Women of DC Tech (Continued) Jamie Ratner Founder/CEO, Certifikid
Company: Daily deals launched over four years ago similar to Groupon and LivingSocial but geared to parents.
Job focus: Growing business and subscribers and finding new types of businesses to work with.
Customers: Hundreds of thousands of subscribers. Started in DC area and expanded to Baltimore, Chicago, LA, and Atlanta. We’ve also acquired similar businesses.
Latest news: Organized big local event earlier this year geared to family-focused businesses. The point was to help local businesses with education and connections.
Inspiration to launch: Was a new mom intrigued by the Groupon concept, but the deals weren’t applicable to me. Went to a Gymboree class with child and thought it would be great to have a coupon to try out a class. It quickly got up and running from there.
Why a tech career: Didn’t even have an iPhone until a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been forced to learn everything.
Biggest challenge: Balancing being a mom with young kids and managing a growing company. I don’t want to grow too much that it’s all consuming.
Career milestones: First management position right after college in charge of security; Certfikids’ first deal where we sold thousands; and recent community event.
Grew up: Rockville.
Current home: Potomac.
School: Penn State.
First job: Soccer ref.
Greatest fear: Regret.
Favorite vacation: Bethany Beach.
Favorite restaurant: Raku.
Bucket list: Get on The Price is Right.
Family facts: Married 10 years with two kids - girl and boy.
Hobbies: Bargain shopping and running.
Daily habit: Coffee.
Advice to 18-year-old self: Focus on what you really enjoy.
Program director, Code for Progress
Organization: DC nonprofit launched two years ago to train minorities and low-income people to be full-stack web developers during four-month paid residency and place them in jobs.
Job focus: Lead training, lead grassroots community-building, and design curriculum.
Latest news: Graduated first cohort of 11; moving to Ward 8 in October to work on coding initiatives with DC government at R.I.S.E Demonstration Center; and worked with Maryland and Tech Lady Hackathon to develop an app called Buscando that helps connect families and volunteers with efforts to help undocumented immigrant children.
Why join Code for Progress: Lack of diversity in the tech field and the lack of access to computer science education for minorities. Seven kids took the advanced placement computer science exam in DC last year, compared to hundreds in Maryland and Virginia.
Why a tech career: Grandfather was a mechanic and grew up with love for machines and wanting to travel. Went to Purdue to study astronautical engineering and then took a computer science course and it stuck. Started teaching and had a growing interest in social justice issues. Tech is one mechanism for social change and solving this huge diversity problem.
Career milestones: Graduating first cohort; first leadership position as field director for Equality Ohio; and leaving engineering to work on social change.
Grow up: Born in Eau Claire, Wis., and grew up in Bangladesh.
Current home: Petworth.
Why DC: Job with Code for Progress.
School: Purdue University and Miami University of Ohio.
First job: DJ at parties.
Greatest fear: No fear but predict I’m going to die before we see significant progress in racial and gender equality.
Daily habit: Hit a punching bag for an hour.
Favorite vacation: Ohio.
Favorite restaurant: My kitchen.
Bucket list: To see Erykah Badu live (been trying last six years).
Family facts: Active aunt to niece and two nephews (we design websites together.)
Hobbies: Martial arts, play guitar, member of unnamed band that plays R&B covers, teach friends how to spin records.
Advice to 18-year-old self: It’s not enough to be a cause. Be committed to each other.
Company: Online marketplace for clothing, handbags, and jewelry from emerging fashion designers.
Job focus: Testing new business models and growing customer base.
Customers: Two customer bases—designers (right now we have 15) and trendsetting young professionals.
Latest news: Rolling out direct sales through social media platforms.
Inspiration to launch: Used to be in the foreign service and would bring back hidden gems from all over the world. Friends were always interested and thought it would be great to create a discovery experience to find cool new designers.
Why a tech career: Love creating. Tech allows me to build and test things and grow them faster than any other mechanism.
Biggest challenge: Being focused and not listening to the hype.
Career milestones: Completing first tour in the foreign service in Tajikistan and winning meritorious honor award; launching STYLECABLE; and serving as a mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs through programs like TechGirls.
Hometown: Lancaster, Penn.
Current home: Arlington.
Why DC: Was here as foreign service officer. Came back in 2010 for management consulting job.
Schools: Tufts and Wharton MBA.
First job: In high school, worked as a pharmacy clerk.
Daily habit: Peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches and tea for breakfast.
Favorite vacation: Bali and anywhere in southeast Asia.
Favorite restaurants: Brabo Tasting Room (Alexandria) and Maple (Columbia Heights).
Bucket list: See the Northern Lights (already attempted this once).
Family facts: Two younger brothers, younger sister, and two dogs.
Hobbies: Writing haikus (can write them really fast).
Advice to 18-year-old self: Relax and spend more time with family.