Women in Technology: Jovana Teodorovic, A New Group in Seattle Tech

April 27, 2015 11:15 am PST | Data as a Service, Data Rockstars

Jovana Teodorovic, Socrata’s Head of Talent, is not hesitant to discuss the patterns she sees in recruiting. Recently featured on Seattle’s KING 5 segment “New Day,” Teodorovic joined as a panelist to discuss, “Women helping women, in the workplace and beyond.” While she demonstrates tremendous thought leadership surrounding the topic of women in technology, Teodorovic recently saw something missing in her industry. “While we have strong gender equality and diversity at Socrata, we want to hire more women into our sales team as well as senior leadership positions, which are traditionally male dominated.”

While recruiting female candidates for positions, Teodorovic was baffled by the lack of groups promoting non-technical women in the tech industry. As she increased her search for women in the non-technical field, Teodorovic sought to create an internal networking group of her own. She founded the Women of Socrata group. This group’s goal is to invest in a supportive community of women inside the company. “Before you can attract more women into your company, you first have to facilitate an internal environment which is attractive to women. We wanted to provide a really great community internally, which offered women a place where discuss current issues, get advice and mentorship, and have a network of other strong professional females to lean on.” The Women of Socrata hold monthly breakfasts and happy hours and invite influential business women to speak about hot topics in the tech industry.

Teodorovic and the Women of Socrata did not stop at monthly gatherings. The shared passion among many of the women in the company for women and communities culminated in the founding of Seattle’s newest networking group, Ladies in Seattle Technology, or LIST. “In our search for female talent we found that while there were a lot of places for technical women to meet, there was not a platform where women in non-tech roles in tech companies (eg. women selling technology, or women working in HR for a tech company etc) could come together. LIST is a group which provides an opportunity for females working in the tech industry to get together, network, lean on one and another and learn from each other, even if they are not coders or don’t have tech skills,” Teodorovic tells us. “This group will hopefully allow a place for both tech and non-tech female talent to meet, learn from one another, share skills and knowledge and grow from shared experiences. Maybe a Female Sales Rep will decide to become a Developer, or maybe a Female Engineer will decide to go into a non-technical role. This is a great place for women to meet and for tech companies to look for both technical and non-technical female talent. Our hope is that groups like this will help us increase diversity in a traditionally male dominated field.”

Clearly, other women in Seattle agreed. The response to LIST was more than the Women of Socrata could have hoped for. “We started a ‘meetup’ online after our first event and have almost 400 members already,” Teodorovic explains. “The goal is to have a different tech company in Pioneer Square and in the greater Seattle area host an event every month.” LIST’s first event consisted of invigorating lightning talks on topics like “Which PM Role is You” and “The Art of Selling Technology.” “I think the presentation topics were relatable, short, and dense in information so that the women who attended found them very valuable. They actually gave useful information and information the audience cared about.” Lightning talks will return by popular demand at LIST’s upcoming event. The platform of discussion Jovanna and the Women of Socrata were hoping for has unfolded well and already been found beneficial. “We have a lot more women interviewing, we’ve hired several female engineers and a female sales manager, but I expect bigger payoffs in the coming months as we build momentum.”

As LIST ramps up for their next event, be sure to sign up here. The theme is “Career Advice: What would you tell your 22-year-old self?” Bring a friend and participate in meaningful discussions with powerful, inspiring women. This event serves as a great chance to meet others in similar fields and play a part in Ladies in Seattle Tech movement.

Sign up for LIST’s next event at Moz Headquarter on Tuesday May 12, 2015 from 6-8pm.

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