7 New Yorkers explain what makes NYC the premier city for women in tech

by Liz Warren
April 24, 2019
women
image via shutterstock

While New Yorkers have known for quite some time that NYC is the premier tech hub, the Savillis’s Tech Cities Index report confirmed this to the rest of the world just two months ago. NYC’s access to top talent and unmatched diversity make it the ideal spot to push your career forward — and that’s especially true for women.

We talked to seven women in NYC tech for their take on what specifically makes the city so accommodating, and they emphasized factors like focus groups, women-centered coworking spaces and more that combine to make it the perfect location for women professionals.   

 

Susanna Conneen
Senior Director, Marketing

Senior Director of Marketing Susanna Conneen started at Collibra just two months ago. She seeks support not just from her new colleagues, but also from her network of like-minded professionals, who she met through a Women in Product group — something that she discovered within the NYC tech community.

 

What do you think makes NYC unique as a city for women in tech?

New York is an incredibly diverse city, and companies here have the unique benefit of being able to draw on resources and expertise from a variety of industries. An increasing number of organizations seem to realize the power of tapping into that diversity when building the best teams. This creates a ton of opportunities for women in both technical and non-technical roles to make an impact, differentiate themselves and grow their tech careers here in NYC.

 

Are there any local or company programs, networking events or spaces that have helped you navigate your career?

About two years ago, I discovered Women in Product, an impressive global community of women who work in product roles. The Facebook group is a great source of inspiration and information for me — members ask questions, share resources and offer advice to one another. The New York chapter is quite active and hosts regular events on a variety of career and product topics. I’d encourage any woman in product roles — from product management to product marketing and product design — to check it out.

 

Mackenzie Turner
Application Developer

For Application Developer Mackenzie Turner, it’s all about community. Her involvement with a local women’s coding bootcamp armed her with the skills she needed to land a role at cloud-native Human Capital Management solution Lifion by ADP. Some of her colleagues even graduated from the same group.

 

What do you think makes NYC unique as a city for women in tech?

NYC is a place of so much energy and diversity, so it's really an ideal environment to be a woman in technology. A major obstacle you can face as an underrepresented person in tech is feeling alone or unsupported in your journey. But in NYC, you can absolutely find a community where you feel you belong if you’re willing to search for it. I'm continually amazed by how many fascinating and kind people there are here.

 

Are there any local or company programs, networking events or spaces that have helped you navigate your career?

I attended an all-women coding bootcamp before getting hired as a developer, and the network from that experience has proven invaluable. There are a handful of us bootcamp grads here at Lifion, and it helps so much coming in as a junior to see people with similar backgrounds crushing it at their jobs. You can fight that fearful voice by saying, “They did it, so I know I can do it, too.”

 

Jodi Farbish
Leasing Manager

Jodi Farbish has been at real estate company Common since August 2017 and has helped grow the market from one home in Brooklyn to 25 homes in six cities. For support, she looks to her team, which is full of talented, powerful women.

 

What do you think makes NYC unique as a city for women in tech?

Hustle is the name of the game in NYC. Man or woman, it's all about work ethic. A city like New York is a hub for fresh talent and people who are ready to win regardless of gender, but there is still this existing mindset that the tech companies based here are predominantly for men. This stereotype is counterbalanced by the amazing network of talented women that one can learn from at tech brands in NYC. At Common, there are so many talented women in power that I constantly turn to for inspiration and motivation.

 

Are there any local or company programs, networking events or spaces that have helped you navigate your career?

Programs like #builtbygirls and office spaces dedicated to women such as The Wing are great places to bring women together and help with career development and growth. I turn to these spaces time and time again to get advice on issues that I'm facing as a woman in the technology field. Through these networks, I've formed close relationships with role models and mentors helping me build the career I want.

 

Zian Sun
VP Infrastructure

Women’s networking groups — as well as the annual Grace Hopper event — is how Zian Sun makes the most of her location in the country's premier tech hub. As the VP of Infrastructure at Blink Health, she’s come in contact with many women who have served as mentors — and some who she’s mentored herself.

 

What do you think makes NYC unique as a city for women in tech?

New York is full of opportunities for learning, which has provided an environment where I can continue to grow. New York also has access to a talent pool of such diverse backgrounds. I love having multifaceted friends in tech, as they always surprise me with their innovative ideas.

