Sara Chipps is a JavaScript developer based in New York City. She has been working on Software and the Open Source Community since 2001. She’s been obsessed with hardware and has been a part of NodeBots since 2012. She is the CEO of Jewelbots, a company dedicated to drastically changing the number of girls entering STEM fields using hardware.



Conversing in 140 characters or less forces us to focus on what’s most important. It’s one of the great things about a Twitter Chat – it allows engaging dialogue with some really smart people doing some really amazing things in tech in a short amount of time.

And last week, I was lucky enough to do just that, participating in a Cisco Chat hosted by Cisco’s CSR team with Vicky Escarra, Global CEO of Opportunity International, and former Cisco Networking Academy student Diana Nassar. We spent the hour tweeting back and forth, discussing ways we can use technology to create more opportunities for women.

Not only did I participate, but I was also lucky enough to learn a few lessons from my peers!

We kicked the Cisco Chat off with a back-and-forth on what skills women need to be Global Problem Solvers. Rapid changes are happening in the workforce today, and we need people with the desire, knowledge, and skills to help others thrive around the world and solve the planet’s greatest issues.

Based on that, the comments around technical literacy, strong communication and focus rang true for me. We also discussed the theme of “grit” and “resilience” for women looking to start their careers in tech. Being a leader anywhere, and especially in this rapidly changing field, requires you not only know your stuff but that you’re able to adapt and change in real time.

We then touched on one of the key drivers to the success of business: incorporating diversity and inclusivity in organizations. Making a crucial decision to prioritize diversity in your management, as well as actively pursuing different applicants for entry level jobs and employment at every level of the organization is a good start. With that, conducting promotion analysis and pay analysis for gender, race, or ethnic biases is also important — the numbers don’t lie!

This segued nicely into talking about the digital revolution and its positive impact on the lives of women. This was a wonderful topic, and many of us made the point that new training tools and other digital self-led technologies create more opportunities for women in rural and underdeveloped areas, as well as for women juggling care duties.

The tools also provide access to education previously not accessible to earlier generations and are absolutely instrumental in creating a qualified pipeline of educated women into the workforce and leadership roles.

The final questions focused on mentorship and advice to others. Alaina Perceval’s response stuck with me. She said:

“Applaud the career successes of women (large and small) and champion your own successes.”

Championing other women and recognizing their successes is a fantastic motivator. However, it’s much harder to champion your own accomplishments. You can be you own worst enemy or your own biggest advocate; it’s up to you!

I never fail to be in awe of the amazing women near me along with ones I have never met before, and this International Women’s Day was no exception. I was so inspired by social media as many people shared the many women they respect and admire to celebrate the day. I hope this inspiration lasts 364 more.

Follow Cisco CSR on Twitter for even more on creating opportunities for women in tech!

This blog was created as part of a paid partnership. 


Austin Belisle

No Longer with Cisco