Previous Image
Next Image

info heading

info content

Makers: Women Who Make America Documentary #MakersWomen

10-2-2014 UPDATE: The second season has started (Tuesdays) airing on PBS.


I am excited to share that on Tuesday, February 26th the documentary called “MAKERS: Women Who Make Americais debuting on PBS (check local listings) and includes a powerful list of inspiring women that are “groundbreakers who have sparked change, been firsts-in-their-fields, and paved the way for those who followed“. I had the opportunity to attend a press event months ago where they had some of the amazing Makers Women  in attendance (including Gloria Steinem and our own local Lisa Stone of BlogHer ) while they showed us some clips from the documentary.




Along with the ones I mentioned above, some others highlighted in the documentary are Katie Couric, Linda Alvarado, Brenda Berkman, Judy Blume, Carol Burnett, Ursula Burns, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres, Geraldine Ferraro, Theresa Kane, Billie Jean King, Maya Lin, Susan Love, Marissa Mayer, Robin Morgan, Sandra Day O’Connor, Maria Pepe, Michelle Rhee, Condoleezza Rice, Faith Ringgold, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Zainab Salbi, Sheryl Sandberg, Phyllis Schlafly, Barbara Smith, Martha Stewart, Kathrine Switzer, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Barbara Walters.  The program description from the PBS website explains: “Review the story of how women have helped shape America over the last 50 years through one of the most sweeping social revolutions in our country’s history, in pursuit of their rights to a full and fair share of political power, economic opportunity and personal autonomy. The documentary builds on the unprecedented multi-platform video experience from PBS and AOL:”


The Makers press release also described “cast of partners behind the documentary that brought it to life – took a team effort, just like the movement overall!”:


  • PBS, for giving a national televised platform and broad community and grassroots network;
  •  AOL, for creating an engaging online experience at;
  • and Simple ® facial skincare brand, for providing resources for production and promotion and sharing a like-minded vision of celebrating women whose authenticity, ideals and pioneering spirit inspire others every day.




The red-carpet premiere event in NYC was star studded and included interviews with many of the amazing women in the documentary:



MAKERS: Women Who Make America. Credit: Courtesy of Rahoul Ghose/PBS





The press release also had a quote from one of my inspirations “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day; a movement is only people moving.” ~ MAKER, Gloria Steinem.



Beth Blecherman (TechMama) with Gloria Steinem at the Makers Women Silicon Valley press event.


Having the opportunity to meet Gloria Steinem at the press event even inspired me even more to do my part to contribute to the movement. To start, I will be watching MAKERS: Women Who Make America on Feb. 26 on PBS !


10-2-2014 UPDATE: The second season has started (Tuesdays) airing on PBS.


Disclosure: This is a press update.




TechGals: The Inspiration…

Yesterday I added Forbes reporter Kym McNicholas to my list of tech influential women – and this morning I read a post on Sarah Lacy’s blog a post called "Valley Girl: Women Are Doing Just Fine in Tech, Thanks for Asking Though!".  So I felt it was time to bring up my running list of tech influential women. Just taking a look at the list confirms that YES women are doing just fine in tech/social media world….

Infact, I have been so busy attending amazing girl geek events like the book discussions led by Sarah LacyCharlene Li and meet-ups like the Facebook Developer Garage – that I need to go back and update my list… So here it is, more to come:

Techmamas List of Tech-influential moms and women


Work Life Balance Role Model: Charlene Li

Yesterday I read in Techmeme that Charlene Li is leaving Forrester to have greater control over how she allocates her
time between work and family
. I first met Charlene Li through the Silicon Valley Moms Blog, then began reading her blog "Groundswell". Best yet, I recommend the book she co-authored called "Groundswell" as the source to explain the new world of social technologies.

So heres a shout out to Charlene Li, who by sharing the reasoning to leave her job is a great role model for all working moms. And she demonstrated that you can achieve career success but step back at times when the "balance" is not right.


Liveblogging Facebook Girl Geek Developer Garage

I am here in San Francisco using my new favorite toy (Sprint USB Broadband card – Compass 597) to liveblog one of my favorite social networking events: Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners. The theme of this dinner is the Facebook Developer Garage with the following panelists:
» Ruchi Sanghvi (Principal Product Manager, Facebook)
» Julie Zhuo (Product Designer, Platform, Facebook)
» Alina Libova (Founder and Developer, Easter Eggs)
» Holly Liu (User Experience and Co-Founder, Watercooler)
» Annie Chang (Co-Founder, LOLapps)
Sandra Liu Huang (Program Manager, Facebook)
Cyan Banister (Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Zivity)

This event celebrates and promotes women in technology.  Please excuse any incorrect statements or spelling errors, my son decided to wake us up at 3am with alittle stomach problem so it was not a good night for sleep!

