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DevelopHer and Creating Success for All in Tech with Lauren Hasson
Episode Summary
Corey is joned by Lauren Hasson, Fonder of DevelopHer, to discuss whats its like to not be a just another whtie dude in tech and her own work in tech and advocacy for everyone in their careers. Lauren stays busy with her multifaceted interaction with the tech world, least of which is DevelopHer. Lauren talks about DevelopHer and her story about its creation. From taking a different direction into tech Lauren had to fight her ways upwards, and despite the adversity, such as the pay gap, she excelled. She created DevelopHer is order to help others make similar successes in their own careers, but through more conducive paths. Check out this episode for Lauren’s valuable insight!
Episode Show Notes and Transcript
About Lauren
Lauren Hasson is the Founder of DevelopHer, an award-winning career development platform that has empowered thousands of women in tech to get ahead, stand out, and earn more in their careers. She also works full-time on the frontlines of tech herself. By day, she is an accomplished software engineer at a leading Silicon Valley payments company where she is the architect of their voice payment system and messaging capabilities and is chiefly responsible for all of application security.
Through DevelopHer, she’s partnered with top tech companies like Google, Dell, Intuit, Armor, and more and has worked with top universities including Indiana and Tufts to bridge the gender gap in leadership, opportunity, and pay in tech for good. Additionally, she was invited to the United Nations to collaborate on the global EQUALS initiative to bridge the global gender divide in technology. 
Sought after across the globe for her insight and passionate voice, Lauren has started a movement that inspires women around the world to seek an understanding of their true value and to learn and continually grow.  
Her work has been featured by industry-leading publications like IEEE Women in Engineering Magazine and Thrive Global and her ground-breaking platform has been recognized with fourteen prestigious awards for entrepreneurship, product innovation, diversity and leadership including the Women in IT Awards Silicon Valley Diversity Initiative of the Year Award, three Female Executive of the Year Awards, and recognition as a Finalist for the United Nations WSIS Stakeholder Prize.


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Transcript
Announcer: Hello, and welcome to Screaming in the Cloud with your host, Chief Cloud Economist at The Duckbill Group, Corey Quinn. This weekly show features conversations with people doing interesting work in the world of cloud, thoughtful commentary on the state of the technical world, and ridiculous titles for which Corey refuses to apologize. This is Screaming in the Cloud.


Corey: You could build you go ahead and build your own coding and mapping notification system, but it takes time, and it sucks! Alternately, consider Courier, who is sponsoring this episode. They make it easy. You can call a single send API for all of your notifications and channels. You can control the complexity around routing, retries, and deliverability and simplify your notification sequences with automation rules. Visit courier.com today and get started for free. If you wind up talking to them, tell them I sent you and watch them wince—because everyone does when you bring up my name. Thats the glorious part of being me. Once again, you could build your own notification system but why on god’s flat earth would you do that?


Corey: This episode is sponsored in part by Honeycomb. When production is running slow, it's hard to know where problems originate: is it your application code, users, or the underlying systems? I’ve got five bucks on DNS, personally. Why scroll through endless dashboards, while dealing with alert floods, going from tool to tool to tool that you employ, guessing at which puzzle pieces matter? Context switching and tool sprawl are slowly killing both your team and your business. You should care more about one of those than the other, which one is up to you. Drop the separate pillars and enter a world of getting one unified understanding of the one thing driving your business: production. With Honeycomb, you guess less and know more. Try it for free at Honeycomb.io/screaminginthecloud. Observability, it’s more than just hipster monitoring. 


Corey: You could build you go ahead and build your own coding and mapping notification system, but it takes time, and it sucks! Alternately, consider Courier, who is sponsoring this episode. They make it easy. You can call a single send API for all of your notifications and channels. You can control the complexity around routing, retries, and deliverability and simplify your notification sequences with automation rules. Visit courier.com today and get started for free. If you wind up talking to them, tell them I sent you and watch them wince—because everyone does when you bring up my name. Thats the glorious part of being me. Once again, you could build your own notification system but why on god’s flat earth would you do that?


