How Women Tech Founders Is Improving Diversity In The Tech Industry
Terri Brax is the founder of TeacherCare, a national agency that helps families and organizations find highly qualified teachers. Known as the leader in integrating learning into the home, TeacherCare teachers provide a range of services that uniquely solve today’s many home / life / work / education challenges. Her experiences as a female leader growing a tech-powered organization also inspired Brax to launch a startup of a different sort – Women Tech Founders. With a purposeful sense of humor around the challenges women in tech face, this is abbreviated as WTF. The organization is designed to inspire more women to pursue careers in technology, as well as to help share the stories of women who already are making waves in the field.
WTF seeks to support female tech leaders by helping them to start businesses, craft breakthrough solutions, share their stories, and build an intentional community. They do this through offering virtual events, including an annual conference and an annual awards gala that honors successful women in tech. “Women Tech Founders provides a community so female entrepreneurs don’t have to figure it out all on their own,” says Brax.
Roughly half of the 22.5K female tech innovators plugged into WTF’s network identify as LatinX, Asian or Black. Since its inception, WTF has focused on improving gender and racial diversity and representation across the tech industry. Sample initiatives include:
- Hosting WTF Wednesdays – monthly virtual panels of Women of Color (WOC) and founders from diverse backgrounds where they get to share their stories
- Creating events and developing resources aimed at directing more funding to WOC founders
- Expanding the WTF network to include more WOC founders
Brax, a WOC herself, acknowledges the grit she brings to the business world started during her childhood. Her mother was a prisoner of war and adopted Brax and her brother after overcoming tremendous odds of survival. This is a primary reason for Brax’s commitment to “making a dent in inequity and unfair power structures in our world.” She says, “I have spent a great deal of time thinking of creative solutions to social issues. We all need to own our power. Education and technology are key in making that happen.”
The greatest challenge Brax faces as a social entrepreneur is balancing social impact with limited resources. “The struggle with wanting to make a bigger difference is figuring out the most financially sound and time-efficient ways to manage the great amount of interest in our cause. With so many brilliant minds coming up with so many great ideas to push our cause forward, it can be challenging — a great problem to have!”
Brax remains inspired by knowing that she is helping women knock down barriers, reach new places in their lives, and have more opportunities to shine.
To young people looking to tap into their life purpose or find a new direction in their careers, Brax offers this advice. “Start with things that you are passionate about. Not only will you have a better understanding of the problems and opportunities that lie in that space, but it’s going to be what you care about solving most. You are the master storyteller for your life’s purpose, so why not choose something you’re passionate about?”
Also, Brax says, “be willing to adapt.” Women Tech Founders first started as a community that focused on female founders just beginning their journeys. They have since grown into an organization that welcomes women across the spectrum, from entry-level workers who are interested in growing in their careers in tech, to women who’ve recently landed leadership roles at major corporations, to some of the leading founders of companies across the world.