Meet Andrew Brennwald
About a year ago, my brother came out with the long-hidden intention to become my sister. Over the past year I watched and heard about her transition and the hoops she had to jump through for basic acceptance. Since then, I have become fully aware of diversity issues facing all kinds of minorities in many industries, especially STEM fields.
I attended Epicodus and got exposed to more and more perspectives surrounding gender issues, specifically in the tech realm. Something needed to be done and I wanted to help. I started a little mentoring in my spare time, but I eventually wanted to be part of something bigger. In June of this year, I went to the PDXWIT networking event at Vadio. I decided to join the Mentorship Program, and the rest is history.
I've gained so much more understanding about the industry at large and the cultural challenges it faces. I've met amazing and inspiring women from all corners of tech. There is an energy in this group that I just haven't found in other tech groups in town - I've channeled that energy into my own life to great effect. I've become a better listener and gained many helpful skills to contribute to inclusive cultures in my own spaces.
I am proud to say I am a part of the PDXWIT Mentorship Program and the Event Experience team. I've been mentoring various demographics for years now. Helping women thrive in the tech industry is a fulfilling place for me to be. I'm also an extrovert through and through, so helping people feel welcome at the events is a natural fit. In addition, I'm on a mission to attract more men to the cause so they can become informed and help move the dial closer to the kind of inclusion that we all want.
Some advice for the guys - really, all we want is a more diverse and inclusive industry. The benefits are clear and it's the right thing to do. It's not about stealing jobs or scorning men for some grave injustice, it's about rallying together and solving a problem that affects all of us.
If you approach someone here (PDXWIT) and ask how you can help, you will get a wealth of actionable information. The events are some of the most positive Meetup experiences I've had, and I can't recommend them enough.