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Meet Lauren Heeter

Many of you will recognize Lauren because she checks us in as we arrive at events. We wanted to know what was behind the warm welcome we all receive, so we decided to dig a little deeper.

How did you find out about PDXWIT?

I learned about PDXWIT through LinkedIn. The PDXWIT co-founder, Megan Bigelow, was linked to one of my connections and I saw an event she re-posted in early 2016, so I gave it a try!

I enjoyed going to these events so much that after about a year I started to look into volunteering. My first check-in event was in February of this year. It was so much fun that I immediately became hooked.

I've learned that I thrive when I’m engaged in strong female relationships. PDXWIT brings women together in a way I've never experienced before. I wish I could have accessed this kind of supportive network earlier in my career.

How did you end up in Tech?

After college I worked for Marriott in Hospitality Management, though after a few years I realized I needed a change. Apex Systems was one of the accounts I helped manage for downtown hotels. I’ve been with them for almost two years, and while I've certainly learned a lot about technology, I've also become more confident in my abilities. Apex’s strong female mentorship program has really helped advance my career.

Women need to know their worth, especially in this industry. It's important to show confidence during an interview and to negotiate the salary instead of accepting the first number they offer. Women do very well at arriving for interviews well prepared. Most have their resumes in hand, a notepad, and several questions for the interviewee. Showing confidence and going in prepared are elements of the hiring process you control!

You love exercising and are very conscious about healthy eating. What inspires you?

A few years ago I used to exercise after work, and I didn’t enjoy it at all. I got home too late without energy to cook up something healthy. When I switched to morning workouts, it was a total game-changer. It’s so important to discover when you have the most energy to be active.

My workout sets up my whole day for success. I also believe people neglect the importance of a good night's sleep. My close friends know I love to be asleep by 8pm most weeknights (no joke!). Consistency is also key for staying healthy. Try to stick to a routine Monday through Thursday, and you will start seeing great results. Also, get outside! A simple morning hike is one of my favorite activities because it’s so inspiring to be outdoors. We live in the most gorgeous state, so we should take advantage of it!

Given her role as a greeter at PDXWIT, we asked what advice Lauren has for new visitors:

I've been to several networking events in Portland — in fact, too many to count! But I think that's crucial in the beginning. You have to try several events and find the one that speaks to you. I have always enjoyed being around smart women, so when I first came to PDXWITI fell in love!

For first-time visitors at PDWIT I would suggest introducing yourself to as many new people as possible. Every single person at these events is looking to make a new connection — let that connection be you! My network has doubled in size since joining and now that I'm a volunteer I'm honored to be on the team that greets every new attendee.