There’s nothing better than hearing from those who’ve gone before you, learning from their battle scars and victories, being reminded that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. That was our experience at the Hackbright field trip to GoDaddy’s Sunnyvale office — it made for an inspiring and positive experience!
Lauren Antonoff, Senior Vice President of Presence and Commerce at GoDaddy, kicked off Hackbright’s welcome by sharing her career story. In her college years, she was convinced she wanted to be a civil rights lawyer and pursued a political science degree. But after she got her first Mac computer, that took her on a path to asking good questions, problem solving and manual writing, and that ultimately landed her in engineering at Microsoft! As Lauren in her career, she saw the continued disparity in female representation and decided to do something about it. Lauren launched the StepUp program at Microsoft to take women engineers who had fallen out of the pipeline and equip them to be the engineers that were hired on the team.
Lauren brings this same passion for diversity into her work at GoDaddy, and left us with three pieces of advice about how to advocate for ourselves:
- Apply for jobs you are not qualified for. Don’t write yourself off, but take the risk!
- If you do not get a job, ask for feedback strategically. Ask what it was about the person who was offered the job, and learn from that.
- Lean on your support networks, especially after you experience failure in the workplace. Instead of giving up, remember that everyone has failures. Don’t settle for socially acceptable reasons to step down from your dreams.
Pictured: Lauren Antonoff, Senior Vice President of Presence and Commerce at GoDaddy, sharing advice with Hackbright engineering fellows.
Next, we were introduced to Shaheeda Nizar, Senior Director of Engineering at GoDaddy. She also shared her career story. After landing a job as a developer, she was disillusioned by the isolated (and South Park!!) culture she experienced on her team. But it took her relationship with Lauren — Lauren Antonoff and Shaheeda connected in their past career lives! — to give her the push she needed to advocate for herself and ultimately move to a team with a better work culture.
Shaheeda stressed the value of mentors and relationships in the workplace, encouraging us to:
- Notice those who are competent around you but slow to speak up. Advocate for them and their ideas, and you just might find your own voice and leadership potential.
- Build relationships that are outside of any formal mentor programs. Look out for who is working on what interests you, and connect with them.
- As you gain experience as an entry-level engineer, ask to work on the projects that interest you the most. Do not be afraid to advocate for yourself and shape your work.
We met Irana Wasti, Senior Director of Product Management at GoDaddy. She shared about the amazing diversity and “women-in-tech” initiatives taking place at GoDaddy. She addressed concerns about GoDaddy’s brand from past years as well as the growth and changes they have implemented since then, and she explained her experience working to create and shape the culture she wanted to see at GoDaddy. Irana worked to launch GoDaddy’s Women in Tech group, along with the support of her CEO and CTO and many other volunteers across the company. Today, the group is 600 strong and recently launched a mentorship ring program to foster continued professional development for women in the company.
Throw in a delicious lunch, chats with team engineers, a sweet parting gift, and rides on the GoDaddy carts to this already inspiring experience, and you’ve put permanent smiles on all our Hackbright faces!
Thank you GoDaddy for inspiring us to keep growing and pushing in tech!
Thinking of joining the movement? Be sure to check out Hackbright’s next event, Bootcamp to Engineer: How I Got My Job! This event is open to anyone who wants to hear about the career transition to software engineering from Hackbright’s alumnae and hiring managers from partner companies. It will also be livestreamed if you cannot attend in person. RSVP to learn more!