 

Are there any local or company programs, networking events or spaces that have helped you navigate your career?

My most important support group has always been the people I meet at work. We share similar objectives and need to navigate similar environments. Through them, I’ve met other professionals — some who I’ve mentored and some who have mentored me. One event I do attend regularly is the Grace Hopper Celebration. It’s powerful to see so many women in tech under one roof. Additionally, there are local meetups and networking events I occasionally attend. As my responsibilities grow outside of work, I don’t have as much time for attending those regularly.

 

Olivia Henkel
Director of Sales

As a native New Yorker, Director of Sales Olivia Henkel has always felt that the people of NYC have the greatest work ethic and best access to career opportunities. Throughout her career, she’s kept in touch with people who inspire her, and it ultimately led her to project management platform Honest Buildings.

 

What do you think makes NYC unique as a city for women in tech?

I’m probably biased, but as a life-long New Yorker, I think that the work ethic and pure grit of this city is unmatched. Being surrounded by people who will stop at nothing has taught me that if I work hard, and also do good work, doors will open. It has also given me the opportunity to meet and work with other women who care just as much about their careers. I take every opportunity I can get to grow with and learn from fellow women in the tech industry. Incidentally, I do think there are just more of those opportunities here in NYC!

 

Are there any local or company programs, networking events or spaces that have helped you navigate your career?

I enjoy networking, and I’m a big fan of the Women in Sales events sponsored by CloserIQ. More than official industry events or programs though, I’ve found that the most powerful way to network is to build a community around yourself. When you work with someone who inspires you or is just awesome at what they do, stay in touch with them! You never know when you may be able to help them or vice versa. The same thing goes for clients — some of them have become my greatest mentors. It takes a lot of work to keep up with everyone as your community grows, but it’s definitely worth it and has truly helped me navigate my career.

 

Samantha Quiñones
Director of Engineering

As Skillshare’s Director of Engineering, Samantha Quiñones has worked with professionals from a number of different industries — and she thanks NYC for that type of diversity.

 

What do you think makes NYC unique as a city for women in tech?

New York City has a unique tech culture in general because it’s a new industry coming up as part of an economy with centuries of history behind it. Women in the NYC tech community don’t just come from tech backgrounds. Many came to tech through careers in media, finance, marketing and the other established industries here. Being part of the community gives you amazing access to networks in industries you’ve never worked in, and possibly more importantly, access to women with real experience leading organizations and building companies.

 

Are there any local or company programs, networking events or spaces that have helped you navigate your career?

One of the things I love most about the community is that there are networking events almost every day of the week. There are large organizations like Women Who Code of course, but I really love smaller meetups that focus specifically on intersectional identities. It’s amazing to commune with women in tech one night, meet other Latinx people another, and spend time with other queer engineers on a third. Having groups that focus on women in leadership, women in the early stages of their careers, women who are changing careers and women who work in the tech fringes of other industries makes it easy to find support and camaraderie that’s really relevant to where you are at any moment in your career.

 

Kaitlyn Glancy
SVP and GM

Flexport’s SVP and GM Kaitlyn Glancy is deeply connected to the NYC tech community. She calls upon her network within NY/NJ Forwarders and Brokers Association, as well as her Columbia MBA crew when looking for extra support.

 

What do you think makes NYC unique as a city for women in tech?

NYC is an incredibly diverse, progressive and innovative city. As a woman in technology, I feel fortunate to be in NYC where people are open to change, want to challenge the status quo and see technology as an opportunity to drive progress. At Flexport, we take our commitment to diversity and inclusion seriously, and we have found NYC to be home to diverse talent interested in the technology and logistics sector.
 

Are there any local or company programs, networking events or spaces that have helped you navigate your career?

Flexport is involved in several industry-related organizations such as the NY/NJ Forwarders and Brokers Association, where we have the opportunity to network with industry professionals and receive career guidance and expertise. Furthermore, on a personal level, I've been very fortunate to be a part of the Columbia MBA network, which includes incredibly talented women pursuing careers in technology, finance, medicine, the arts and more. All of these networks have provided opportunities to meet exceptional women in technology in NYC.

 

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