Power Women of DC Tech: Part VII
We're proud to present yet another batch of stories about amazing tech entrepreneurs, who also happen to be women. ICYM our previous profiles, click here. And don't forget, we will be toasting all of them on Oct. 15 in Crystal City. Sign up.
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Company: "Privacy first" social discovery platform and app that matches people who share multiple in-depth areas in common, no matter their location.
Job focus: Preparing SameGrain’s launch and building amazing user experiences for individuals and platform partners.
Latest news: Signed on a platform partner with over one million members.
Inspiration to launch: Experiencing and observing people not meeting the people they should meet in life. Those events, coupled with online services career, made me want to create a sophisticated algorithm to match people beyond dating.
Why a tech career: First job out of college was with Viewtron, the first consumer online services company in North America. Been brainstorming future concepts ever since.
Biggest challenge: Stretching start-up dollars.
Career milestones: Launching Apple's first online service called Apple Link – Personal Edition in late '80s; mentoring wide range of start-ups; and turning SameGrain vision into reality.
Current home: Stevensville, Md.
Why DC: First in the '80s for position with Quantum Computer Services (AOL's start-up name). Then to Silicon Valley to work for Apple. Moved back to DC area to be closer to family and start a family.
School: Florida State University
First job: Delivering hometown newspaper. Was their first female delivery person, so had to have a better throwing arm than male counterparts.
Greatest fear: Extremely closed-minded people and frogs
Daily habit: Listen to non-fiction audio books via Audible app while commuting.
Favorite vacation: Kenya, where I repaired wells and fitted villagers with Global Vision 2020 eye glasses. Hard work in rough conditions, but loved every second of it.
Favorite restaurant: The French Laundry (Yountville, Calif.)
Bucket list: Ride in driverless Google car on the highway.
Family facts: Married, college-age son and daughter and a yellow lab.
Hobbies: Traveling, fishing, snow skiing, and watching college football.
Advice to 18-year-old self: Turn ideas into actions and build it. Also, buy more Apple stock.
President/CEO, TRX Systems
Company: 3D indoor location
Job focus: Working with strategic partners, developing sales opportunities, managing product development priorities, growing revenue, and bringing in investment.
Customers: Motorola Solutions, US Army, DHS, mobile device developers, and navigation software providers.
Latest news: Distribution agreement with Motorola.
Role when joined company: Highest priority was to bring product to market for public safety and defense. Now the sensors we're using are being embedded in all types of mobile devices, so now working with broad range of companies to make TRX algorithms available to anyone using newer mobile devices.
Why a tech career: Gravitated to math and electrical engineering. Early jobs like software development for Army and college job at NASA got me excited about driving new technologies to market.
Biggest challenge: Making sure TRX is spending time in all the right places, with the right priorities.
Career milestones: Selling large international systems for Hughes Network Systems; business development for Torrent, including helping build relationship with Ericsson; working for four startups and experiencing everything from conceiving of an idea to building and scaling teams.
Hometown: Belair, Md.
Current home: Bethesda
Why DC: Belair was a rural community, so came to DC area to go to school.
School: University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins
First job: Cleaned houses
Daily habit: Morning run/boot camp
Favorite vacation: Panama with family a few years ago
Favorite restaurant: Black’s Bar & Kitchen (Bethesda)
Bucket list: Spending summer in Italy
Family facts: Married and two sons
Hobbies: Running, skiing, and reading
Advice to 18-year-old self: Don't worry about career. Just get an engineering degree—it teaches you to build things and take risks, and leaves your options open.
Company: Digital grassroots engagement platform that connects people with their elected officials via e-mail, phone, and social media. Organizations use it to communicate with members/advocates about urgent issues they can act on.
Job focus: Customer happiness and success.
Customers: Trade associations, nonprofits, and for-profits, including Consumer Electronics Association, Lyft, The iSchool Initiative, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, American Heart Association, Black Alliance for Educational Options, and National Association for Home Care and Hospice.
Latest news: Integrations with Salesforce and MailChimp, and expanding MMS capabilities.
Inspiration to launch: After leaving DC government, joined national advocacy group as membership and civic engagement director. Role included helping constituents share opinions about politics. Realized absence of mobile tools for civic engagement.
Why a tech career: Came from user perspective. Technology is not the answer to all problems but sound technology can be life changing.
Biggest challenge: Don’t want to be complacent or slow down for a second. If we do, someone else can come in and eat us for lunch.
Career milestones: Obtaining PhD from GWU in ’04; joining Mayor Fenty executive cabinet in ’08; and co-launching Phone2Action in ’12.
Hometown: Santiago, Chile
Current home: Alexandria
Why DC: Education. May sound cliche but came to pursue the American Dream.
First job: Trapezist in a student circus in college. Minus financial compensation, it was a real job.
Greatest fear: Losing a loved one, including family, friends, and colleagues.
Daily habit: Read the news.
Favorite vacation: Cape Cod and Pucon, Chile
Favorite restaurant: London Curry House (Alexandria)
Bucket list: Visit all 50 states (already visited 44) and trekking in Torres del Paine, Chile.
Family fact: Engaged; eight nephews
Hobbies: Running, concerts, and spoiling nephews
Advice to 18-year-old self: Have fun and take time to smell the roses. Balance is key.
Company: Platform to design and publish custom maps. Launched three years ago, took funding last October, and growing fast.
Job focus: Building efficient systems and processes, setting a culture of transparent and clear communication, and making sure internal culture stays strong with growth.
Latest news: Released map design tool, Mapbox Studio. Can design radically custom maps, work with huge datasets, and publish maps online or print them in high-res.
Inspiration to join startup: Been with the company since day one. Mapbox spun out of a company called Development Seed, which does online consulting and data visualizations for international development organizations. This meant making a lot of maps and there weren't any tools available to make custom online maps.
Why a tech career: It's inherently creative and a constant challenge.
Biggest challenge: Focus. There's a ton moving in technology and the tech community, and it's easy to get pulled in many directions.
Career milestones: Organizing first tech conference for 1,400 people; closing on $10M in funding for Mapbox in October 2013; and hiring three amazing people to help run operations.
Hometown: Blue Bell, Penn.
Current home: Shaw
Why DC: College
School: American University
First job: Managed website for National Crime Prevention Council. Boss was McGruff the Crime Dog.
Greatest fear: Boredom and definitely rats.
Daily habit: Shutting off email. I check email every morning and several times throughout the day, but make a point of shutting it down for chunks off time each day so I can get work done without distractions.
Favorite book: The World According to Garp by John Irving
Favorite vacation: Any beach, preferably with big waves or great snorkeling
Favorite restaurant: Top three are Boundary Stone (Bloomingdale), 1905 (Shaw), and Bistrot du Coin (Dupont)
Bucket list: Getting certified for scuba diving, and then doing it a ton
Hobbies: Traveling, reading, and checking out new neighborhood bars and restaurants
Advice to 18-year-old self: Ask more questions. Don't be shy about not knowing much about a certain topic, and never pretend to know more than you do.