Corey: This episode is sponsored in part by our friends at Jellyfish. So, you’re sitting in front of your office chair, bleary eyed, parked in front of a powerpoint and—oh my sweet feathery Jesus its the night before the board meeting, because of course it is! As you slot that crappy screenshot of traffic light colored excel tables into your deck, or sift through endless spreadsheets looking for just the right data set, have you ever wondered, why is it that sales and marketing get all this shiny, awesome analytics and inside tools? Whereas, engineering basically gets left with the dregs. Well, the founders of Jellyfish certainly did. That’s why they created the Jellyfish Engineering Management Platform, but don’t you dare call it JEMP! Designed to make it simple to analyze your engineering organization, Jellyfish ingests signals from your tech stack. Including JIRA, Git, and collaborative tools. Yes, depressing to think of those things as your tech stack but this is 2021. They use that to create a model that accurately reflects just how the breakdown of engineering work aligns with your wider business objectives. In other words, it translates from code into spreadsheet. When you have to explain what you’re doing from an engineering perspective to people whose primary IDE is Microsoft Powerpoint, consider Jellyfish. Thats Jellyfish.co and tell them Corey sent you! Watch for the wince, thats my favorite part.


Corey: Welcome to Screaming in the Cloud. I’m Corey Quinn. A somewhat recurring theme of this show has been the business of cloud, and that touches on a lot of different things. One thing I’ve generally cognizant of not doing is talking to folks who don’t look like me and asking them questions like, “Oh, that’s great, but let’s ignore everything that you’re doing, and instead talk about what it’s like not to be a cis-gendered white dude in tech,” because that’s crappy. Today, we’re sort of deviating from that because my guest is Lauren Hasson, the founder of DevelopHer, which is a career development platform that empowers women in tech to get ahead. Lauren, thanks for joining me.


Lauren: Thanks so much for having me, Corey.


Corey: So, you’re the founder of DevelopHer, and that is ‘develop-her’ as in ‘she’. I’m not going to be as distinct on that pronunciation, so if you think I’m saying ‘developer’ and it doesn’t make intellectual sense, listener, that’s what’s going on. But you’re also a speaker, you’re an author, and you work on the front lines of tech yourself. That’s a lot of stuff. What’s your story?


Lauren: Yeah, I do. So, I’m not only the founder-developer, but I’m just like many of your listeners: I work on the front lines of tech myself. I work remotely from my home in Dallas for a Silicon Valley payments company, where I’m the architect of our voice payment system, and I up until recently was chiefly responsible for all of application security. Yeah, and I do keep busy.


Corey: It certainly seems like it. Let’s go back to, I guess, the headline item here. You are the founder of DevelopHer, and one thing that always drives me a little nutty is when people take a glance at what I do and then try and tell the story, and then effectively mess the whole thing up. What is DevelopHer?


Lauren: So, DevelopHer is what I wish I had ten years ago—or actually nine years ago. It’s an empowerment platform that helps individual women—men, too—get ahead in their careers, earn more, and stand out. And part of my story, you know, I have the degrees from undergrad in electrical engineering and computer science, but I went a completely different direction after graduating. And at the end of the Great Recession, I found myself with no job with no technical skills, and I mean, no job prospects, at all. It was really, really bad, ugly crying on my couch bad, Corey.


And I took a number of steps to get ahead and really relearn my tech skills, and I only got one offer to give myself a chance. It was a 90-days to prove myself, to get ahead, and teach myself iOS. And I remember it was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done. And within two years, I not only managed to survive that 90-day period and keep that job, but I had completely managed to thrive. My work had been featured in Apple’s iOS7 keynote, I’d won the company-wide award at a national agency four times, I had won the SXSW international Hackathon, twice in a row.


And then probably the pinnacle of it all is I was one of 100 tech innovators worldwide invited to attend the [UKG 00:03:41] Innovation Conference. And they flew me there on a private 747 jet, and it was just unreal. And so I founded DevelopHer because I needed this ten years ago, when I was at rock bottom, to figure out how to get ahead: how do I get into my career; how do I stand out? And of course, you know there’s more to the story, but I also found out I was underpaid after achieving all of that, that a male peer was paid exactly what I was paid, with no credentials, despite all of the awards that I won. And I went out and learned to negotiate, and tripled my salary in two years, and turned around and said, “I’m going to teach other women—and men, too—how to get real change in their own life.”


