Let’s get to know an ally of Women in Big Data…
Neil Metzler, Founder, Lead Consultant at Cloud Champions LLC, a career and startup consulting organization dedicated to advancing gender diversity in tech.
Tell us about your career focus/professional aspirations
After nine years in big tech, I decided to launch my own consulting business and commit 50% of revenue to non-profits leading on gender diversity in tech.
How did you hear about Women in Big Data?
I was speaking with someone I look up to about her career aspirations. Her goal was gaining technical skills around data science within the context of cloud and enterprise account management. When I was preparing to leave corporate, I asked for suggestions of nonprofits delivering on career opportunities and the gender gap in tech. She recommended I look into Women in Big Data. I was excited because this combined my interests in gender gap, career development, and the technical space I am most interested in.
How have you contributed to Women in Big Data?
Fundraising and corporate giving. My role is to support this workstream to deepen our partnerships with exciting companies like Netflix, Disney, LinkedIn and Nvidia. I am so proud of the team and results we have already achieved, and I believe there is much more we can deliver.
Was there an exact moment or a point in time that you realized you were an ally for the WiBD cause?
The first time I was part of securing a major corporate giving commitment. In the lead up building our pitch deck, I reviewed dozens of event photos, enthusiastic recap emails, and Meet Her highlights in this Newsletter. I realized there is strong grassroots energy in WiBD, and how we can support each other.
I have the privilege to hear feedback directly from corporate partners like Netflix about how impactful joint events are. Our chapter leads and members should know how highly our partners regard the caliber of our speakers, our members and everything you do that goes into event success! Hearing their trust and belief definitely inspires me to do my part.
Has your life been different in any way since this point? Professionally? Personally?
Volunteering with WiBD in non-profit development has exposed me to mentors and stakeholders I otherwise might not have connected with. This has allowed me to think about long-term career opportunities in non-profits, specifically where my skill set fits best in development.
What would you tell others who are curious about what it means to be an ally?
Allyship starts with action. I focus on listening and supporting my teammates in the workstream. I present observations and advise when it’s relevant. I remind myself to focus on follow-through and delivery.
Is there anything else that you would like to say about being an ally for WiBD?
Thank you for giving me this opportunity. I would like to close by sharing a quote from Melinda French Gates:
“If we don’t get women and people of color at the table — real technologists doing the real work — we will bias systems. Trying to reverse that a decade or two from now will be so much more difficult, if not close to impossible.” — Melinda Gates in conversation with Fei-Fei Li onBackchannel
Neil Metzler provides career consulting for mid-career professionals pivoting into and around big tech. WiBD members save 20% with code ‘WiBD’ and can book a free intro session at cloudchampions.net. Follow him on LinkedIn for videos and blog posts about the future of work, upskill/reskill and digital transformation.