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Hackbright Goes to GoDaddy

Pictured: GoDaddy CTO Elissa Murphy strikes a pose with the Hackbright Winter 2016 engineering fellows at GoDaddy’s Sunnyvale office.

Hackbright fellows got to feel out the GoDaddy culture and mingle with engineers at GoDaddy on Monday, February 22, 2016 at their South Bay office. We also had the chance to speak with Elissa Murphy (Chief Technology Officer) and Lauren Antonoff (Senior Vice President, Presence and Commerce) at GoDaddy.

Elissa spent an hour before and after lunch speaking to the Hackbright fellows. She created an inviting and open forum for students to ask a wide variety of questions and was transparent about GoDaddy, career progression, and industry gender biases – giving the engineering fellows clarity on what it will be like to join the industry as Software Engineers.

Elissa recounted what brought her to GoDaddy, her initial pushback, and how they are working to change their reputation. She felt that she could better serve the female community by changing their culture from the inside out. She has spearheaded how they can better recruit and bring more women on board. This caused a fellow to ask how a junior hire can change the culture of a company, Elissa advised her to be self-aware, communicate well, and to always be yourself.

Hackbright engineering fellows asked questions about career progression and how to be successful. This is industry is filled with intelligent people, so to get ahead you have to fill the gap. Elissa broached the need to recognize and solve the problems other people aren’t. Both women at GoDaddy emphasized the importance of being passionate and staying curious about technology to be successful in engineering.

A question that gets asked a lot both within the coding bootcamp community and to engineering leaders is “What are the challenges of hiring non-traditional engineering talent?” Elissa confidently answered, “None.” She gave examples of some successful non-traditional engineers she worked with in the past and assured the anxious group that the best engineers don’t need a technical background. Hackbright graduates are providing Cognitive Diversity to the teams they join, a huge value add to any group.

During lunch, students had time to talk and ask questions to engineers at GoDaddy.

Lauren joined the discussion after lunch. She spoke about her background and how she broke into engineering. Both Elissa and Lauren provided an inspiring example of how women can work together to support each other throughout their career – having met as young women in their twenties, they have grown with each other, first at Microsoft and now at GoDaddy.

When asked how to push through tough times at work especially at an age when women leave the workplace, Lauren reflected that her mother instilled in her a sense of “I will continue working and get through it simply because I have to.” Concerning her personal success, Elissa “didn’t get the memo” and encouraged others not to get the memo either. Meaning, you shouldn’t allow other people to tell you how to do things and to never limit yourself.

My favorite tip from the women easily became my new mantra: “Be yourself, be authentic, and be transparent.”

Thank you to GoDaddy for hosting the Hackbright engineering fellows – it was so much fun!