Corey: I love hearing stories where people discover that they’re underpaid. I mean, it’s a bittersweet moment because on the one hand it’s, “Wait, you mean they’ve been taking advantage of me?” And you feel bad for people, but at the same time, you’re sort of watching the blindfold fall away from their eyes of, “Yeah, but it’s been this way, and now you know about it. And now you’re in a position to potentially do something about it.” I gave a talk at a tech conference a few years back called “Weasel your Way to the Top: How to Handle a Job Interview” and it was a fun talk.


I really enjoyed it, but what I discovered was after I’d given it I got some very direct feedback of, “That’s a great talk and you give a lot of really useful advice. What if I don’t look like you?” And I realized, “Oh, my God, I built this out of things that worked for me and I unconsciously built all of my own biases and all of my own privilege into that talk.” At which point I immediately stopped giving it until I could relaunch it as a separate talk with a friend of mine, Sonia Gupta, who does not look like me. And between the two of us, it became a much stronger, much better talk.


Lauren: It’s good that you understand what you were bringing to the table and how you can appeal to an even larger audience. And what I’ve done is really said, “Here’s my experience as a woman in tech, and here’s what’s worked for me.” And what’s been surprising is men have said, “Yeah, that’s what I did.” Except for I put a woman in tech spin on it and… I mean, I knew it worked for me; I have more than quintupled my base salary—just my base salary alone—in nine years. And the results that women are getting from my programming—I had one woman who earned $80,000 more in a single negotiation, which tells me, one, she was really underpaid, but she didn’t just get one offer at $80,000 more; she got at least two. I mean, that changed her life.


And I think the lowest I’ve heard is, like, $30,000 difference change. I mean, this is, this is life-changing for a lot of women. And the scary thing is that it’s not just, say it’s $50,000 a year. Well, over ten years, that’s half a million dollars. Over 20 years, that’s a million, and that’s not even interest and inflation and compounding going into that. So, that’s a huge difference.


Corey: It absolutely is. It’s one of those things that continues to set people further and further back. One thing that I think California got very right is they’ve outlawed recently asking what someone’s previous compensation was because, “Oh, we don’t want to give someone too big of a raise,” is a way you perpetuate the systemic inequality. And that’s something that I wish more employers would do.


Lauren: It’s huge. I know the women and proponents who had moved that forward; some of them are personal friends of mine, and it’s huge. And that’s actually something that I trained specifically for is how to handle difficult questions like, “How much are you currently making?” Which you can’t legally get asked in California, although it still happens, so how do you handle it if you still get asked and you don’t want to rule yourself out? Or even worse—which they still can ask—which is, “How much do you want to make?”


And a lot of times, people get asked that before they know anything about the job. And they basically, if you give an answer upfront, you’re negotiating against yourself. And so I tackle tough things like that head-on. And I’m very much an engineer at heart, so for me, it’s very methodical; I prepare scripts in advance to handle the pushback that I’m going to get, to handle the difficult questions. Without a doubt, I know all of my numbers, and that’s where I’m getting real results for women is by taking the methodical approach to it.


Corey: So, I spent my 20s in crippling credit card debt, and I was extremely mercenary, as a result. This wasn’t because of some grand lost vision or something. Nope. I had terrible financial habits. So, every decision I made in that period of my life was extraordinarily mercenary. I would leave jobs I enjoyed for a job I couldn’t stand because it paid $10,000 more.


And the thing that I picked up from all of this, especially now having been on the other side of that running a company myself, is I’m not suggesting at any point that people should make career decisions based upon where they can make the most money, but that should factor in. One thing we do here at The Duckbill Group, in every job posting we put up is we post the salary range for the position. And I want to be clear here, it is less than anyone here could make at one of the big tech unicorns or a very hot startup that’s growing meteorically, and we’re upfront about that. We know that if money is the thing you’re after and that is the driving force behind what you’re going for, great; I don’t fault you for that.


This might not be the best role for you and that’s perfectly okay. I get it. But you absolutely should know what your market worth is so you can make that decision from a place of being informed, rather than being naive and later discovering that you were taken advantage of.


Lauren: So, I want to unpack just a couple things. There’s just so many gold nuggets in that. Number one, for any employer listening out there, that is such a great best practice, to post the range. You’re going to attract the right candidates when you post the right range. The last thing you want is to get to the end of the process to find out that, hey, you guys were totally off, and all the time invested could have been avoided if you’d had some sort of expectation set, upfront.


