Blogs » Official Blog » Community » A Recap of Our Women In Tech Meetup & Panel: “Can I Succeed in Tech Without Being a ‘Bossypants’?”

We had a FABULOUS turnout and want to give a big THANK YOU to all those who were able to attend our sold-out event “Can I Succeed In Tech Without Being a ‘Bossypants’?’” this past Tuesday. We here at StumbleUpon were inspired to host this event to support the progress of women in the technology industry and answer questions the average professional women has on how to take their career to the next level.

It was great mixing and mingling with all of you, enjoying the honest conversation around female leadership, influence and expectations in the workplace. We’ve captured some of our favorite quotes, tweets, photos and videos below to recap and recreate the night.

For those unable to attend, our panelists were:

The group provided an engaging flow of commentary filled with witty insights and thought-provoking remarks, elicited by our moderator, Liz Gannes, Senior Editor at AllThingsDigital. Check out our photos, write-up and video below in addition to this fun Storify break down, a user video and #SFbossypants tweets to relive the best moments from the night.


Before the doors even opened, the line had easily formed down the block and around the corner! 

Audrey and Adrian, members of our Community Team, helped check-in guests and hand out StumbleUpon swag.

Guests who arrived early received StumbleUpon totes, pins, stickers, water bottles and more!

Guests enjoyed some drinks and appetizers from StumbleUpon while networking before the panel segment of the night.

StumbleUpon employees came out to support the event and engage with the panel.

“SU #SFbossypants” and “1337 GURL” pins were available for all our techy female guests.

Girls in Tech was one of our co-sponsors for the event.

The crowd filled both rooms at the gallery space, eagerly awaiting advice from our panelists.

There was some great live tweeting during and after the event captured by the hashtag #SFbossypants – make sure to check it out for some great quotes and photos of the night!

From left to right, panelists Jesse Draper, Johanna Wright, Julia Hartz, Rashmi Sinha and Leila Janah were interviewed by reporter Liz Gannes, far right.

Post-panel, the speakers talked with young women to give them one-on-one advice and answer questions.

The inspiration for our topic: Tina Fey’s Bossypants book, signed by all of our panelists.

VIDEO: Want to hear it straight from them? Check out the video highlights and hear a segment of the panelists commentary from the night:

In general, our panelists were very positive on the outlook of the role of females in the workplace. Walking away from the event, ladies felt a new sense of empowerment had been given to them: put yourself out there, seek out mentors, and know your self-worth.

After openly endorsing and supporting Marissa Mayer’s move from Google to the position of Yahoo CEO, our panelists encouraged professional females to be aggressive in their careers. “Speak up; don’t be afraid to say something stupid. Put yourself in uncomfortable situations,” advised Jesse.

Julia shared her own stories around breaking out and getting her voice heard in meetings. She pushed females: “Don’t swallow your thoughts. Speak up.” In agreement, Rashmi said, “The world responds when you’re direct and clear and strong.”

When it comes to moving forward in their own careers, our panelists were fortunate enough to not see a lot of cattiness between women coworkers in their industry. Johanna remarked that it was rare to see other women in tech, and as a result competition between females was minimal. Rashmi, looking past the gender divide, pointed out, “Is it such a problem that women compete with each other? Men compete with each other too.” Interesting food for thought.

Look to other professionals to act as mentors as a logical step in your career, they advised. “Asking is the hardest part,” pointed out Leila, “once you’ve done that you’re 80% of the way there.”

The conversation also touched on the difficulty of balancing a family and your job, with Julia noting, “You expect excellence, but you accept ‘pretty good’” when it comes to finding someone to enable you to balance both roles. When it comes down to the ultimate goal of “having it all,” Rashmi pointed out that, she wasn’t sure if you could have it all, but you can have the things you really care about.

The panelists stressed the point of knowing your own worth as an employee, not just as a female. “Do your research – know what those in your field make and frame your salary in terms of your market worth,” advised Rashmi. Julia encouraged females to use data to make your case in regards to salary increases.

I think Rashmi may have summed up the essence of the night best when she said, “Be really, really good at what you do. Be awesome at that and don’t be afraid to push back.”

/Sarah profile picture