Diana Murakhovskaya & Irene Ryabaya - Geek Girl Rising
Diana Murakhovskaya & Irene Ryabaya

Diana Murakhovskaya & Irene Ryabaya


“Don’t be afraid to fail or make mistakes. It’s all a learning process.”

Who or what inspired your career in tech? How so?
On a hill on Borneo, Malaysia we decided to start a business together and gave ourselves 30 days to figure out what that company would be.   After going through all the ideas we’ve ever had, the one that resonated most was building a friending app for women. This became Monarq.  The first validation for us came from our combined gut. Every time we shared the idea with other women, the response was overwhelming with strangers telling us “This is necessary.” We knew we found a huge problem and that solving that problem would be rewarding and fulfilling in ways our former finance jobs could never be.  

What’s been your best hack ever?
Not going on the startup journey alone.  It was important for us to work together and not fall into the trap that many companies have with one head.  The power of collaboration has lead us to make tricky decisions quickly and confidently.  Having someone to bounce ideas off and to help you shape your thoughts and sentences has helped us get much further in less time than we ever imagined.

What has been your greatest career challenge and how have you handled it?
For both of us it has been transitioning from a very structured corporate world to a startup life where every day and every hour is entirely your own.  Having each other helped us be able to take it head on, to celebrate our successes together and be there for each other when things get a bit off script.  We take every day as a new and exciting opportunity to learn something we didn’t know before.

What is your biggest career success to date?
Creating a company and community from just the desire to start something.  We’re also really proud of the work we have done with our all women hackathons SheHacksNYC/SheHacksAZ that have led us to bring together some incredible women. It has been really rewarding for us to be a conduit for these women bringing their ideas to life and working together to show the world what they can create in a very short time.

What are the top 3 pieces of advice you would give to women who are starting out in the tech industry?
• Don’t be afraid to fail or make mistakes. It’s all a learning process.
• Ask for help. It doesn’t make you weaker, it makes your bonds with other terrific people stronger
• Always be expanding the universe of people that you know

Who are your role models?
All the amazing women startup founders who we have met along the way who have shared their stories, successes and struggles with us.  This community of badass women has been incredibly supportive and has helped us out countless times.  

If you could go back in time, what’s one tip you’d give your teenage self?
Start coding early!Just studying in college is not enough because your coursework will make little impact on your career path so get out and meet the people who WILL make a difference. Everything happens for a reason to get you to where you are supposed to be so don’t stress out when things don’t go as planned.

What do you do when you’re not kicking butt at work?
Traveling, eating, hiking, rock climbing, napping, and spending what little time we have left with our friends and family

Flats, heels or kicks?
Fancy flats for running around NYC from meetings to events

Best career advice book?
For us, conversations with real people have been more inspirational, personal and relatable than anything we’ve ever read in books.  We try to find subject matter experts when we need advice and ask them for coffee or lunch and we have been incredibly fortunate to spend time with some seriously kick ass people. Just ask and you’d be surprised who says yes!

Who are the women in tech that you most admire and why?
We try to stay away from the typical “idol worship” that plagues our industry so it’s been the women that we have met that are paving the way and working on their own companies.  We especially admire those early stage founders that are just taking that leap and going for it despite having been repeatedly told NO.