Postmates Hosts First Event Celebrating Women in Tech
November 30, 2018
This November, Postmates hosted their first Girl Geek Dinner and it was the best #wcw (Woman Crush Wednesday) that anyone could have hoped for. Girl Geek Dinners are an informal organization that promotes women in the technology industry. Currently, Girl Geek boasts over 64 established chapters in 23 countries. Each chapter organizes local events featuring both female and male speakers with mostly female attendees. As the name suggests, it’s a Geek Dinner but with one significant rule: men only attend as invited guests of women, ensuring that women will never be outnumbered by men at events.
The esteemed Amrit Bhatti, veteran technical recruiter at Postmates, served as the moderator for the evening. Amrit, also a key organizer of this event, explained that the impetus for Postmates partnering with Girl Geek was inspired by her own experience,
“As a recruiter primarily focused on engineering, there is a massive problem in our industry: Not enough women.”
Amrit went on to introduce the panel she had handpicked for the evening, consisting of technical and non-technical roles alike with: Allie Morse(Director of Launch and Expansion, Growth,) Heather Pujals (Product Manager, Growth,) Sam Phillips (Product Manager, Fulfillment,) Christine Song (Software Engineer, Fulfillment,) and Bianca Curutan (iOS Engineer, Buyer.)
Allie Morse, Director of Launch and Expansion for new markets at Postmates, dove right into exploring the challenges of leading as a woman in a male dominated industry. Morse conveyed this by providing comical, yet poignant commentary on her search for presentable slides by typing the word “leadership” into the image sourcing site Stocksy.com. It only returned photos of white men. Even as a cursory image search, the results closely represent a disheartening reality that many women, if not all, relate to.
Following Allie, we heard from Heather Pujals, a veteran Product Manager for the Growth Team at Postmates. Female Product Managers in the tech space are unfortunately, rare. Pujals clearly demonstrated extensive knowledge of her craft and the projects she has accomplished. The presentation was thorough, exceptionally articulate, and engaging that was understandable even for those of us who are less tech savvy.
Christine Song followed Heather’s informative presentation. Some might say that Song’s presentation stole the night with its gravitas, depth, and self-awareness. Song, a philosophy major, explained that you can change your life if you believe in yourself. Song, now in her first career role as a software engineer, spoke with raw honesty about her journey of becoming one. The path she took was anything but typical. While working in a restaurant, Song began teaching herself how to code. Song disclosed her struggle with feelings of self-defeat while pursuing her new path,
“I thought to be an engineer you have to be good at math and you have to be male. I’m not male, nor am I good at math. I was a philosophy major.”
Song’s presentation was a deeply personal, and powerful story of what we can accomplish if we would just get out of our own way. It broke down the barriers of what an engineer looks like and exposed that engineering was a career that can be achieved by anyone regardless of background, gender, or former experience.
Further breaking down barriers in the tech space, Sam Phillips, Product Manager for both Postmates’ Merchant and Fleet teams, presented how she uses her technical skills to help those less fortunate than herself. FoodFight! is a Postmates created integration platform, led by Disney Petit. FoodFight! blossomed organically within Postmates by employees that wanted to use their knowledge to make a sustainable difference in the lives of others.
“Food waste is the world’s dumbest problem. We know that almost all of our merchant partners have excess food that gets thrown out at the end of the day. That food is viable and could be used in a more productive way.”
FoodFight! launched in mid-October as a platform integration within the Merchant dashboard that allows restaurants to “request a pick-up.” By requesting a pick-up, a Posmate is pinged (as they are with any other delivery,) except this time they pick up excess food and deliver the leftovers to nearby homeless shelters. FoodFight! has performed over 600+ deliveries since its inception and only continues to grow.
Bianca Curutan, an iOS engineer, closed out the evening. Though Curutan didn’t mention her gender often during the presentation, we got the feeling that working as a female mobile engineer is a badass accomplishment — and the crowd agreed.
The event concluded with an engaging Q&A section where an endless stream of questions were asked by audience members. This served in furthering and expanding the conversation, as well as the connection felt in the room.
Overall, the event was an inclusive success that celebrated every type of woman in every type of position. Those celebrating were the women themselves, but also the men who attended in support of them. To each of you who attended: THANK YOU! For those who missed out, the video is below. Stay tuned for more upcoming Postmates events celebrating Women In Tech.