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Hackathons are renowned as a tool to get the attention of potential funders and to generate a slew of creative ideas for a start-up. If you’re intrigued by the idea of a collaborative marathon programming event either within your organization or among external partners, consider having a team manager involved in the planning and execution. Here are some key ways that a project manager can contribute: 1. Keeping things on track Most team managers are good at keeping the trains running on time, which is key when you’re trying to develop something cool within a limited timeframe. They also tend to be detail oriented, which makes them a natural fit during the testing phase. 2. Thinking about marketing While the developers are building, the project manager can help conceptualize the brand, write marketing copy, and pull together a presentation that makes a great idea into a seamless package. 3. Building excitement According to Klipathon, the team manager should ideally serve as a cheerleader who psyches up the team beforehand by facilitating idea generation and gathering needed resources, which will allow the momentum to carry through the hackathon itself. 4. Maintaining Best Practices During the session itself, the team manager can help keep a sharply defined scope, which is one of the best ways to ensure a successful product. One of the biggest mistakes managers and teams make is expecting too much from their first hackathon. But by having a team manager who can define the scope and set realistic expectations, you’re more likely to realize your team’s true capabilities.

No study of computer science is complete without a discussion of Charles Babbage and his early mechanical computers, the Difference Engine and the Analytical Engine. What is rarely touched upon, however, are the contributions made by Ada Lovelace, whom Babbage fondly referred to as his ‘Enchantress of Numbers’. While Babbage’s conceptualized — but never successful built — mechanical computing devices laid the groundwork for modern computers, Lovelace was the first to propose what we now call computer programming. While Babbage is generally credited with giving birth to computer science, it is Lovelace who created the soul of the machine. Ada Lovelace, or to use her formal name, Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace, was as unconventional as she was brilliant. Born on December 10, 1815 to famed poet Lord George Gordon Byron and Lady Anne Isabella Milbanke Byron, Lovelace showed an early aptitude for mathematics. This was encouraged by her mother, who was determined that Ada be nothing like her famously free-spirited, philandering father, who separated from her mother when Ada was only a few weeks old.  Ada never saw her father, who died in Greece when she was eight. Lovelace was given what was at the time considered a very unconventional upbringing for a lady of her social status. At a time when proper women were generally educated only in art, literature, and how to be the best dinner companion and wife, Lovelace was drilled in science and mathematics by a series of private tutors. Her mastery of mathematics opened doors in English society usually reserved for men. This led to the 17-year-old Ada winning an introduction to famed mathematician Babbage. The two quickly became inseparable, with Babbage assuming the role of mentor to his young protégé and took a role in helping him design his legendary computational machines. Lovelace earned her place in computer history when she was asked to translate an article on Babbage’s early analytical engine by Italian mathematician Luigi Federico Menabrea for a Swiss journal. Instead of simply translating Menabrea’s work, she added copious notes — more than three times as long as the original text — in which she laid the groundwork for computer programming. Lovelace described a method by which letters as well as numbers could be encoded and represented. She was the first to conceive the idea that a computer could be reprogrammed to perform an infinite number of varied tasks, limited only by the instructions it was given as well as a number of other ideas that have since become the bedrock on which computer programming is built. Sadly, Lovelace’s ground-breaking work, originally published in 1853 under the initials ‘A.L.’, received little attention when it was first published. It was largely forgotten until 1953, when author B.V. Bowden rediscovered her work and published it as Faster Than Thought: A Symposium on Digital Computing Machines. Ada Lovelace’s contributions to computer science has seen been memorialized by a number of organizations, including the U.S. Navy, who named a programming language ADA in her honor in 1980. Her contributions are also recognized each year during Ada Lovelace Day. ALD, a celebration of women in science, technology, engineering and science, was first celebrated in 2009. This year’s ALD will be celebrated on October 11. Contact us for more information on the pioneering women of technology of yesterday and today.

When you are thinking about developing your hackathon team, you might just consider the technical members such as your developers and designers. That would be a mistake. There is more than the formal product that goes into winning a hackathon. Making the product is merely the first step.

Time Management

Hackathons are often done under strict time limits. These are deadlines that you will not be able to extend so it is important to have everything done by the end. Your non-technical teammate will serve as a leader who will coordinate everyone so that you will make sure you are making the progress that you need to make.


The product is only worth what you will be able to show it’s worth. An article from Hackernoon references the importance of marketing your product during the hackathon stage. They wrote that one time during their hackathon a product was only in concept stage. However, the team had advertised so much that the audience for their product was clearly there. That team ended up winning.


