Gender Equity x Tech Panel

January 23, 2024


On Tuesday, January 23, 2024, The Galant Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Forge co-hosted a panel discussion on Gender Equity x Tech at the UVA McIntire School of Commerce.  The panel featured Esther Bobbin, Director of Operations at Rho Impact, Melissa Phillips, Software Engineering Manager at CCRi, Claire Maiers, Group VP of Research at Willow Tree, and Jacqueline Chao, a fourth-year student who completed the Launch Data program via Forge.  Considering the speakers’ distinctive career journeys and functions in the industry, along with the current student’s perspective, the panel provided a unique glimpse into the tech leadership landscape at different career stages. Topics touched on breaking into software development, mastering the art of salary negotiation, networking, and the soft and technical skills required to succeed.

Amanda Coombs, Executive Director of Forge, moderated the panel and began the event by discussing the current state of gender equity in the workforce. Coombs described how now, women face obstacles at every stage of their career, including the broken rung, the motherhood penalty, and various microaggressions. During the moderated question and answer period, panelists were able to also touch on challenges that exist for those reentering the workforce, including the need to create a strong community of allies, avoiding imposter syndrome, and more.

​Forge is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that prepares students with the modern skills they need to make an impact in the world. Each year, students learn software engineering, marketing, and data science through our fun, engaging programs. We strive to empower students to realize their own potential while creating opportunities for them to make an impact for good. In turn, we provide talent to 200+ tech companies, startups, and nonprofits across the country.  More about Forge →

The Galant Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UVA McIntire encourages, educates, and empowers students—past and present—to take on roles in the startup community that create positive impact and lasting value in the global marketplace.  Founded in 2008 with funding by Mark E. Galant (McIntire ’80), the Galant Center hosts speaker events and leads extracurricular entrepreneurial initiatives including “The Galant Challenge” — a “Shark Tank” style pitch fest open to any members of the University of Virginia community (students, alumni, faculty, and staff) that are co-founders or members of the management team of the applying startup. More about The Galant Center →

Submit your pitch to the 2024 Galant Challenge before March 8!

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