When I first joined the tech industry, I was unaware of the lack of diversity in the space—particularly the small number of women in tech. During my time at AdRoll, I have had the amazing opportunity to meet and work with some of the most intelligent, creative, confident women in my career. I created this blog series, Tech Women of AdRoll, to not only celebrate the diversity of women across AdRoll (BI, Engineering, Product Management), but to also acknowledge their diversity of backgrounds, viewpoints, and experiences. We had Nitasha Syed, creator and writer of the blog series Women of Stem, sit down with the women of AdRoll to better understand their backgrounds. These women are engineers, politicians, accountants, humanitarians, and even tattoo artists, who all found their way into STEM careers. Read below to discover their unique and inspirational stories:

Corey Shott
I have a bit of a different path to STEM. My aunt was a biologist so I spent a lot of time working with her—picturing myself growing up to become Dana Scully from the X-Files. In my senior year of high school, I started taking more government classes and learning how to formulate arguments.  I felt like science was just a lot of memorization. It made me feel like I was digesting information rather than learning it, which is why my focus shifted to political science.  I worked as a lobbyist for an environmental learning group for many years. I spent a lot of my time talking to people in broad strokes, trying to convince politicians to vote a certain way. After years of being in politics, I felt like my career wasn’t challenging enough for me anymore and I decided to enroll in a woman’s only coding camp. Coding gave me the ability to start challenging myself again. I feel that people like me who comes from a different professional background have a leg up in the tech field because we have a different perspective than someone with a CS degree.

To me, the problems women face in tech are the same ones they face in politics. You have to be able to speak up for yourself and find people who are willing to speak up for you. No matter what career path you’re in, you still face men who try and take credit for your ideas. I never thought I would be working in the ad tech space. But, here I am and I feel lucky to be working with such great people. The key is to not be afraid to try different things. You don’t have to know at 18 or even 30 what you want to do for the rest of your life. It’s important to try lots of things because you never know where life will take you.

Truc Nguyen

When you’re in high school, it’s hard to know what kinds of opportunities are out there. If you look at the toy section at stores, all the girl’s toys are dolls—or something else a bit frivolous—and the boy toys are building sets or robots. That kind of stereotyping can lead girls to believe that building or engineering is a male-centric activity when it can really be for anyone. This is why I think young girls need to be exposed to problem solving early on.

For me, it was always challenging trying to figure out how to come in contact with many different lines of work when I didn’t even know what I was looking for. I knew I wanted to enter a career where I could help people in some way. I was always curious about the scientific method and uncovering new truths about the world we live in. I thought I would end up being a researcher or biologist of some sort. I was always drawn to psychology and human behavior which is why I took a lot of cognitive science and psych classes in college. However, when I learned there were UX design and human/computer interaction courses something just clicked for me. I was able to combine my interests of technology and human behavior. I think most people have the preconceived notion that with a CS degree all you do is sit in front of the computer and code. That’s not true. A lot of my work is collaborative and I get to chat with engineers, project managers, and product managers all the time. Being in technology gives me the ability to make an impact. You can create a product, ship it, and, depending on what vertical of technology you’re in, you have the ability to touch the lives of millions of people around the world—and that is incredibly empowering.

Annabelle Thaddeus

This time last year I was working in an accounting department at an oil company in Texas. I had studied economics at a liberal arts school in Tennessee. After talking to people who had joined coding boot camps and eventually moved to the Bay Area for work, I decided to follow suit. It was an intimidating world to me. The imposter syndrome can feel very real and sometimes I still feel it. I was never encouraged to take any CS classes growing up, so everything was new to me. However, it’s getting better.

I talked to women who work as software engineers, and even a few male friends that face the same issues, and that’s been extremely helpful. Currently, I’m able to use my accounting skills by working as a software engineer on AdRoll’s billing system. I am blessed to have people in my life who enjoy what they do every day and enable themselves to make a difference. Outside of college, you don’t have structured changes in your life anymore. So, watching people who were once unhappy make changes in their lives and become happy again has been very inspirational.

If you would like to learn more about our tech culture and tech team, check us out at tech.adroll.com. If you would like to learn about all current open roles by location, check out our job board at www.adroll.com/about/careers/open-positions.