Also known for her career at Pinterest, the founding member of Project Include and Advisor to Homebrew VC Tracy Chou, steps on to the stage at Slush to speak about diversity and inclusion in tech. Tracy really knows the topic as she has taken many leaps from “the pink isle of toy store” to where she is now.
Although being raised by two software engineers in Silicon Valley, studying computer science and electrical engineering at Stanford University and interning at Facebook and Google, Tracy’s path in the tech world hasn’t been a foregone conclusion. Not at all. As she writes on Quartz, it was not the lack of interest nor motivation holding her back: “It was the sexism I encountered, both in school and in the workplace, had me convinced that I wasn’t just good enough to make it in tech.”
But oh she was. First, Tracy was asked to assist teaching a computer science class at Stanford, then after graduation to join Quora as an early engineer, and finally in 2011 to become one of the first 15 employees of Pinterest. By that time, she also took action on her worries of women’s inclusion in tech. Tracy’s call for data of diversity demographics can be seen as the turning point for her advocacy, eventually reaching a wider audience with features of her pioneering work on Vogue, WIRED and Business Insider. And let’s not forget that she was included in the Forbes Tech 30 under 30 in technology 2014.
In 2016, Tracy left her Tech Lead position at Pinterest and founded Project Include with seven other members. They form an open, non-profit community aiming to build diversity and inclusion solutions for tech companies – primarily through data collection, tracking, and reporting. Project Include focuses on startups in their early phase to tackle the problem before it sneaks up on their culture – though not ignoring VCs advising them. Tracy herself too, acts as an advisor to Homebrew VC, as one of the things she’s busy with.