer internships. One of the questions I learned to think about is how to describe the way I work within a team – I was asked this question at five different interviews.

Another benefit of the career fair was that we got to connect with Ron Tenison and learn how to form a student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery – Women (ACM-W). I [Alexandrea] also networked with Coral Cotterell at the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and learned about various activities and other resources that we could use for outreach to elementary, middle and high school students. It was encouraging meeting so many people who were equally passionate about computer science education and supporting women in the field.

All of our Women in Computer Science club members walked away from this conference very excited about how we could pass on our positive experiences to other students. We were energized and inspired by the stories we heard, the people we met, and the ideas we shared. We encourage all of you to check out similar conferences and resources in your area!

Alexandrea and Nicole

How women are taking over social media

Thank you Alex Hillsberg for this awesome article and Infographic!

Recent independent studies made by Pew, Nielsen, and Burst Media told us what we already suspect in our list of friends and followers: there are more women in them. But that’s not just the point of these studies. Buried in the data are two significant trends that may set the future of social media, as dictated by women’s whims.

But first, the facts. Women outnumber men in using the top social sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest. In Facebook alone, among all online women in the U.S., 76% said they use the top social network, while among all online U.S. men it’s 66%. Moreover, women use these social networks several times more often daily than men.

Using data from these studies, an infographic published by provides a quick comparison of men and women in social media not just in numbers, but in many ways.

More women access their social networks via mobile

We can see an influx of social apps dedicated to mobile, the next growth area of social networks. Interestingly, it’s women who are driving this growth. Online women are 46% more likely to access their account via smartphone compared to 43% for men. Likewise, women are 32% more likely to use a tablet to check their social networks; for men it’s 20%. When we hear industry observers harking the future of social is in mobile, and that the top Internet activity is happening in these channels, they might as well say the future of social media is in women.

Women set the trend towards the visual web

Women dominate the use of visually oriented social networks such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr. These are the three fastest growing social networks today, garnering ten million new users each in one year. The rapid growth of these sites is expected to spawn similar sites and set the trend toward the visual web. Pinterest best illustrates that women are driving this trend. Among all U.S. women online, 33% access this network, whereas among U.S. men online it’s just 8%. Yet Pinterest is now the toast of investors who believe the visual web is the future.

Content consumption and brand interaction

Women also use social media in critical areas such as content consumption and brand interaction. Among U.S. online adults who consumed news, 58% are women compared to 42% of the opposite sex. Likewise, 53% of online women in the U.S. access deals, while for men it’s only 36%. Women also tend to show more brand support, provide feedback, and like a brand page to keep updated.  

Clearly, women are setting the pace in social media and we expect more content and brands to tap this influential demographic. More importantly, where social media has played a crucial role in molding public opinion, we can only hope women’s influence go beyond social media and into real social issues about their plight.

The InfoGraphic


Women in Tech – It’s a Media Problem

CooperHarrisMaybe it’s good luck; I’m not sure. I’ve only been in the content creation game for a short time and the people I’m meeting are pretty amazing. Cooper Harris is no exception and was exceptionally fun to talk to. She was kind enough to sit down with me between events at the AT&T Developer Summit. I really enjoyed learning a little about her company; getting her thoughts on women in tech; and getting inspired by her excitement with the combination of entertainment and technology.

Entertaining Tech

iGirl: You were sitting on one of the panels and mentioned that you were transitioning from entertainment to tech. What happened that prompted the change?

Cooper: I’ve been acting professionally since I was twelve and really never considered that I would be in tech whatsoever; it never crossed my mind until about this past year. I just found that I was no longer feeling fulfilled by entertainment. I wanted to become an actress to tell compelling stories that were life changing and would help people. I found that I was getting kind of the same roles; the damsel in distress seductress type.

That’s really only one side of what I can do. I wanted to show the side of me that’s a tech CEO and runs things and makes cool apps that help people. That’s when – about a year and a half ago – I had the idea for my startup. Then, about a year ago I made the decision to put everything aside  and dive completely into tech.