That said, that’s actually where I start with my negotiation training. A lot of people think I start with the money and that it’s all about the money. That’s not where I start. The very first thing I train women, and the men who’ve taken it, too, on the course is, figure out what success looks like to you. And not just the number success, but what does your life look like? What does your lifestyle look like? What does it feel like? What kinds of things do you do? What kinds of things do you value?


Money is one of those components, but it’s not all. And here’s the reason I did that: because at a certain point in my life, I only got out at—broke even out of debt, you know, within the last five years. That’s how underpaid I was at the time. But then once I started climbing out of debt, I started realizing it’s not all about money. And that’s actually how I ended up in my dream position.


I mean, I’m living out how I define success today. Could I be making a lot more money at a big tech unicorn? Yeah, I could. But I also have this incredible lifestyle; it’s sustainable. I get on apps like Blind and other internet forums, and I hear just horror stories of people burning out and the toxic cultures they work with. I don’t have that at all. I have something that I could easily do for the next 50 years of my life if I live that long.


But it’s not by accident that I’m in the role that I’m in right now. I actually took the time to figure out what success looks like to me, and so when this opportunity came along—and I was looking at it alongside other opportunities that honestly paid more, I recognized this opportunity for what it was because I’d put in the work up front to figure out what success looks like to me. And so that’s why what you guys are saying, “Hey, it’s a lifestyle that you guys are supporting and mission that you’re joining that’s so important.” And you need to know that and do that 
work up front.


Corey: That’s I think what it really comes down to is understanding that in many cases… in fact, I’m going to take that back—in all cases, there’s an inherent adversarial nature to the discussions you have about compensation with your employer or your prospective employer. And I say ‘adversarial’ not antagonistic because you are misaligned as far as the ultimate purpose of the conversation. I’m not going to paint myself as some saint here and say that, oh, I’m on the side of every person I’m negotiating against, trying to get them to take a salary that’s less than they deserve. Because, first, although I view myself that I’m not in that position, you have to take that on faith from me, and I think that is too far of a bridge to cross. So, take even what I’m saying now from the position as someone who has a vested interest in the outcomes of that negotiation.


I mean, we’re not one of those unicorn startups; we can’t outbid Netflix and we wouldn’t even try to. We’re one of those old-fashioned businesses that has taken no investment and we fund ourselves through the magic of revenue and profitability, which means we don’t have a SoftBank-sized [laugh] war chest sitting in the bank that we can use to just hurl ridiculous money at people and see who pans out. Hiring has to be intentional and thoughtful because we’re a very small team. And if you’re looking for something that doesn’t align with that, great; I certainly don’t blame you. That isn’t this, and that’s okay, I’m not trying to hire everyone.


And if it’s not going to work out, why wouldn’t we say that upfront to avoid trying to get to all the way at the end of a very expensive interview process—both in terms of time and investment and emotionally—only to figure out that we’re worlds apart on comp, and it’s never going to work.


Lauren: A hundred percent agree. I mean, I’ve been through it on both ends, both as someone who is being hired and also as a hiring manager, and I understand it. And you need to find alignment, and that’s what negotiation is all about is finding an alignment, finding something where everyone feels like they’re winning in the situation. And I’m a big proponent—and this is going to go so counterculture—I think a lot of people overlook a lot of opportunities that are just golden nuggets. I think there’s a lot of idol worship of the big tech companies.


And don’t get me wrong; I’m sure they pay really well, great opportunity for your career, but I think people are overlooking a lot of really great career opportunities to get experience, and responsibility, and have good pay and lifestyle. And I’m a big proponent and looking for those golden nuggets rather than shooting for one of the big tech unicorns.


Corey: And other people are going to have a very different perspective on that, and that is absolutely okay. So, tell me a little bit more about what it is that DevelopHer does and how you go about doing it because it’s one thing to say, “Oh, we help women figure out that they are being underpaid,” but there’s a whole lot of questions that opens up because great. How do you do that?


Lauren: I do a number of things. So, it’s not all about pay either. Part of it’s building your value, building your confidence, standing out, getting ahead. DevelopHer started, actually, as a podcast. Funny story; I wanted to solve the problem of, we need more technical women as visible leaders out there, and I said, “Where are the architects? Where are the CTOs? Where are the CSOs?”


