Can you introduce yourself? Who you are and what you do?
I’m Amanda Lopez. I sit on the board of directors for PDX WIT, but I’m very new to the board. I’m a Recruitment Analyst at Metro, a regional government organization. Something fun about me: I’m a Native Oregonian, born and raised in Hood River! I mostly grew up running around in pear, cherry and apple orchards in which some of my family worked and my grandparents had one of the first Mexican restaurants there, called Jose’s Taco House.
What’s your history in tech? How did you come to it and what makes you stay?
I got introduced to tech in a recruitment capacity at Columbia Sportswear, later working with a Global Aid organization, Mercy Corps and thru Ruby Receptionists - doing technical recruitment, though my duties often included much more than just recruiting! Everyone has tech positions across all sectors and across the world tech transcends. Which is why it is so important to make sure everyone has access to jobs in the tech industry. Equity and equal access is what drives my persistence in tech. I want everyone to have a chance to work in tech as much as they like, especially if that access has been denied in the past. I’m incredibly passionate about access to tech jobs especially for people of color, the LGBTQ community, women of color and women in general.
How did you get involved in the PDX WIT community?
I saw a need for more diverse spaces for women of color. There are so few women of color in tech and specifically in leadership. And I wanted to help change that ratio. In my experience, I’ve seen all these groups in tech all over Portland but rarely a space dedicated to women of color, and their experiences and communities. So I decided to stop whining about there being a lack and do something about it. We had hosted previous events at Ruby Receptionists where every interaction with PDXWIT had been amazing and event attendees always left with a smile on their face. I knew I could approach the organization with the idea of starting a more inclusive space. What I thought would be a once a year event has turned into a quarterly event that brings women of color together to learn, network and find their community in an industry that can feel isolating at times.
What duties do you perform as a member of the board?
Being on a leadership board is new for me and I recognize how much space there is for me to learn and grow. Right now, I mainly run the Women of Color in Tech events, and there’s no stopping there! I've also been helping create guidelines for the PDX WIT Slack and the the Slack D/I page to foster a protected space online when the community asked for it to be created. I’ve also started to dip my toes into the Scholarship program and definitely want to be more involved for the next rounds to come. Access and information are definitely passions of mine! It’s fun, seeing the way the scholarship program works, from where they get to go to the types of conferences members want to attend, it was really exciting to read thru all the applications and be part of the process and seeing all the possibilities of the program being a potential launchpad for someone.
What intrigues or excites you the most about what PDXWIT is doing?
Everything! I honestly love that PDX WIT continues to advocate for access for women in the tech space; one that is not always easy to navigate. Through Mentorships, lightning talks, scholarships, networking events and the speaker series there is so much support for women to say, “Yes, tech IS for me” or maybe it isn’t, but they can feel like they can be part of a tech centric community and take the first step. PDX WIT also gives its members opportunities to showcase the areas where they shine as experts and gives them a platform to showcase their skills. Our volunteers and employees blow me away with their dedication and passion for the mission. It fills my heart!
Do you have a personal motto or mantra? Something that helps you when you have something big that you want to do?
I don’t know if it’s so much a mantra, but I do have this thing about energy. Everything in the Universe is bound by energy! So I think it’s a little ridiculous, but I jump in the air three times. So it’s less words, and way more physical.
Any other projects, personal or professional that you’d like to share?
The next Women of Color in tech event will be on June 20th! Everyone is invited to attend and if you can’t make this one, look for our next one in the Fall!