Another avenue to consider when it comes to forming your team is the final presentation. The difference between a good and bad presentation can be the deciding factor for your success or failure. Imagine if an essential feature of what you produced in the hackathon was left out of your presentation. This would lead to confusion about what your product is capable of. Zoheb Davar recounted a blog for Medium of his hackathon success that was partly due to his ability to present his team’s product.


Blog, Diversity & Inclusion


Women and non-binary hackers tackle harassment, equal pay, hygiene and homelessness

San Jose, CA: Hackers turned activism into action this past weekend at a new hackathon for women and non-binary folks. With only a weekend to build their projects, the teams in the inaugural Hack The Patriarchy hackathon went after some of the biggest problems facing women and marginalized communities – sexual harassment and abuse, workplace equality and HR, finding positive news in an aggressive media landscape, women’s health and hygiene, and helping the homeless.

The free hackathon received more than 110 applications and accepted 82 registrations. 58 people attended over the course of the weekend. Five teams with 23 team members made it through to the final presentations. The Grand Prize was won by Tusker App, which uses AI to identify and flag verbal abuse, discrimination, or harassment. The People’s Choice Prize was won by Help. (“Help Period”), a peer-to-peer app that helps women — including homeless women — who need tampons or pads in an emergency.

Julie Ramirez from the County of Santa Clara Office of Women’s Policy says, “It’s exciting to see so many women working on apps that have a direct positive impact on the lives of other women in need. What drives their work is the overwhelming desire to help others. Hack The Patriarchy creates a safe space for women and gender non-conforming individuals to bring their tech skills together to improve our community. The Office of Women’s Policy is proud to partner on this endeavor.”

Diana Solatan from Women Who Code worked with teams as a mentor during the hackathon. She says that there is less of a corporate feel to this event than most hackathons. “Everyone was focused on solving a real social issue. At other hackathons, you can see that people have their own agendas, whether it be to win a prize, to get a job, to find a co-founder, but here, everyone’s agenda was to make the world a more inclusive place.”

Eva Helén, CEO of Epiquette and one of the competition judges, also noticed the different vibe. “The atmosphere and energy in the room was focused and full of anticipation. Kali had encouraged the ideas to flow and the teams were working hard on projects that could solve ‘real world’ challenges. I was impressed by their creativity and their ambition to make a difference.”

According to Kali Williams, founder of the event, “We wanted to provide a safe and supportive environment where the attendees could work on problems that matter to them without the negative distractions you typically get as a woman at a hackathon. The response we’ve had from the hackers here is a resounding ‘yes, please.’The inspiring products built this weekend demonstrate that women and non-binary hackers are more empowered than ever to create amazing things when they have a room of their own.”

Williams felt that a women-focused event was needed after competing in hackathons that did not feel friendly to women. “It’s not enough to get rid of the Nip Alerts, the beer pong, and the coder odor. Hackathons are still heavily male-centric, with unhealthy food and uncomfortable environments, and they’re stressful and aggressively competitive. We plan to do mixed gender events with allies welcome in future as well.”

The hackathon was held at the ActionSpot co-working space and incubator in San Jose. Teams competed for a prize pool worth more than $4000, including a $500 cash grand prize, Amazon Echo Dots and gift cards, a membership to ActionSpot, and the chance to pitch to investors and join the incubator program.

“We all talk about diversity,” says ActionSpot’s co-founder and CEO, Olga Buchonina, “but this hackathon acts on it. It’s focused on doing social good and impacting lives, and moving from words to actions. I love it when we use our professional skills and create true impact.”

The hackathon attracted strong support for a first-time community event. In addition to ActionSpot, the event was also supported by sponsors Yelp, Slack, Balsamiq, and NumFocus, with swag donated by Linode and “I didn’t think we’d be able to attract commercial support as a first-time women-focused tech event,” says Williams, “but it is a testament to the commitment of these companies to diversity and supporting women and non-gender conforming folks that they got on board when this was just an idea.”  