And I didn’t think anyone would care about me. I mean, I’m not Sheryl Sandberg; I’m not [laugh] the CEO of Facebook. Who’s going to listen to me? And then I was actually surprised when people cared about my own story, about coming back from being underpaid and then getting back into tech and figuring out how to stand out in such a short amount of time. And other women were saying, “Well, how did you do it?”


And it wasn’t just women; it was men, too, saying, “Hey, I also don’t know how to effectively advocate for myself.” And then it was companies saying, “Hey, can you come in and help us build our internal bench, recruit more women to come work for us, and build our own women leaders?” And then I’ve started working with universities to help bridge the gap before it even starts. I partnered with major universities to license my program and train them, not only how do you negotiate for what you’re worth, for your first salary, but also how do you come in and immediately make an impact and accelerate your career growth? And then, of course, I work with individual women.


I’ve talked about I have a salary negotiation course that’s won a couple awards for the work, the results that it’s getting, but then I just recently wrote a book because I wanted to reach women and men at scale and help them really get ahead. And this was literally my playbook. It’s called The DevelopHer Playbook. And it’s, how did I break into tech? And then once I was in tech, how did I get ahead so quickly? And it’s not rocket science. And that’s what I’m working on is training other people do it. And look, I’m still learning; I’m still paving my own path forward in tech, myself.


Corey: This episode is sponsored in part by our friends at Jellyfish. So, you’re sitting in front of your office chair, bleary eyed, parked in front of a powerpoint and—oh my sweet feathery Jesus its the night before the board meeting, because of course it is! As you slot that crappy screenshot of traffic light colored excel tables into your deck, or sift through endless spreadsheets looking for just the right data set, have you ever wondered, why is it that sales and marketing get all this shiny, awesome analytics and inside tools? Whereas, engineering basically gets left with the dregs. Well, the founders of Jellyfish certainly did. That’s why they created the Jellyfish Engineering Management Platform, but don’t you dare call it JEMP! Designed to make it simple to analyze your engineering organization, Jellyfish ingests signals from your tech stack. Including JIRA, Git, and collaborative tools. Yes, depressing to think of those things as your tech stack but this is 2021. They use that to create a model that accurately reflects just how the breakdown of engineering work aligns with your wider business objectives. In other words, it translates from code into spreadsheet. When you have to explain what you’re doing from an engineering perspective to people whose primary IDE is Microsoft Powerpoint, consider Jellyfish. Thats Jellyfish.co and tell them Corey sent you! Watch for the wince, thats my favorite part.


Corey: I feel like no one really has a great plan for, “Oh, where are you going next in tech? Do you have this whole thing charted out?” “Of course not. I’m doing this fly by night, seat of my pants, if I’m being perfectly honest with you.” And it’s hard to know where to go next.


What’s interesting to me is that you talk about helping people individually—generally women—through your program, but you also work directly with companies. And when you’re talking about things like salary negotiation, I think a natural question that flows from that is, are there aspects of what you wind up talking to individuals about versus what you do when talking to companies that are in opposition to each other?


Lauren: Yeah, so that’s a great question. So, the answer is there are some progressive companies that have brought me in to do salary negotiation training. Complete candor, most companies aren’t interested. It’s my Zero-To-Hero DevelopHer Playbook program which is, how do you get ahead? How do you build your value, become an asset at the company?


So, it’s less focused on pay, but more how do you become more valuable, and get ahead and add more value to the company? And that’s where I work with the individuals and the companies on that front.


Corey: It does seem like it would be a difficult sell, in most enterprise scenarios, to get a company to pay someone to come in to teach their staff how to more effectively [laugh] negotiate their next raise. I love the vision.


Lauren: It has happened. I also thought it was crazy, but it has happened. But no, most of my corporate clients say, “We not only want to encourage more women into tech, but we already have a lot of women who are already in our ranks, and we want to encourage them to really feel like they’re empowered and to stand out and reach the next levels.” And that’s my sweet spot for corporate.


Corey: Somewhat recently, I was asked on a Twitter Spaces—which is like Clubhouse but somehow different and strange—did I think that the privilege that I brought to what I do had enabled me to do these things, being white, being a man, being cis-gendered—speaking English as my primary language was an interesting one that I hadn’t heard contextualized like that before—and whether that had advantaged me as I went through these things? And I think it’s impossible to say anything other than absolutely because it’s easy to, on some level, take a step back and think, “Well, I’ve built this company, and this media platform, and the rest. And that wasn’t given to me; I had to build it.” And that’s absolutely true. I did have to build it, and it wasn’t given to me.


