I'm Allison Esposito Medina, founder of Tech Ladies, AMA ๐Ÿ”ฅ

Allison Esposito Medina
24 replies
I'm Allison Esposito Medina. I founded a bootstrapped community and business called Tech Ladies in 2016, which has since grown to 50,000 members. We help women find jobs in tech, accelerate their careers, and support each other. Before this, I worked in marketing and product at Foursquare, at a startup called Oyster, and at Google. I'm passionate about turning side projects into a full-time jobs, working remotely, bootstrapping, community, and diversity and inclusion in tech.


Aaron O'Leary
Hi Allison! Thanks for joining us, big fan of what you do. I'm curious, what was the biggest challenge to growing Tech Ladies at the beginning and how did you overcome this?
Allison Esposito Medina
@aaronoleary Hi Aaron! The biggest challenge in the very beginning was just figuring out how to stay focused since there are SO many things this community needs and wants. For our group in particular, the three biggest things that emerged were 1) jobs 2) paid membership and 3) webinars/opportunities to learn/advance their careers. Once we figured that out the challenge was (and remains) staying focused!
Thank you for doing this AMA @techladyallison ๐Ÿ™Œ I'm curious what effective strategies you've used to drive traffic to Tech Ladies from social media and what strategies you plan on using to grow social media as a channel ๐Ÿš€
Allison Esposito Medina
@amrith Hi Amrith! We have a very active Facebook group with 30,000+ members, and that's our biggest lift on social to this day, and a lot of people *still* find us through Facebook. We have spent years building the community there, providing support and just generally being a resource for women and nonbinary people in tech. We have also spent a lot of time building up our Instagram following to 40k followers, which is a LOT of work. Shout out to Bre Thomas on our team who is our social genius and Hannah Levy and Madeline Cobb who run our Facebook groups. We're pretty quiet on Twitter and other accounts because we're just a super small team and you can't do everything :)
Michael Wehar
I'm am very supportive of side projects and I run a small side project community. But, I don't know much about successfully turning a side project into a fulltime job. What are some examples of side projects that you've personally seen makers turn into full-time jobs and what are some sanity questions someone could ask themselves to help determine if they are ready to make this jump? Any thoughts are greatly appreciated. Thank you. :)
Allison Esposito Medina
@mwehar Hi Michael! Great question. Tech Ladies started as a side project and it became clear that it was growing faster than I could keep up with on nights/weekends. I always tell people to let your business/side project tell YOU when it's ready to go full-time. It will be come obvious because you'll find yourself turning down customers or opportunities and that will feel right. It's also a little safer to do it this way since you can test the waters before going all in on an idea that might not pan out.
Onkar Lal Janwa
Hi @techladyallison I am curious to know what was your moment when you decided to leave your Job and start your own business?
Allison Esposito Medina
@onkarjanwa Hi Onkar. Thanks for this question. For me, it was because Tech Ladies was so busy and I couldn't keep up with the growth working just nights/weekends. That made the leap a lot easier. But I also think deep down I always knew I had a business inside of me that I wanted to start, I just didn't know what it would be, so when it started growing I was like "this is it".
One of the best, if not THE BEST communities for women in tech. I have very high standards given that I've been building successful communities/platforms my whole life. Incredibly supportive and engaged tribe. Love being a part of it! Thank you, @techladyallison for starting it!!
Kate Callahan
Hi Allison! Curious to know, what are some of the ways you would like to see Tech Ladies expand in the future? Any new initiatives that you're excited about coming up?
Allison Esposito Medina
@kateacallahan Hi Kate, thanks for this question. For us, 2020 is mostly going to be about focusing on helping even more companies hire even more women and nb people in tech as well as continuing to improve our Founding Membership program. We have some things we *may* ship later in the year, but we're going to spend at least the first 6 months just working on what works and making it even better!
Angela Jeffrey
Hey @techladyallison! I have three questions for you! 1. What makes you passionate about remote work and what skills and strategies does Tech Ladies use to maintain a happy remote work place? 2. Based on your insight into women in tech, what would you say is the number one impediment women face as they build and progress in their careers. 3. Finally, what's the main thing you think I (as a woman in tech) could do to most effectively help and support other women / non binary people in tech? What could men in tech do better to be allies?
Allison Esposito Medina
@angela_jeffrey Hi Angela. Thanks! 1) Remote work can be really, really hard, but the pluses are so great, depending on what your values are. We don't use "always on" communication, like Slack (great product but not for us), and instead we schedule emails to arrive during work hours whenever possible. That helps a lot! I've also learned how to end my day at a normal time + take weekends off! That has taken me 3 years to get to though! 2) I think the biggest thing holding women back in tech is not being hired, paid, or promoted at the same rate as men. We can still break through, but we have a long way to go. 3) As women, we need to take whatever is given to us, and pass it around to women next to us who aren't getting the same opportunities. This is especially important for white women to do things like pass the mic, nominate a woman of color for a promotion, refer her to important people, make strategic introductions. Basically, whatever you can do to use your power to uplift other women, especially those who are really shut out of this industry, the better. Men can do the same, they can follow more women's work, promote it, help advocate for women on their team to be recognized/paid fairly, and share their network and salary info so women know what they have access to.
Vanessa Colina
Hi @techladyallison. Thank you for doing this! Iโ€™m curious to know about the business model. Would you be open to share: How Tech Ladies generates profits to sustain itself today and how the business model has changed since starting out. Were you profitable when you quit your job and focused on the business? Iโ€™m building a service for the UX community to find jobs and accelerate their career, thus Iโ€™m interested in your lessons learned around business generation. Thank you again :)
Allison Esposito Medina
@vcolinau Hi Vanessa! Sure, from the beginning we focused mostly on hiring (connecting companies with Tech Ladies and vice versa) and our paid community (Founding Membership) over the years we have experimented with other revenue streams (coaching, webinars, events, conferences, etc) and have learned a lot by doing small tests for each. It's best to put something out there, see if it picks up steam and if not, figure out what does and that becomes your core business. Good luck!
Christine K.
Hi Allison, how do you keep the fire going as a self starter? Where do you get your inspiration?
Allison Esposito Medina
@christinekahn1 Hi Christine! For me a lot of inspiration comes from the community itself. If I am having a bad day, but then I see that members of Tech Ladies are finding a job, negotiating a higher salary, making a new friend/connection, I get so excited to keep working and keep building. Having a mission that means a lot to me is what keeps me going even when the company part is hard-- which is all the time when you run a company!
Christine K.
@techladyallison thatโ€™s awesome. Iโ€™m so thankful the TechLadies community exists. It has been a great place for me to get timely feedback.
Kimberly Wolfson
Hi Allison! Congrats on the success of your community. I have started a similar initiative in the fintech space called WIFI, which stands for Women in FinTech Initiative. I'd love to connect with you directly and see how we can collaborate and provide some value.