Too Many Clicks – Resolved.

iGirl: Tell me a little about the startup.

Cooper: It’s called Klickly. We’re basically a big optimization platform for mobile. Companies are paying a lot of money to tweet and post about their products on Facebook and Instagram. I found that it was very difficult to actually follow through on a mobile purchase from one of these companies. There are just too many clicks. They send you to the website; make you click through the shopping process and it just took much too long to accomplish. Klickly has developed the tech that makes the whole process of purchasing on mobile – from social – much easier for the consumer.

iGirl: So, what got you started with going to hackathons?

Cooper: Getting into tech, I realized there’s this whole world I don’t know anything about – and that it’s really fascinating and it’s creative. People don’t realize just how creative it is. I found that hackathons are a great place to use my story telling talents.

I’ve found that I can be a huge asset  to these teams of magnificently talented developers by helping them tell the story. I get really passionate about whatever we’re creating and I think that tends to put us over the top. I won the last AT&T hackathon in LA and that was really cool. It’s not something most people thought I would do; they were like “why is this actress doing hackathons?”

Women in Tech – It’s a Media Problem

iGirl: I tweeted the prize from Ericsson yesterday for women in tech and received an overwhelming response. There’s a big issue with the lack of women in tech right now; what are your thoughts on that?

Cooper: I go to tech events in LA and I’m the only woman there; or one of three – and the others are recruiters. I’ve honestly run into a couple of situations where I’ll be asked to meet and talk about my company and have found that the guy actually wanted a date. I think if there were more women in tech the perspective would change and this might not happen.

iGirl: What do you think we can do to encourage more women to be in the tech industry?

Cooper: I think Ericsson has exactly the right idea. You give a prize to women who are willing to make that leap and put themselves out there. Let’s be real – it’s not something we’re encouraged to do from a young age. Maybe there’s more of that happening now; but when I was growing up you were an actress or singer. Those were the prestigious and valued images of women; pretty, sexy and in front of the camera.

I think it’s so important to show young women that – yes – they can absolutely be a beautiful actress; but they can also do all of these other things. It’s all available – it’s not like someone is stopping us anymore. But when you don’t see something; you don’t know that it’s there or gravitate towards it. When it’s not celebrated you aren’t going to be compelled to do it.

I want to show young women that you can be young and hip and in tech as well.

iGirl: Do you think the education system is part of the problem?

Cooper: To some extent – maybe. But I would say that it’s more a media problem. I think celebrities need to come out and say  – I’m a fan of science. I know that – as I was growing up – I saw boy and girl toys and I was to play with the pink toys. That’s hurtful and problematic. I really want to take the focus off of women playing dress-up – not that it’s bad. I just think it’s important to champion other stuff because it’s way out of balance right now.

Nerds at Sundance

iGirl: You’re doing a hackathon at Sundance of all places. It sounds like a cool combo of entertainment and tech.

Cooper: That’s my main goal – to kind of bridge that gap between entertainment and technology. And, to do it in a smart-cool way that increases the liveliness of both. I’m producing the first ever tech and innovation summit; I’m really excited about that. Literally, the first hackathon at Sundance; with the first Pitchfest with VC panels and female entrepreneur panels.

My end goal is to blend the smartest minds in the nation in tech with the best story tellers of entertainment. Because that’s what I’m doing in a microcosm in my life. I feel like I’ve been trained as a good storyteller and I want to surround myself and become a tech innovator.

I think when we blend those two together we have the best of both worlds and we can achieve really cool things.

In Closing

I really like the concept of combining storytelling with technology. Heck, the gaming industry has been doing that for a very long time. It’s obvious that with her passion, drive, and perspective that Cooper will make some significant inroads in the tech community. I’m looking forward to seeing how she furthers her passion of combining the two words of techertainment.

I will close by mentioning the research I did – after the show – on women in tech. There are a ton of resources that are trying to fit this need. However, the media issue that Cooper talked about is definitely a problem. I think that when we start portraying more women in tech in our cultures media; only then will the balance shift properly.