Tracy Chou - Geek Girl Rising
Tracy Chou
Tracy Chou

Tracy Chou

Software Engineer

Founding member, Project Include

“For a while, I was seriously considering quitting the tech industry — some of it was lack of self confidence, and some of it was a lack of perspective on how to deal with the frustrations of being a female engineer in an environment that wasn’t particularly friendly towards female engineers. I learned to reach out and build out a network of supportive friends and colleagues in the industry, who helped me to build up my own confidence and give me that perspective I needed.”

Who or what inspired your career in tech?
Discovering that I could be a part of building the services that I use every day.

What’s been your best career or life “hack” ever?
This may or may not be a “hack”, but I’ve found that committing to working out every day has been really important for me to stay fresh and to keep some semblance of work/life balance.

TracyChouWhat has been your greatest career challenge and how have you handled it?  
For a while, I was seriously considering quitting the tech industry — some of it was lack of self confidence, and some of it was a lack of perspective on how to deal with the frustrations of being a female engineer in an environment that wasn’t particularly friendly towards female engineers. I learned to reach out and build out a network of supportive friends and colleagues in the industry, who helped me to build up my own confidence and give me that perspective I needed.

What is your biggest career success to date?
Kicking off the wave of diversity data disclosures amongst tech companies.

Who are your role models?
I don’t have role models in the traditional sense, but I try to find the good in all the people around me and emulate that.

If you could go back in time, what’s one tip you’d give your teenage self?  
Don’t get caught up in living out other people’s dreams. You have your own path to take and you’ll find success in your own ways.

What do you do when you’re not kicking butt at work?
I like staying active with yoga (heated vinyasa), climbing (bouldering), running, and sometimes also pilates and barre. I also read, a lot; I’m on Twitter all day long and I average about a book per week.

Flats, heels or kicks?
Flats

Best career advice book?
A bit on the cynical side: Corporate Confidential: 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn’t Want You to Know—and What to Do About Them by Cynthia Shapiro

Who are the women in tech that you most admire and why?
Megan Smith! She’s an MIT-trained engineer, led moonshot projects at Google X, and was the United States’ first CTO under Obama. She’s a great advocate for diversity of all kinds, in a way that’s very reasonable but urgent and compelling as well.

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