Workshops and panels were held in the weeks leading up to the event, rather than during the hackathon itself, to reduce stress, give participants more time to focus during the hack, and provide an opportunity to meet potential teammates:

  • Data Science workshop held in partnership with NumFocus at the University of San Francisco Data Institute
  • API Workshop run by Bear Douglas, the Developer Advocacy Lead at Slack, who was previously at Twitter and Facebook
  • Founder Mixer Panel: featuring Guadalupe Rodriguez from Planned Parenthood; Carla Collins from Santa Clara County Office of Women’s Policy; Kelly Jenkins-Pultz from the San Francisco Women’s Bureau; Ruth Silver Taube from the Santa Clara University School of Law; and Aly Sheppard from Caminar, a mental health non-profit

The winning projects are:

  • Tusker App: an App that listens to conversations for “the elephant in the room” and uses AI to identify and flag verbal abuse, discrimination, or harassment, using sentiment analysis and natural language processing (Grand Prize Winner).
  • Help. (“Help Period”): a peer-to-peer app that provides a platform for empowering women to help other women in their times (of the month) of need. The App is designed to help women who need tampons or pads in an emergency, and to facilitate donations of hygiene and sanitary products to homeless women’s shelters (People’s Choice Award).
  • Choose Your Win: an interactive game to navigate issues that women face in the workplace and when job seeking, such as negotiating equal pay. Users user can play the game and navigate the recruitment and hiring process through their character (Most Original).
  • Athena: Your confidant in the workplace – an AI chatbot that collects experiences and provides training for appropriate behavior and reactions. It helps employees dealing with harassment and other issues to find information and coaching, and to navigate HR workplace processes (Best Chat Bot).
  • The Daily Reach: a news aggregator that features the accomplishments of women, trans, and non-binary people. In a world of negative news, this aggregator seeks out positive stories for marginalized communities (Most Positive Impact).

About Us: Hack the Patriarchy is a social impact hackathon where women and non-binary folks hack together in a safe and supportive environment to build projects that improve life for women and marginalized communities. Participants come from diverse backgrounds, ranging from first-timers to seasoned hackers, and form teams that include developers, designers, activists, marketers, and entrepreneurs. Teams have a weekend to build an initial product or prototype, and are supported with mentoring, resources, pre-event workshops, and training. Hack The Patriarchy is a mission-driven, not-for-profit community event founded to empower women and allies to take action and fix problems by hacking on solutions together.

Thank you to all of our sponsors: ActionSpot, Yelp, Slack, Balasamiq and NumFocus


Blog, Community

Guadalupe Rodríguez


Guadalupe Rodríguez is the Director of Public Affairs at both Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, the largest Planned Parenthood affiliate in the country, and Planned Parenthood Advocates Mar Monte. Previously, Lupe was the Program and Policy Director and interim Executive Director at ACCESS Women’s Health Justice.

Lupe served on the board of directors of Essential Access Health (formerly the California Family Health Council), and now chairs the board of ACCESS Women’s Health Justice. She is also the treasurer of the board of California Latinas for Reproductive Justice. She is serving her fifth year on the Santa Clara County Commission on the Status of Women, after serving four years as the Chair. She was recently elected to the board of the Silicon Valley Chapter of Democratic Activists for Women Now (DAWN) and the Community Advisory Board for the Center for Clinical Research at Stanford University.

In 2010, Lupe was honored with the ‘Generation Award for an Emerging Leader’ from the California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom, and she received the “40 Under 40” Health Care Leaders award by Silicon Valley Latino magazine in 2013. She has a BA in neurobiology from Harvard University.

Carla Collins


Since April 2017 Carla Collins has served as the Interim Director for the SCC Office of Women’s Policy. In this role, she oversees a $1.7 million-dollar budget and with a team five provides staff support to four county commissions and two task forces while implementing strategies to ensure that our local government is bringing a gender lens to policy and decision making, building the pipeline for women and girls leadership, and demanding equity.

Attention now is focused on 2018 – not just because of mid-term elections but also the 20th anniversary of the Office of Women’s Policy. To commemorate the past as we plan the future OWP is planning informational and inspiring events throughout the year and hopes to engage more community in policy briefings and trainings, launch the State of Women and Girls 2018 and host a County Women’s Caucus to inform our Public Policy Agenda. We encourage residents to sign up for our newsletter and Like us on Facebook!

A San Jose native, Carla’s long-standing commitment to community and work to advance women fuels her passion to continuously engage individuals and groups in the democratic process.

Kelly Jenkins-Pultz


Kelly Jenkins-Pultz is the Regional Administrator for the San Francisco Women’s Bureau office which serves the states of Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada.  She creates and delivers educational programs to advance women’s wages, job opportunities and benefits; and provides technical assistance to educators, business and community leaders about policies and programs to enhance women’s economic status.  


Kelly has expertise in the areas of equal pay, nontraditional jobs, workplace flexibility and working mothers.  She was the Women’s Bureau’s lead writer for the report, Fifty Years after the Equal Pay Act:  Assessing the Past, Taking Stock of the Future, issued by the National Equal Pay Task Force.  In the area of nontraditional jobs, she has initiated several interagency working groups on tradeswomen that are actively promoting new opportunities for women in apprenticeship and the trades throughout the region.  She is an active member of the San Diego Expanding Your Horizons Committee to promote career opportunities for women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  She also provides training to lead employers in the creation of healthy workplaces for working mothers and greater workplace flexibility for everyone.  


