April 25, 2022 Diversity & Access

Grace Hopper Needs a Bigger Posse

One of my UC Berkeley engineering graduate student classes on our final day (pre-COVID). Can you find me?

I teach engineering graduate students at UC Berkeley. I require teams to have at least one person of the opposite gender on each team. 

But we always have a few all male teams. There simply aren’t enough women in my classes to meet the requirement. 

My #1 student one year wrote the search algorithm for giphy yet was told by her boss she couldn’t have an engineering title because she didn’t have an engineering degree. She resolved to go to one of the top programs in the country to get her masters in engineering and graduated near the top of her class. 

She became a management consultant.

Two years ago, we held a talk at Grace Hopper with 600 women with technical backgrounds. Their number one challenge in making a leap to whatever their ‘next’ might be – a leadership position, starting a company, chasing a dream – was fear. Fear of failure. Fear that they would be discounted. Fear of instability. 

It felt easier to defer bold moves.

The path for women with technical backgrounds isn’t always clear or easy, but they face a unique moment of opportunity.

As work from home has become a new norm, it’s changed what’s possible for everyone. Add this on top of the widespread recognition of the importance of diverse teams and that the workforce now works differently, and more doors are open than ever before. 

Our goal for this year’s Seat @ the Table is to help more women with engineering backgrounds walk through them.

We’ll showcase women who have had wildly different paths–to engineering lead, to founder, to CEO, to building an app featured in an Apple keynote–and all started with engineering degrees. We’ll talk about how to just make the leap even when you don’t feel ready and discuss challenges they’ve overcome to get where they are.

We’re thrilled to announce this year’s remarkable speakers:

  • Helen Altshuler, CEO and Co-founder, EngFlow
  • Kimberly Bryant, Founder and CEO Black Girls CODE
  • Lauren Hasson, Founder DevelopHer and Engineering leader
  • Dr. Cynthia Maxwell, Director of Engineering, Netflix Animation Studio

We’ve intentionally decided to keep the event virtual–a nod to the fact that it is the preference for some–and in the hopes that many from different geographies can join. As always, S@T is free and open to all.

We’d love to have you join us for the conversation.  How to Register

When: Thursday, June 2, 2022 at 3pm PT.



Written by



Martina Lauchengco