Lauren Shanta

Tell us your story.

My *first* intro to digital was via BASIC coding on my Atari 400 and Prodigy dialup service, but I was never a serious hobby coder. Digital started as my career path in the mid 90's. I worked in the film industry doing standard off line jobs (casting, development), and was offered a job at a digital special effects company - and totally loved the tech. After a few years there, I moved east and worked at a start-up streaming video over dial-up, then went on to work on the very first Video@AOL. I moved away from video years ago, but I will always be grateful for the entrée it gave me into the wonderland that is tech.

What do you most want other women and young girls to know about being a woman in our digital culture?

What do I want them to know about working in digital? It totally rocks. Really. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

There are a million stories about the challenges of being a woman in tech, and while the challenges can be real, the upside is so 100% worth it. Technology is an ever changing, always fascinating space and I would encourage anyone, of any gender, to give it a shot. I would also encourage a broader view of what 'technology' or 'digital' means. It's not just writing programs, no matter what the popular media tells you. There is such a wealth of opportunity in the space, for a broad set of skills, that there is literally something for everyone here. Come join the party!

The Women in Tech campaign exists to help redefine what women in technology means in the 21st century. Started independently by a group of professional women who, after many impassioned discussions about women in tech knew we wanted to expand this definition beyond 'traditional' technology skills. To us, it includes most every current, emerging or evolving role within an organization. By featuring leaders and emerging leaders across industries who embody this we hope to collectively 'stand up', be proud of our place in the digital world and inspire young women or those new to the 'tech space' to get involved.