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Interview with Kamila Sidor - founder of @geek.girls.carrots

· Women in Tech,IT,women empowerment

It does not come as a surprise, that the number of jobs in computer, technology and engineering-related fields grows at a very high pace. The current industry gender gap is however immense.

We want you to meet Kamila - our #heroine_of_the_week, who recognized very early, that if women don’t participate in tech, they are losing the chance to influence the largest economic and social change of this century. Kamila brought to life a wonderful IT community @geek_girls_carrots.

Find out more about the Carrots and Kamila in her interview below.

Kamila, you have founded a women’s IT community in Poland which is now rapidly expanding to other European countries. Can you tell us how you first came to this idea, considering you are not from IT branch yourself?

Geek Girls Carrots has done projects in 33 cities, 15 countries, not only in Europe, but also in the US, Japan, Israel and South Korea. I am not a programmer but I use to works for a VC company. I am a small private investor in one tech startup, so I am from a business side of IT. The idea for Geek Girls Carrots was born when I was organizing the first Startup Weekend in Poland in 2011. Less than 10% (10 out of 120) of attendees were women and that sad fact gave a strong impulse to organize something for girls. Me and my project partner came up with the idea that a word “girl” should be in a name, so women wouldn’t have any excuse not to take part in those tech meetups. Our first meetup gathered 14 geek girls!

Your meet ups were success straight away, but how long did it take, till the project started bringing income?

After three years of crazy growth, organizing many meetups and workshops without salary we focus on plan for money. We have already known for what tech companies could pay and on what kind of conditions they could support us. Then we started attracting more money, but now after 5 years on market we still struggle with fundings. We cover our costs but for growth we need bigger budget.

What was your biggest challenge in the past year? How did you handle it?

Money is the biggest challenges of last years. Carrots Organizers are super efficient, creative and proactive. They change the world for better place for women. And having more funds could attract more talented people for management team which worked full time. We learn all the time how to do fundraising and we are trying new approaches.
A quite a big challenge is to understand our communities outside of Poland and Europe. It is the reason why our branches have a free hand in organizing Carrots communities but often we don’t fully get their culture and mentality. We work on it.

What is your most ambitious goal/dream for 2017?

For Geek Girls Carrots I have goal to make this community bigger, stronger and richer. We are looking for new talents to management team to build more efficient structure and hierarchy. I am convinced 2017 it is going to be interesting and challenging time for our community. Please keep your fingers crossed for Carrots!

Your story inspires us, who does inspire you?

Women who changed their careers, who learn how to code at their late twenties, thirties or sixties inspire me a lot. My family inspiration is a great-grandmother who at the age of 16 went alone to New York for better life and she achieved it. And you can!

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