A summer of learning and inspiration for the years ahead!
Summer is here and so is Girls Who Code@Audible 2019. For the fourth year in a row, Audible welcomed Girls Who Code (GWC) as part of a summer-long immersion program conducted by Amazon and Prudential in their respective locations.
Girls Who Code is a national non-profit organization that is on a mission to close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a programmer looks like. As a result of all the fun-filled educational activities, Audible has become one of the favorite spots for Girls Who Code participants.
The day started with an introduction to Audible and how we bring “the power of the spoken word” to our customers through technology. Next, was an ice-breaker session led by Sr. Software Developer Amie Greenwald, where girls got an opportunity to share fun facts about themselves. This was followed by a game of “Name the Narrator” where girls were asked to guess the narrator based on the audio clip played. It was great to see such enthusiasm and excitement from the girls in this activity, especially with many of the narrators being well-recognized celebrities.
The next section of the day was devoted to a discussion panel comprised of women leaders at Audible at various stages of their careers. Some of our esteemed panelists included Cynthia Chu, CFO Audible, Vincenza Pizzo, SVP UX, Nicole Richardson, Sr. Director Data Science, Charlotte George, Director Product Management, Rupini Tummula, Sr. Software Developer, Aditi, QA Engineer and new software developers like Kiki and Diksha. Personally, I was privileged to be part of the panel and share my learnings and experiences with the students. The panel was moderated by Jamy Barton, Sr. Dir. Program Management. Jamy shared the story of Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code, and how she talks about taking risks, failing, and trying again. Panelists also shared insights on how “imperfection” and “taking risks” is important in life.
“You don’t have to be perfect to inspire others!
Inspire others by sharing how you deal with imperfections!”
Next, the girls and teachers got a taste of what it’s like to be a narrator at Audible with a tour of Audible Studios. To provide insight into how audiobooks are made, they were given a chance to record a few lines of a book chapter. This was a great learning experience for the participants to try something new and see what happens behind the scenes when creating a new audiobook.
Next stop was the Audible board, where girls shared their thoughts on “Why they code.” It was enthralling to see such a large variety of great responses on the board.
This was followed up with lunch at our new Innovation Cathedral café. “Coding is a challenge of trial and error and requires perseverance and imperfection to find the path to success.”
What’s up, Alexa!
Visiting a tech company like Audible cannot be complete until you get your hands dirty with the code. Amie, Kaylee, and their team of volunteers organized a tech activity that involved developing an Alexa skill that could answer questions about TV show schedules, e.g.: “What time is American Ninja Warrior on?” These gave the girls hands-on experience to AWS technologies such as Lambda and learnings to take back with them. For Andi Cho, a summer intern on the iOS team and a computer science major at Rutgers University New Brunswick, coaching the girls through the Alexa skill workshop was an inspiring opportunity to talk with high schoolers and answer questions they had about being a girl who codes in college. To ensure girls take away key learnings and apply them in real life, they were each given Echo Dots with the swag goodie bag. It was really rewarding to see the big smiles on their faces.
Innovation Cathedral Tour
The trip ended with a tour of the beautiful, new Innovation Cathedral, where girls got a chance to see the actual Audible developers workplace.
I would like to close with a quote Jamy shared during the session:
“There are so many tiny revolutions in a life, a million ways we have to circle around ourselves to grow and change and be okay.“
Looking forward to next year’s event!