Episode 139

How Storytelling Creates Opportunities for the Underrepresented

It’s 1999. I’m attending Pepperdine University for my MBA program when I ask myself, “What else can I do?”

I decide to learn computer programming at UCLA. In my first class there, I’m sitting in a room filled with other students and realize two things:

First, I’m one of only three female students in a class of over 40 people. And second, I love everything about this training and want to learn more!

So I start reading books and learning as fast as I can, noticing all the while that there aren’t many female authors and role models in tech. Yet, I’m still hungry to learn as much as I can and want to accelerate my training.

Thanks to a magazine ad, I sign up for the Web 99 Conference in San Francisco and listen in fascination to Lynda Weinman talk about Flash technology. It makes me realize that I want to do this for my career.

I walk up to her after her Talk to introduce myself and discover she’s holding her first-ever workshop on Flash in Ojai, California. She personally invites me to sign up, and I go for it!

Thanks to Lynda’s guidance, I move from that workshop to teaching classes for her, writing two books on Flash technology, running a Flash-focused tech event, and co-founding my own software company.

My story changed just from casually taking a computer class in college… and all because someone believed in and opened doors for me. And my special guest today has made it his business to do the same for others.

Mike Roberts helps underrepresented people break into tech and companies build high-performance engineering teams out of often overlooked talent. In this episode of the Storytelling School Podcast, you’ll learn about how creating opportunities for the marginalized can change the trajectory of their story and get answers to questions like:

Why does storytelling help those with social anxiety? How does having different skill sets affect the future of your story’s path? And why is software engineering both a science and, like storytelling, an art?

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How being a trailblazer can influence other people’s stories (even for generations)
  • How learning to tell stories is like learning how to play an instrument
  • Why it’s better to tell your story in the present tense

Who is Mike Roberts?

Mike Roberts is the founder and CEO of Creating Coding Careers (CCC), an innovative nonprofit organization committed to diversifying the tech community and creating equitable opportunities for individuals pursuing a career in the industry. He is passionate about helping underrepresented people break into tech and helping companies build high-performance engineering teams out of often-overlooked talent.

Mike has launched more than 100 student careers and has grads working at IBM/RedHat, Apple, WalmartLabs, Sony, AWS, Facebook, Deloitte, and many more amazing tech companies. His superpower is helping gritty people grow and get better at writing quality software.

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I'm ready to stand out!