But as I was building it, the winds were at my back not against me. I was not surrounded by people who are telling me I couldn’t do it. Every misstep I made wasn’t questioned as, well, you sure you should be doing this thing that you’re not really doing? It was very much a fail-forward. And if you think that applies to everyone, then you are grievously mistaken.


Lauren: I think that’s a healthy perspective, which is why I consider you one of developers in my strongest allies, the fact that you’re willing to look at yourself and go, “What advantages did I have? And how might I need to adapt my messaging or my advice so that it’s applicable to even more people?” But it’s also something I’ve experienced myself. I mean, I set out to help women in tech because I’m in women in tech myself. And I was surprised by a couple of things.


Number one, I was surprised that men were [laugh] asking me for advice as well. And individuals and medicine, and finance, and law, in business not even related to tech, but what I’m really proud of that I didn’t set out to build because I didn’t feel qualified, but I’m really glad that I’ve been able to serve is that there were three populations that I’ve been really able to serve, especially at the university level. Number one, international students who, you mentioned yourself, English might not be their first language, but they’re not familiar with the US hiring and advancement and pay process, and I help normalize that. And that’s something that I myself in the benefit of, having been born here in the US. People who, where English isn’t their first language; you think it’s hard enough to answer, “Why do you think you should be promoted?”


Or, “How much do you think you should make for this role? What do you want?” In your first language? Try answering it in your third, right? And then when I’m really proud of is, especially at the university level, I’ve been really able to help students where they’re first-generation college students, where they don’t have a professional mentor within their immediate family.


And providing them a roadmap—or actually, the playbook to how to get ahead and then how to advocate for yourself. And these were things that I didn’t feel qualified to help, but these are the individuals who’ve ended up coming and utilizing my program, and finding a lot of benefit from that. And it made me realize that I’m doing something bigger than I even set out to do, and that is very meaningful to me.


Corey: You mentioned that you give guidance on salary negotiation and career advancement to not just women, but also men, and not just people who are in tech, but people who are in other business areas as well. How does what you’re advising people to do shift—if at all—from folks who are women working in tech?


Lauren: So, that’s the key is it really doesn’t shift. What I’m teaching are fundamentals and, spoiler alert, I teach grounding yourself in data, and knowing your data, and taking the emotion out of the process, whether you’re trying to get ahead, to stand out, to earn more. And I teach fundamentals, which is five-point process.


Number one, you got to figure out what success looks like to you. I talked a little bit about that earlier, but it’s foundational. I mean, I start with that because that alone changed my life. I would still be pursuing success today and not have reached it, but I’m living out how I defined success because I started there.


Then you got to really know your worth. Absolutely without a doubt, know how much you’re worth. And for me, this was transformational. I mean, eye-opening. Like you said earlier, the blindfold coming off. When I saw for a fact how much employers paid other people with my skill sets, it was a game-changer for me. And so I—without a shadow of a doubt, I use four different strategies, multiple resources in each strategy to know comprehensively how much I’m worth.


And then I teach knowing your numbers. It’s not an emotional thing; it’s very much scientific, so I talked about knowing your key numbers, your target, your ask, and your walk away, and those are all very dependent on your employment and financial situation, so it’s different from person to person. And then I talk about—and this is a little different than what other people teach—is I talk about finding leverage, what you uniquely bring to the table, or identifying companies where you uniquely add value, where you can either lock in an offer or negotiate a premium.


And then I prepare. I prepare. Just like you prepare for an interview, I prepare for a negotiation, and if I’m asking for the right amount of money, I am going to be prepared for pushback and I want to be able to handle that, and I don’t want to just know it on the fly; I want to have scripts and questions prepared to handle that pushback. I want to be prepared to answer some of the most difficult questions that you’re going—get asked, like we talked about earlier.


And then the final step is I practice over and over and over again, just like a sporting event. I am ready to go into action and get a great thing. So, those are the fundamentals. I’ve marketed to women in tech because I’m a woman in tech and we don’t have enough women in tech, and women are 82 cents on the dollar in tech, but what I found is that doctors were using the same methodology. I wasn’t marketing it to them. Lawyers, business people, finance people were using it because I was teaching such fundamentals.


