Silicon Valley has a diversity problem. And while it’s well-documented that from entry-level positions to the boardroom the tech sector is dominated by white men, there are still many others working in the ever-growing industry. To show the world a more comprehensive picture of people who work in tech, photographer Helena Price launched the portrait and interview project, Techies.
Techies features everyone working in the tech industry, except for straight white men. Helena explains her inspiration…
For this project I will focus on subjects who tend to be underrepresented in the greater tech narrative, i.e. women, people of color, folks over 50, LGBTQ, working parents, people with disabilities, etc. I want to bring a bit of attention to folks in the industry whose stories have never been heard, considered or celebrated. As someone who has worked in tech since 2009, first as a startup employee and now as a photographer, this project is very close to my heart.
Although many of the big players in Silicon Valley have finally come to recognize their own lack of diversity and the need for more, there is still a lot of work to be done. Helena hopes that Techies will serve as an ever growing tool for social impact and positive change.
Each photo is accompanied with a bio and interview, with each person getting to tell their story in their own words. Here are a few of the women’s stories featured…
Nancy Douyon, UX Researcher, Google
I’m a User Experience Research Program Manager for Google’s Consumer Operations, where I currently lead research on the end to end experience for all new and critical launches. In 2015, I completed 25 research studies, 23 invited talks, worked in 12 countries (overall has worked in 20+ countries), organized 8 community events, conducted 8 workshops, participated in 4 carnival masquerades, received 3 recognition honors, and was part of 2 major Google product launches. I am Haitian American and have come a long way from farming to technology. <more about Nancy>
February Keeney, Engineering Manager, Github
I am a half Puerto Rican trans woman who grew up in the Bay Area. I am the engineering manager for the Community & Safety team at GitHub. My journey through tech was easy for a decade and a half—when I transitioned I learned just how much privilege I had been afforded by presenting male all those years. <more about February>
Trucy Phan, Product Designer/FE Developer, Plate IQ
I have been living in the Bay Area for 9 years and am a self-taught designer and developer. My parents were immigrants from Vietnam, but I was born and raised in Iowa, where there weren’t a lot of people like me when I was growing up. In tech, there still aren’t a lot of people like me, but the experiences I had growing up grounded me with the fact that people will always have a different perception of you than you do of yourself, and it’s up to you to make up that difference. <more about Trucy>
Emily Eifler, VR Researcher
I’m 30, female, and disabled from a brain injury cause by gas poisoning when I was 10. I’m an artist working as a VR researcher right now but I have also worked as a dancer and at architecture firms and for the Exploratorium. <more about Emily>
Karen Wickre, Editorial Director, Twitter
I have worked in technology (chiefly publishing or business side) since 1985. I have worked for tech publishers, at startup companies, for content sites, and at big brand platforms (Google and Twitter). <more about Karen>
Rana Abulbasal, Project Specialist, Facebook
I’m a Muslim Arab-American woman. Moved from Jordan to the US in 2009 to do my MBA then decided to stay. I left my whole life behind in Jordan and walked away, because my dreams were much bigger than my tiny country. Never in a million years did I imagine I would end up at a company like Facebook in the Bay Area. It’s not easy to be very visibly different and to fight stereotypes day in and day out… but I’m here now and I damn well made it. <more about Rana>
Jessica McKellar, Director of Engineering, Dropbox
I’m an engineer and startup founder who spends a lot of her time at work and in open source communities improving diversity and inclusive culture. Fun facts: I’m a technical consultant for the HBO show Silicon Valley. For several years I was a Director for the Python Software Foundation, the 501c3 non-profit that stewards the Python programming language and community. For my diversity outreach work in the Python community, I received the O’Reilly Open Source Award. <more about Jessica>
Lead image from left to right: Tiffany Taylor, Erica Baker, Natasha Vianna, Tracy Chou, Melanie Araujo, Rachel Miller