Prior to joining the Women’s Bureau, Kelly worked with nonprofit organizations and with elected officials at the municipal, state and federal levels of government.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Women’s Studies from the George Washington University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in English from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Ruth Silver Taube


Ruth Silver Taube is the Supervising Attorney of the Worker’s Rights Clinic at the Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center at Santa Clara University School of Law, Special Counsel to Legal Aid at Work, and an Adjunct Professor at Santa Clara University School of Law.  


She collaborates with the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California and the Filipino Bar Association to conduct legal clinics for monolingual Vietnamese American and Filipino clients and to screen for human trafficking.  She is Legal Services Chair of the South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking, a member of the South Bay Coalition’s Executive Board, an alternate delegate to the Santa Clara County’s Human Trafficking Commission, Coordinator of the Santa Clara County Wage Theft Coalition, and a founding member of the Bay Area Equal Pay Collaborative


After law school, Ms. Silver Taube served as a law clerk for the Honorable Ronald M. Whyte, District Court Judge for the Northern District of California, as a Federal Mediator at the EEOC, a panel mediator at the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, and a partner at the Law Office of Silver and Taube where she specialized in employment law and benefits.  Before law school, she was a journeywoman machinist, President of IAM Local 547, and a Field Representative for SEIU Local 535.  She also taught at Njala University College in Sierra Leone with the Canadian Peace Corps.


She received the Unsung Hero Award from the Santa Clara County Victim Support Network in 2013 for her workers’ rights and human trafficking work.  She was the keynote speaker at the Vietnamese American Bar Association’s dinner in 2013 and received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from Congresswoman Anna Eshoo for her efforts to provide legal services to the Vietnamese American community.   In 2016, she received the Pro Bono Recognition Award from the Santa Clara County Bar Association.


She is a graduate of the University of Michigan (B.A. with high distinction, Phi Beta Kappa); the University of California at Berkeley (M.A.); and Santa Clara University School of Law (summa cum laude).   


Aly Sheppard


Aly Sheppard ​brings an analytical mindset to sales and marketing in the biotech and mental health sectors.​

​From pharmaceutical sales to program modeling, Aly uses her experience in experimental design to trouble-shoot and find data-driven solutions. Aly currently works as a ​Grants Coordinator at Caminar, a mental health nonprofit. Her priorities include analyzing and communicating the impact of Caminar’s programs while growing the nonprofit’s grant portfolio.​


Aly holds a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology​, and she is always looking for new ways to learn.

Moderator – Kali Williams, Founder of Hack the Patriarchy

Kali created Hack the Patriarchy after attending a few hackathons and seeing that there is still a pretty low presence of women. As a feminist and a long time advocate for women, she saw a possibility to create a space that put women and underrepresented folks at the forefront of tech while focusing on projects that can make tremendous real world social impact.


Blog, Diversity & Inclusion
Paradigm for Parity is a women-led effort to increase organizational recruitment, sponsorship, and mentoring for women executives. Founded by three women: Jewelle Bickford, partner at Evercore Wealth Management; Sandra Beach Lin, former president and CEO of Calisolar; Ellen Kullman, former CEO of Dupont, the goals of the group are to provide thought leadership and an actionable roadmap for change regarding issues of gender parity among senior leadership. 19% of the top executives in corporate America are women. Gender parity in the workplace has been discussed informally and among networking groups, and in the popular media. But working for change on an organizational level has been problematic. Paradigm for Parity has partnered with 27 companies who have publicly agreed to address gender parity as an organizational goal, and to use Paradigm for Parity’s action plan. The action plan is critical, because the pieces all need to work together to accomplish the goal. The action plan includes the following:
  • Minimize or eliminate unconscious bias.
  • Significantly increase the number of women in senior operating roles.
  • Measure targets at every level and communicate progress and results regularly.
  • Base career progress on business results and performance, not presence.
  • Identify women of potential and give them sponsors and mentors.
A critical piece of an organizational goal for gender parity and other issues of diversity and inclusion among the workforce is transparency and communication about results. Sharing numbers internally about participation, promotion, recruitment, and other commonly measured metrics for diversity keeps this issue in the forefront, and measures progress. Paradigm for Parity hopes to have 50 companies agree to develop organizational goals for gender parity using their action plan by March, 2017. Some companies that have already committed to the plan are The Huffington Post, Cargill, Coca-Cola, LinkedIn, Nordstrom, and Bank of America.

