No, women shouldn’t be afraid of a tech career. Christie Whitehill proves it.
When Christie Whitehill was in high school she was told to not worry about a career because she had “a pretty face so she should just go and get married and have babies”.
Thinking she was worth nothing more than her looks, she entered bikini modelling competition. She won.
Part of the prize was to design her own bikini range — and from this grew into a burning ambition to run her own business.
“I came up with the idea for a dating app called Fancied,” she says. “I knew what I wanted, but going to the male oriented technology area was humiliating. I felt like the helpless women taking her car to the mechanic and not knowing if I was being ripped off.”
She was led down the wrong path and ended up spending $150 000 on technology she didn’t need.
“I was furious. I vowed that this shouldn’t happen to other women,’ she says. “So I decided I’d create a tech company that was transparent and didn’t treat women differently.”
“Through the whole experience I felt intimidated – tech is such a brofest – but it gave me a determination to prove that anything I put my mind to I can conquer,” she says.
She created Hatching Lab.
She did a corporate finance course to learn how to raise capital and an online UX design course to learn how to best optimise a website so it works for the audience and is a positive user experience.
“I needed to understand so I could communicate to developers. It gave me an in-depth knowledge. So now with clients I try to educate them as much as possible so they understand what’s going on,” she says.
“It saves a lot of frustration and miscommunication as well. It’s a frustrating process with jargon and buzz words so for a non-tech person it’s a whole other world.”
To help women navigate this area, Whitehill now hosts one-day Women In Tech workshops.