Corey: Taking it one step further, if someone is listening to this and starting to get a glimmering of the sense that they’re not where they could be career-wise, either in terms of compensation, advancement, et cetera, what advice would you have for them as far as things to focus on first? Not to effectively extract the entire content of your course into podcast form, but where do they start?


Lauren: Yeah. So, you start by investing in yourself and investing in the change that you want. And that first investment might be figuring out how much you’re worth, you know, doing that research to figure out how much you’re worth. And then going out and learning the skills. And look, I have a course, I have a book that you can use to get ahead; if I’m not the right fit, there are a ton of resources out there. The trick is to find the best fit for you.


And my only regret as I look back over the last 10, 15 years of my career is that I didn’t invest in myself sooner and that I didn’t go out and figure out how much I was worth, and that I—when they said, “Well, you’re just not there yet,” when I asked for more money, that I believed them. And that was on me that I didn’t go out and go, “I wonder how much I’m worth?” And do the research. And then, I regret not hiring a career coach earlier. I wish I’d gotten back into tech sooner.


And I wish that I had learned to negotiate and advocate for myself sooner. But my knack, Corey—and I believe things happen to me for a reason—is my special skills is I take things that were meant not necessarily intentionally to harm me, but things that hurt me, I learned from them, I turn it around in the best way possible, and then I teach and I create programs to help uplift other people. And that’s my special skill set; that’s sort of my mission and purpose in life, and now I’m just trying to really exploit it and make this into a big movement that impacts millions of lives.


Corey: So, what’s next for you? You’ve built this platform, you’ve put yourself out there, you’ve clearly made a dent in the direction that you’re heading in. What’s next?


Lauren: [laugh]. I am looking to scale. I’m just like any company; I’ve really focused on delivering value proof of concept. What a lot of people don’t realize is not only did I build DevelopHer in quote, “my spare time,” but I did this without any outside investors. I funded it at all myself, built it on my own sweat equity—


Corey: [laugh]. That one resonates.


Lauren: Yeah. [laugh]. I know you know what that feels like. And so for me, I’m focused on scale: bringing in more corporate partners; bringing in more university clients, to scale and bridge the gap before it even starts; and scaling and reaching more women and men and anyone who wants to figure out how to get ahead, stand out, and earn more. And so the next year, two years are really focused on scale.


Corey: If people want to learn more about what you do, how you do it, or potentially look at improving their own situations, where can they find you?


Lauren: I am online. Go to developher.com. I have resources for individuals; I have a book, which is a great, cost-effective way to learn a lot.


I have an award-winning negotiation course that helps you go out and earn what you’re truly worth, and I have a membership to connect with me and other like-minded individuals. If you’re a company leader, I work with companies all the time to train their women—and men, too—to get ahead and build their value. And then also, I work with universities as well to help bridge the gender wage gap before it starts, and builds future leaders.


Corey: And we will, of course, include links to that in the [show notes 00:27:55]. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. I really appreciate it.


Lauren: Corey, thank you so much for having me, and I really mean it. You know, Corey is a strong ally. We connected, and I am glad to count you as not only my own ally but an ally of DevelopHer.


Corey: Well, thank you. That’s incredibly touching to hear. I appreciate it.


Lauren: I mean it.


Corey: Thank you. Sometimes all you can say to a sincere compliment is, “Thank you.” Arguing it is an insult, and I’m not that bold. [laugh].


Lauren: That’s actually really good advice that I give women is, so many times, we cut down our own compliments. And so that’s a great example right there, and it is not just women who sometimes I have a challenge with it; men, too. When someone gives you a compliment, just say, “Thank you.”


Corey: Good advice for any age, in any era. Lauren Hasson, founder of DevelopHer, speaker, author, frontline engineer some days. I’m Cloud Economist Corey Quinn, and this is Screaming in the Cloud. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please leave a five-star review on your podcast platform of choice, whereas if you’ve hated this podcast, please leave a five-star review on your podcast platform of choice and an insulting comment telling me that my company is never going to succeed if I don’t attempt to outbid Netflix.


Corey: If your AWS bill keeps rising and your blood pressure is doing the same, then you need The Duckbill Group. We help companies fix their AWS bill by making it smaller and less horrifying. The Duckbill Group works for you, not AWS. We tailor recommendations to your business and we get to the point. Visit duckbillgroup.com to get started.


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