Laura is a designer and developer and the former organizer of Rails Girls Summer of Code — a 3-
month scholarship program to support women in the Open Source community. With a
background in the visual arts and a non-traditional career path, she landed in tech as a web
developer somewhat by accident. Laura is passionate about Taekwondo, making things, open
source software, feminism, music and space (as in rockets).
Laura attended a Rails Girls event in Vienna in 2013. Rails Girls is a distributed initiative around the world to support women in making their first steps in programming learning the Ruby programming language. Even though she had built websites before (using html&css) and wanted to become a “web designer” when she was in high school, this was her first experience using Ruby and, most importantly, finding a local community of people who were as excited about building things as she were. Laura was interested in giving back, so she became a coach at other Rails Girls events around Europe (Brussels, The Hague, Milan to name a few) and volunteered for Rails Girls Summer of Code next to her programming job.
“One thing led to another and a couple of years later I found myself leading the RGSoC program. Along with this position came the responsibility to educate myself on diversity and inclusion and forced me to be more aware of issues beyond gender diversity. It was a great (and uncomfortable) experience for me because I got to lead a team of awesome volunteers and was learning something new at the same time.”
Fighting for a better internet
Because of Laura’s experience and background, fighting for a better internet to her primarily means to think about inclusion: How do we build communities that are healthy and supportive, where people from marginalized groups feel accepted? How do we educate developers, managers, and people in leadership positions to think about accessibility first rather than making it a “nice to have”? How do we create a sustainable system to support the open source projects we are all dependent on in our day-to-day work?
“These are super difficult questions because in some cases it means completely rethinking the
systems and communities we are a part of and evaluating whether they really work; it also means
that we need to make space for people to speak and amplify the voices of marginalized folks.”
“I’m currently taking a bit of a break to redirect my career away from management into design. I
hope to spend the next few months finishing the #DailyUI challenge — a 100-day design challenge which I started back in October and paused in mid-February”
There’s a few things Laura wants to start doing more of: writing, working on open source, collaborating with people; but she is not really sure what’s coming next, so our best bet is to follow her on Medium and twitter to stay up-to-date.
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On a typical work day, employees use countless different platforms and tools to get their tasks done. From taking a Zoom call, to emailing via Outlook to uploading files on Dropbox, before you know it you’re switching between different applications the entire work day. A Harvard Business Review study has coined this the “toggle tax” […]
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