Women in tech face even more isolation than simply being a minority in the industry. As tech grows and the gender gap persists, many womxn and those identifying outside the cisgender male experience are entering roles as diverse as marketing, operations, and people. This means women could be the only woman in their company and the only woman they know in their role in a tech company. Three women in the growing Ann Arbor tech scene set out to build bridges for womxn in tech: Alison Todak, Kristina Oberly, and Rachel Phillips are all key players in the Ann Arbor tech scene with experience that ranges from community building to HR and marketing in tech startups. They founded Shine & Rise in 2019 to address the isolation of women in the tech industry. Even after a pandemic forced operations virtual, the organization is growing and expanding beyond Ann Arbor. Now, Shine & Rise is taking an active role in helping organizations diversify tech from the inside out.
Recently, Phimation Strategy executive coach Dave Haviland and team piloted a podcast with Ann Arbor SPARK called SPARK.grow and a new pilot program for mentoring startup founders and tech professionals called Rising Leaders. Now, even if you’re not part of the first cohort, you can join the Rising Leaders program for a panel on leadership and career advice in Ann Arbor.
Every other month on the third Thursday of the month, the New Enterprise Forum meets in the Lower Level of SPARK Central on Liberty at 5:00 pm for Pitch Pit, where new entrepreneurs come and give short investor pitches on business ideas of all kinds. Pitch Pit doesn’t meet in August and December, and alternates…
Jeni Olney’s role at the University of Michigan is to get students excited and interested in entrepreneurship, to be exposed to the idea of entrepreneurship as a useful skill set and a valuable degree. “Then, once I get them into classes, my job is to connect them to resources,” Olney says. This is Innovate Blue, the University of Michigan’s program for connecting any and all undergraduate students with the option of a minor in entrepreneurship.