By Masa Zokaei
Photos by SheidaKoufigar
Early in August, Persian Women in Tech was welcomed in Los Angeles for their first event in the city, a “Meet and Greet Brunch” with CEOs and engineers in tech, marketing, gaming, and other fields. Panelists at the event included Cam Kashani (CoFounder& CEO, COACCEL), BitaMilanian (SVP, Global Marketing, GENBAND / Kandy.io), Elizabeth Amini(CEO, Anti-AgingGames.com) Shirin Laor-RazSalemnia (Founder & CEO, PlayWerks, Founder, WhizGirls Academy) FarnazAzmoodeh (Director of Engineering, Snap Inc.). The panel was moderated by RadinRahimzadeh, a Smart City & Intelligent Transportation Systems consultant.
“When I started advising early stage startups, one thing missing was the presence of Iranian women,” PWIT founder SepidehNasiri said. “Somebody asked me if they could be introduced to an Iranian woman engineer, and I realized I didn’t know my own community.”
Nasiri then started Persian Women in Tech in San Francisco tobring the community together.
“This is just the first step,” Naisir said to attendees. “This event could be a way to connect with your community, or mentor someone, or help someone get a job. “
Google Software Engineer Siavash Dejgosha and support of PWT, helped host the event at the Google offices in Venice, CA on August 5. Dejgosha recently started an Iranian group within Google and encouraged event attendees to apply to the company.
Panelists were asked what they do to help women in tech.
FarnazAzmoodeh, who has been an engineer all her life, said, ” One thing that I can do in bringing more women in tech is constantly vouching for women in tech at my company. I make sure they have a seat at the table.”
“I’ve been working at bringing more women into the company, into the innovation process,” said BitaMilanian. who started her career twenty-one years ago in Toronto.
Cam Kashani answered, “I’m passionate about this conversation of helping women. Women are the missing link in bringing balance to companies.”
Elizabeth Amini, who also teaches at USC, said that she pushes women in her classes to speak up more. “I make sure at least 50% of my speakers are women.”
When asked what skills they predict will be the most valuable in the next few years of the changing industry of tech, Shirin Laor-RazSalemniasaid, “Coding I’m going to say is the most important. It’s constantly changing. It’s good for your brain to code. You just have to start.”
PWIT has plans to expand to six cities worldwide, including London and Vancouver.
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