WWCode Conversations #52: The Role of Technology in Connecting People
Written by WWCode HQ
Women Who Code Conversations 52 | Spotify — iTunes — Google — YouTube
Faith Pueneh, Women Who Code Frontend Track Lead and Frontend Developer at CAD Consulting Limited, Nigeria, and Silvia Recinos, Women Who Code Guatemala Evangelist and UI Designer at PayPal, sit down to discuss the importance of community and their individual involvement at Women Who Code, as well as the role of technology in connecting people.
Faith: Tell me why and how did you join Women Who Code?
Silvia: I had studied graphic design at university and needed to do my internship with a non-profit organization in Guatemala. I met Cristina Roncal, a leader in the Guatemalan community. I did my internship with them and I was asked by Ivona Avana, another leader in the community. I didn’t accept it at first because I didn’t feel like I fit because I had studied graphic design. They were women in STEM. But after I finished my studies, I decided to join, and it was the greatest decision I ever made.
How about you? How did you enter Women Who Code?
Faith: A friend of mine went to a Facebook conference sometime in 2018. When she came back to Nigeria, she brought swag and stickers. One of the stickers she brought was from Women Who Code. I was just starting out in tech. I wanted to know more about this community. I searched Women Who Code and I was more interested. I started following on Twitter, I tried to follow everything that was happening. It was just awesome. I’m glad I started out in tech with them.
Was there something special about Women Who Code that made you join?
Silvia: As I mentioned, I didn’t accept at first because they were all engineers. I felt like I didn’t fit in the community because I had studied graphic design. I didn’t connect those two as STEM careers. I saw they started using what I delivered from my internship on their social media and decided that maybe I could make a difference and could help people with what I know.
What about you, how did you get inspired to join?
Faith: They put out content that helped me grow. In 2019, They started the different Tracks. I got into the frontend Track. I saw them on the Slack channel. I joined to become better in tech. It’s great experience.
What made you want to become an Evangelist.
Silvia: Cristina asked me and added me to a group that we have just for Evangelists. I was like, “Okay, maybe that’s my plan with this community, that’s where I fit.”
How did you start as an Evangelist? Are you a lead now?
Faith: Yes, I am a lead. I started as an Evangelist. I saw the post asking for volunteers and then I was really excited about that. This community has impacted my life, my journey in tech. I really wanted to also impact other people.
What is your favorite part about becoming an Evangelist?
Silvia: For me being an Evangelist is knowing how to communicate relevant information. We do social media work, internal communication between the community, plan our monthly post, and our communication plan. We communicate with different teams in the same community to promote their events. We plan strategies to grow and to have people join the community.
What about you?
Faith: My favorite part of becoming an Evangelist is also communication. I love it when I see people comment on a post I’ve sent out and engage with it, to tell how impactive it was in their journey.
What do you think is the importance of community in tech?
Silvia: Community gives a sense of unity between the members, you feel supported, you feel safe. We share experiences and help each other out, not just personally, but professionally too. It gives hope and opportunities to get involved, learn new things, share knowledge, and to inspire.
What’s your favorite part of having this community?
Faith: The fact that you’re not alone. When you come into a community, you feel like you have other people. Community helps boost your journey.
What’s your take on using social media to connect and help women to grow in tech?
Silvia: I remember talking about that with the community. One girl was telling us her experience. She told us that she was the only girl in her team. She felt alone for that experience. They didn’t even have a bathroom for girls. I think that’s part of being a community too, it helps awareness that we want to pursue these careers. I think social media plays a key role in communication. I truly believe social media is a great way to connect with people and reach others.
What about you, what do you think of using social media?
Faith: I think social media plays a great role in boosting community engagement. It plays a great role in helping the community to grow. Women Who Code has Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. They have lots of content. Social media helps us. Without social media, you would not be able to have this engagement.
What other ways do you think we can connect using technology?
Silvia: I think the pandemic led to great opportunities for technology. It led us to be more creative. It led to an opportunity for growing technology.
What about you? What do you think about other technologies?
Faith: Apart from social media, you have blogs and other great platforms. Now you have virtual conferences that you can attend. The last Connect Forward I attended was awesome. I’m not in the US, but I learned a lot. I did not miss anything. I was there, listening because I didn’t want to miss it.
When we talk about connecting online, let’s say, social connection, do you think it’s impactful?
Silvia: Yes. Connections are essential in a person’s life. It can get you to a better job, and better opportunities. You will need these connections. They play an important part of your communication and growth as a person, I think.
What do you think about social connections?
Faith: I think it’s very important. Personally, it has helped my growth in tech. Many of the jobs that I have done in tech have been on recommendations. Those recommendations are from people that I’ve met in conferences.
Do you have anything else to share?
Silvia: I think Women Who Code really is a fulfilling place and a community where you can grow personally. You can connect with different people with different experiences. You have so many opportunities because you can give a talk about something. You can do activities in the community. They will always support you and you can always feel safe. I think that is the great part of being part of Women Who Code.
I wanted to ask how you became a lead from being an evangelist?
Faith: I had passion for Women Who Code because they actually helped my journey. I wanted to help others. I put in the work, trying to do more. It happened naturally. My fellowship lead said, “I think you’ve really grown, you’ve really done lots and you are doing well. I don’t think you should be at this spot anymore. I think we need to move you because you are doing more than just an evangelist.” That’s how I moved to becoming a lead. I think it just came naturally to me because I love this work. I love volunteering and I wanted to see all this growth. It excites me when you come into tech, and at the end of the day you are doing well. I am really excited about seeing people grow.