This week we’re excited to share the story of Carol Langlois, Founder Empowered Tech.
Carol served on the exec leadership team for Hackbright Academy (the leading all women bootcamp in SF.)
She even wrote a book, Girl Talk: Boys, Bullies and Body Image which interviews teenage girls on the topics of self-esteem, which also offers an effective and practical system designed to RAISE (Resilience, Attitude, Independence, Self-Respect and Empowerment) teen self-esteem
She now runs Empowered Tech.- A community space inspiring women for success in tech that is also dedicated to fostering a safe environment for them to share information, obstacles, resources, and jobs.
What kind of problem is Empowered Tech solving?
Social emotional support for women in tech while also offering them some practical career coaching skills for their workplace and/or next career move.
What did those first steps look/feel like? (for example: the first 6 months)
We are only 8 months old. The first step was a meet-up where we simply asked women "what's your biggest struggle as a women in tech?" From there we refined our events, added a website, slack channel, and a survey for all new members to better understand their needs. We went from 21 members to 450 in 7 months.
What has been the biggest contribution to the success of the Empowered Tech community?
I think the authenticity of the business model. We simply want to see more women work comfortably in tech and better understand their challenges. We then address those challenges at the next event. I am a trained therapist so it’s important for me to create an open and safe environment where women openly share their questions and challenges.
Do you have a favorite failure? What lessons did you learn?
We are so new; I fail every week. We hosted an event where we had over 80 RSVP’s and only 7 women attended. I was very disappointed. I almost decided to close the group, but then 2 of the women separately came up to me and said they loved the group and one drove all the way from San Jose she said that there were no other groups out there like ours. So, I kept going. I feel it’s a marketing/branding issue so I formed a relationship/friendship with General Assembly and now we host quite a few events together. There reach is pretty broad and far so the attendee numbers are so much better.
How do you define leadership? Or, what does being a leader mean to you?
It means listening to the population you wish to support. I ask a lot of questions, seek advise and guidance. I really think the survey helps me better understand the population and their needs. Also, I have a passion for helping women. (My primary research focus has been females self-esteem development) and so my passion is obvious when I talk about this work.
Do you have a mentor? How did you go about acquiring one?
No- always wanted one and never found one. I have a great group of friends and we keep each other on track, accountable and motivated. My husband is also great for bouncing ideas off of.
What should women be doing more of to foster leadership skills?
Networking; I go to at least one event a week. (Meet people, shake hands, ask questions.) Speak at events when offered the opportunity. Just say “yes” to everything. (Panels, lightning talks, workshops, fireside chats, etc)
Have you ever felt imposter syndrome, and how did you combat it?
I’ve done a lot of research on imposter syndrome: I’ve had clients with imposter syndrome and I’ve run workshops on combating it. I have felt nervous or anxious in certain situations, but I do not think I have ever truly experienced IS.
What do you do when you're feeling "overwhelmed"?
I get real organized/ structured. Lots of lists. I break things down to digestible steps and work my way through. At one time, I was working on my PhD, running a business school and planning a wedding. I was overwhelmed and had to figure out how to manage everything. Low alcohol and running also helps me. :)
What is one quote you live your life by?
"Failure isn’t falling down, but refusing to get back up." -Teddy Roosevelt
What are you reading right now?
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up- by Maria Kondo
If you had one tip or life advice, or mantra to share, what would it be?
To be happy you have to pursue something that is bigger than you. I finally got that in my 40’s. (If it seems too big, that’s ok. Just chip away a little bit every day and you will get there.)
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