Many of my friends have asked me if and when I would venture down the path of collaborating with another blogger. For those of you who’ve been following along, you’ll notice that I’ve always been in front of the camera alone. Truthfully, I thought a collaboration would come in due time but definitely not as soon as, well, now. So for more reasons than one this is a very special post. One, because it’s a milestone for leave a little sparkle but also because I got to meet the literal definition of girl boss, and I know you’re going to love her too.
I met Lea through work. She’s a fellow Googler [so you already know she’s super cool.] She is also the mastermind behind Women of Silicon Valley. Lea started the blog while she was still an undergrad at Stanford, and it took off from there! How she managed to balance her blog and school, truthfully, I have no idea. You all know I’ve wanted to start a blog for the longest time and waited until after graduation to take the plunge. I told you- she’s a real superstar.
Hop on over to WoSV to read my interview. So humbled to have been featured alongside some incredible girl bosses. [Looking for some more inspiration? My favorite features are here and here- sexual empowerment and the intersection of fashion and tech, no surprises there!]
Lea and I got to talking, and before you know it, one thing led to another, and we were planning a coffee date. [Side note: coffee dates, in the early mornings, with a selection of pastries, and a sprinkling of some good convo- marble white tabletops are always a plus- are my favorite.] We spent the morning at b.patisserie in Pac Heights, indulging in a signature chocolate croissant, a cinnamon scone, and passion fruit tart [yum]. We talked all things gender roles and dismantling the patriarchy [of course] as well as our experiences abroad and at university as minority women.
I had a few questions for Lea. Read on to hear from her in her own words:
Why did you start Women of Silicon Valley?
The summer before I started WoSV, I'd interned at a software company where I experienced many of the unacceptable behaviors I'd presumed to be "feminist folklore" before I could experience them for myself. These behaviors ran the gamut from microaggressions, like being told while coding that "girls don't code because they're just artsy," to macroaggressions like being sexually harassed by a coworker. I ended up writing a Fortune article about it, and the outpouring of support I received really validated the emotional burden of writing that article. I decided to do more, and I started WoSV to celebrate awesome women, especially women of color, in tech.
What is your favorite part about working on Women of Silicon Valley?
Reading the interviews that each feature submits. Although it's only ten questions, I feel like I get to know who they are so much better, even if I already knew them. It makes you appreciate challenges they went through where you never even knew there were challenges. One of my favorite responses was Tilde Pier's, to the question "When did you know you wanted to be in tech?"
"I wanted to be a software engineer when I was in middle school. I didn’t know anyone who was coding though, so it didn’t seem like a real possibility. I got a B.A. in Gender & Media Studies, paying for all of my tuition myself by working full-time, and I ended up working in Human Resources. Then I started dating a girl who’s a software engineer. She gave me the courage to quit my job, learn to code, and change careers. Now I’ve been at Pinterest for over 2 years."
Who is your favorite designer?
I'm going to go with Ermenegildo Zegna. I worked with them in Lombardy, Italy for a consulting project, and when I visited their headquarters and toured their factories I was amazed by the level of meticulous detail they put into their fabrics. Honestly they should host an EDM rave because everyone would be feeling up and buying their suits.
What's your favorite item that you own?
I love the pair of white platform heels I'm wearing. I bought them during my time working abroad in Italy so they've walked across the cobblestone of many of the cities I used to work in (and now dearly miss): Florence, Rome, Pisa and Milan. And because a lot of these cities have horse-drawn carriages, I may or may not have stepped in horse poop in them. These shoes have seen some [literal] shit.
If you could have coffee with any person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
Erica Baker. She's one of the role models in tech I look up to most.
If you could pick up and move to any city in the world it would be...
I would love to live in New York for a while. God I've never had so much good food in my life.
If you weren't working in tech at Google, you would be...
A dog walker, dog sitter, dog groomer, etc.
Photos by Kelsey Johnson