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Looking for a Few Good Women… In Tech

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Historically, females in science, technology, engineering and math fields have been grossly underrepresented. A 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Commerce found only one in seven engineers is female. But Intuit is working to buck that trend. Of the 121 software engineers hired to start after they graduated from college last June, 47 were female. That’s more than one in three.

To keep the momentum going, a team from Intuit met and interviewed tomorrow’s female leaders in tech at the recent Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Baltimore. The world’s largest annual conference for technical women attracted more than 3,600 attendees – 1,500 of whom were college students – from 42 countries. The students weren’t just a random sampling; they were hand-picked by their professors as the top women in their schools’ computer science program.

Learning and Courting

The Grace Hopper attendees came for two reasons: to learn from a wide selection of conference sessions and to be courted by almost 100 potential employers, including Team Intuit.  

The potential candidates were overwhelmingly fantastic, making it harder for Intuit to parse between all the talent.

“I haven’t met a single person who hasn’t had an interesting story,” said Kristina Thai, a former intern now in Intuit’s rotational development program, which exposes early career employees to a variety of jobs across the company. “When I talk about the program, I can see their faces light up.”

“I am totally energized to share about Intuit,” said Devik Lansing, a program manager in the central technology organization. “Innovation, jam sessions – when you talk about it, women’s eyes light up. The more I talk about it, the more it reinforces how awesome Intuit is for me.”

Cheryl Ainoa, a vice president in the central technology organization, spent time at the booth between technical executive sessions. She offered jobs to multiple candidates the team couldn’t let get away empty-handed.

“The caliber and the quality of the talent is just amazing,” said Ainoa. “These women are doing part-time projects in things that we’re only talking about doing in some of our groups today. The passion and enthusiasm and just plain smarts of these women is really phenomenal.”

As important as it was to recruit top talent, representing Intuit at Grace Hopper was also a profound experience for the team.

“I haven’t seen so many female technologists in one place at the same time,” said Lansing. “It’s very emotional. When I started, we didn’t have opportunities like this. I was the only woman in a team of 20 men who were all much older than me. I didn’t have any female role models in the technology space, and to see that we have grown as a community in the world to be able to have events like this. It’s overwhelming. I get goose bumps telling you.”

Karen Weiss

Karen, a former software engineer, helps Intuit's technical community get their point across and be understood. When she's not translating Geek to English, she spends her time as an active citizen of San Francisco and a sliding-scale philanthropist.

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