It is almost 7pm and we about to start…

Angie Chang, organizer of the Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner is giving an intro. She thanked Facebook for sponsoring this event.

Cyan Banister (Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Zivity) introduced herself and shared that she was once voted the most sexiest Geek. She talked about the contest – it was a time based test… Started out as 100,000 then she won. Celebrated both female and male geeks. She has a blog: Sexiest Geek Alive (they are accepting nominations now…. ) . 50% or more are online buyers, but there is not good representation the engineers – so glad to see everyone.

Ami Vora from the Facebook Platform group talked about advantages and disadvantages of being a girl geek. No lines for bathroom – one of the advantages. But hard to find mentors. She was excited to bring women from around the social media space together. Seeing this network gave her hope to see a strong female network.

Julie – Is an Engineer at Facebook… She talked about the history and technical challenges and what is coming up over the horizon.
Why did they build this platform? Value of social contest for applications. Make it possible for users to have a social network everywhere. Then they integrated third party application content and distribution.  One of the biggest distribution channels is the newsfeed. There are also minifeeds, requests and invitations channels. 
About the platform
…They created FBML, extension of HTML.  FBML is first parced by Facebook and translated into HTML to be rendered by browser.  FTML helps enforce privacy and can be abstract.
Re-design plans? They are working on a profile re-design to put the focus more on the user and highlight what is relevant. There will be tabs on the new profile. Users will be able to install application tabs.

Sandra- 20% of the people do 80% of the networking. She suggested we all introduce ourselves to the person sitting next to us… I had to great opportunity to talk with Ami Vora.

Panelists introduced themselves: Ruchi Sanghvi (Principal Product Manager, Facebook),Julie Zhuo (Product Designer, Platform, Facebook), Alina Libova (Founder and Developer, Easter Eggs), Holly Liu (User Experience and Co-Founder, Watercooler). Annie Chang (Co-Founder, LOLapps)


How is it working in early stage of products?…Holly- We put emphasis on listening to users and growing. Holly said the social media space is dynamic – fast paced change, it is important to respond to user feedback. Annie said it is exciting, busy – when working on Facebook we get instant feedback. When Ruchi started at Facebook they had a small crew, but over time they matured and understood the value we offered. We added unique visions, it has been truly dynamic and an amazing experience.

How about moving it to the next stage? Julie said they were surprised how the user base grew so quickly, and commented that they constantly look at is what is best for the  Facebook users. Holly said Iterate as soon as you get user feedback and make things easy and accessible for users… Alina started adding ad revenue then used the Facebook developer forum to advertise that she wanted to sell her facebook app.

Where do you go to find ideas for product development and find people to mentor you? Alina gets the most ideas during final week. She uses teachers and a wiki page for mentorship. Julie gets ideas for applications from their user community, suggested if you talk about what you are interested in and passion about you will end up meeting the right people. Ruchi also said to iterate and develop quickly. Holly said simple applications that allow people to share information is important. Alina suggested to find a niche market, most developers are men and there are many women that use social networking apps so having a women’s perspective while developing apps is an advantage. Annie said Facebook app distribution is totally different, you just need to understand how people interact with their friends. It will grow if you design it right and people want to share it with their friends.

What facebook apps do you like?

Julie – Bowling buddies and word games (like scramble). Alina likes the friends circle. Holly likes the biggest brain.

Questions from the audience….

Here comes the food….

SUMMARY: Seeing and meeting these women made me proud to be a girl geek!


Sarah Lacy, AuthorChat about her new book “Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good”

(Updated to add the picture… Thanks to Adriana Gascoigne of Girls in Tech for organizing the event and taking the picture… Girls in Tech is an organization for women entrepreneurs in technology related industries)

A few days ago I had to the opportunity to attend a AuthorChat with Sarah Lacy, where she discussed her book Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good and answered questions from the other Girls in Tech in attendance. I was running late after coordinating babysitting, so I did not have a chance to bring a notebook or my laptop.. Instead, I had the pleasure of just listening to the discussion – which had some details about the book, great hints about talking with Venture Capitalists and valuable insight from someone who "has been a business reporter for 10 years, most recently covering technology for BusinessWeek and is also Silicon Valley host of Yahoo Finance’s Tech Ticker". I am looking forward to reading the book!

Now I have both the "must read" books for anyone wanting the scoop on the rise of Web 2.0 (Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good by Sarah Lacy) and the forces of customers connecting utilizing Web 2.0 tools (Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff).Mfsl_2

As an added bonus, my friend and fellow Silicon Valley Moms Blogger Martha
won the event giveaway: a pink iPod Nano! She was excited to have an iPod of her own after all the other iPods in the family went to her children.