Blog, Women In Tech

Jocelyn Leavitt and Samantha John look like they could be anyone’s best friend. With easy smiles, casual wear, and incredibly interesting stories, they’re the tech startup founders we’ve all been waiting for. Jocelyn is a self-proclaimed lover of the outdoors, and Samantha is a marathon runner who also taught herself to program.

These two brilliant women teamed up to create Hopscotch, a new programming language so simple, even kids could use it. In fact, children were exactly the demographic that they had in mind when they founded the startup. Their mission is to teach kids to program from a very young age through interactive and fun ways. With a simple drag and drop system, they can make their own mini-games, drawings, animations, websites, and more. Through play, they intuitively learn the core fundamentals of programming that are further developed later on. What’s best, this is the first programming language that is mobile-friendly, so kids can use it on their tablets and smartphones.

It’s difficult to underestimate the power of this startup. Not only is it making programming accessible to children, it is also bringing women into the forefront of the tech startup scene. With numerous awards and recognitions, they are breaking the mold of what successful entrepreneurs look like, and setting an example of professional women being awesome. Perhaps more importantly, however, they are also sending a message to children that programming isn’t a “boys only” club, and that women have a lot to offer in the tech industry.


Blog, Community

We all carry cellphones now. We can take pictures and videos of incidents as they occur in real-time. Facebook can be used to spread the word about a protest or event. Digital technology can be used to shape public opinion. For example, people in China use the service Weibo to get their news outside of what’s allowed in their country. While censorship does still happen, they get creative with misspellings and symbols to convey their news or message across.

A big activism website that uses technology is Electronic Frontier Foundation. They provide articles on causes and rights being violated, incidents occurring that are not being reported in the mainstream media, and even provide you with tools for protection on the internet. is another website that uses technology to advance changes by letting people create petitions on political issues they are passionate about. They can then share their petition among all social media platforms for a call to action. You can start signing a few petitions right now by going to

Technology is also used for grassroots movements such as the 2008 election of President Obama. Micro-donations through PayPal and other services allowed people donate small amounts to fund his campaign. The website was created during this, and because of the low overhead, can succeed in raising small amounts of money from many people. They do not have to rely on door-to-door petitioning or flyers and mailers to get people to donate. It’s all done on the internet. 

The way we do activism today is different from two decades ago. However, it doesn’t mean we still don’t use those methods. We just have a new advantage in technology in helping us bring together more people.


Blog, Tech History
One of the most critical driving forces behind the exploding popularity of personal computers was the development of the modern icon-driven user interface. The move from cryptic text-based interfaces to human-centric, graphical user interfaces was the fire that lit the fuse for the desktop computer revolution and for the multitude of digital devices that have followed. Much of this revolution was made possible through the work of pioneering interface designer Susan Kare.

Kare, who has been called the ‘Betsy Ross of the Personal Computer’, is the artist behind the icons included in the original Macintosh OS. Working alongside Apple founder Steve Jobs in the early 1980s, Kare designed many of the common user interface icons and typography used in the first Macintosh computers. The Happy Mac icon that users saw on system startup, the moving watch, the paintbrush, the iconic Macintosh trashcan, the dreaded bomb icon – these and many, many others are the work of Kare.

Kare’s passion was to make the computer feel more like a friend than a machine, a passion which she later continued in her work with Microsoft. After leaving Apple following Job’s brief self-imposed exile from the company in 1985, Kare went on to design many of the iconic design elements for Windows. She was also responsible for many of the graphical elements in the original Microsoft Solitaire that was bundled with Windows. At the time of her work for Apple, computer interface design was in its infancy and the tools used were still primitive. Because of this, Kare did her design work using the same method used by video-game designers of the day – basically, laying the designs out pixel-by-pixel, by hand, on special graph paper.

Her original paper designs have since acquired jointly by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art, where they played a prominent role in the MoMA exhibition This is for Everyone: Design Experiments for the Common Good. Susan Kare’s work did not end with her designs for Apple and Microsoft. Today, she continues to offer her artistic skill through her design company, Susan Kare Graphic Design.

Her recent work can be seen in many of the digital ‘gifts’ offered by Facebook, including the ‘rubber ducky’, as well as on such high-profile sites as Paypal and Wired. An impressive portfolio of her work is available on her site. Steve Jobs and Apple may have given the world the Macintosh, but Susan Kare gave the Macintosh the personality it needed to be a success. Much of the early success of Apple – and the interface designs that have followed – was made possible by her pioneering work.