Every year, women in technology from all over the world meet at the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC), the world’s largest gathering of women in computing. Find out what Macy’s is doing in connection with this event and hear from women about the experience and impact of this conference.
Increasing gender diversity in technology-driven industries is important. In fact, Macy’s was just recognized as one of the Top Companies for Women Technologists by the Anita Borg Institute, specifically in the categories of Top Companies Leadership Index and Change Alliance. We’re committed to the development of women in technology, which is why Macy’s Technology has been partnering with the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing to create an extraordinary experience for female technologists since 2014. This year, a team of 20 female technologists will represent Macy’s Technology at the October conference in Orlando, Florida.
Named after Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, inventor of the first compiler for one of the first computer programming languages, the event is a celebration of women who transform technology. The conference includes keynote discussions with industry leaders, professional development workshops, and an expo career fair.
Macy’s is a company known for fashion and retail, but we’re also highly influential as a technology career destination. In fact, at GHC 2016, Macy’s was named in the Top 25 Companies for Women Technologists. The conference provides an opportunity to continue growing outstanding talent, market Macy’s brand to a broader community and build inclusive cultures by addressing the gender gap in technology.
“Macy’s celebrates diversity of talent, not only in terms of skills, but also the diversity of thought, personalities, and problem-solving tactics that come from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and genders,” said Yasir Anwar, chief technology officer for Macy’s, Inc. He added, “Macy’s values the diversity of all its customers, in addition to its workforce. Diversity of talent brings together the collective perspective that informs how we best serve our customers and the communities around us.”
As Jessica Cosio, an eCommerce developer at Macy’s Technology, explains, “The conference sets a stage for women in technology to shine and learn. I’m thankful I found Macy’s, such a passionate company, in the sea of opportunities at the GHC career fair. The GHC and the passionate people behind the team representing the Macy’s brand at the fair beautifully paved the path to where I am now.”
To attend the conference, female technologists at Macy’s Technology are nominated by their leadership and supported by Macy’s Technology executives across the organization. Final attendees are selected based on contribution to the organization, such as committee and Employee Resource Group (ERG) involvement, technical performance, and ability to serve as a company ambassador.
We interviewed some of the women in technology recruited from previous Grace Hopper Celebrations. Check out what they had to say about the conference and their own experiences working in technology.
Why did you visit the Macy’s booth at GHC and what’s your role at Macy’s now? I was interested in Macy’s as a tech company after seeing them at a job fair and learning that they were looking for mobile app developers. By luck I noticed the Macy’s booth outside of the usual element of tech companies, with two bubbly women manning the front lines. I hadn’t truly considered eCommerce before then, but the Macy’s brand catered to my love of fashion, America and holiday nostalgia.
How did GHC help your career? My very first computer science course had about 32 boys and two girls, including myself. Computer science is a really challenging, competitive area to be in, especially when you’re a woman. At GHC, I saw that there are so many different areas of technology that don’t get discussed in school, and women could succeed in these areas. Every time I’ve attended GHC, I’ve felt empowered that I could make change.
What else should we know about your experience as a Macy’s Technology GHC recruit? The Macy’s Technology Executive Development Program (EDP) was a great transition between college and corporate. Not only did we get training courses to develop more skills suited for the job, we also got to join a very close-knit EDP support community. Everyone at Macy’s Technology is nice and supportive, which makes it a lot less intimidating to ask people questions. The culture here is one of the biggest highlights which makes working at Macy’s Technology so great!
Why would you recommend the Grace Hopper conference to future women in technology? Attending GHC is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Everyone knows job hunting is stressful. It can be pretty daunting and the rejections can make you question your self-worth, but being surrounded by supportive and passionate women gave me the confidence and comfort to keep doing what I was doing because it is worth doing. You can feel the passion and excitement from hundreds of women.
What else should we know about your experience as a Macy’s Technology GHC recruit? It was a great experience for us to get six months of training prior to working with our actual teams through the Executive Development Program at Macy’s Technology. We were eased into our roles and at the same time, we learned how to build out fundamental skills in technology.
Why did you visit the Macy’s booth at GHC and what’s your role at Macy’s now? I hadn’t been aware that Macy’s had much in the way of tech jobs before attending GHC, but the people working the recruitment booth held my interest. They seemed happy about their jobs. It made me see a job at Macy’s Technology as an opportunity.
I do both front and back-end development on the Macy’s website. When I first started, I was recruited into Macy’s TechStars program in San Francisco, a six-month program to integrate new hires into the company, which I really enjoyed. In school I learned general computing concepts, while my role at Macy’s has provided me the physical experience to actually apply those concepts. My job at Macy’s Technology was and still is my first job in the industry. It represents the first step in my career, and it has affected my life significantly. I moved all the way across the country for this job, landing myself squarely in one of the major tech hubs of America, and it has given me a chance to hone my skills as a developer, preparing me for the future, too.
And let’s not forget ... A big congratulations to this year’s conference representatives: Alicia Risk, Ann Chen, Andrea Densmore, Angela Liu, Bridgette Krauter, Brittany Sheppard, Chantelle Risor, Dana Stokes-Buttera, Hunvil Rodriques, Jami Ring, Jessica Pepper, Kamala Manju Desavan, Lauren Jagger, Meena Krishnan, Minya Livada, Paul Giobetti, Preethi Maulik, Marlene Mckinny, Sampada Mhalagi, Savannah Smith, and Virginia Lyons!