How our grassroots "Diversity & Equity Scholarship" is elevating more women to product careers
What has being a minority in tech taught me?
Over the years, I have faced my fair share of systemic discrimination. In the boardroom or on the executive floor, or sometimes just as a mother in the room, there was no shortage of reasons for being treated differently. I also know that this is the everyday reality of many who are considered "underrepresented" or "historically marginalized" in our society.
My salary was significantly lower than those of my male team members, as well as compared to other women on the team, early in my career. Despite my resentment, I realized I was not confident enough to negotiate or advocate for myself. My belief as an immigrant and a woman was that hard work and good work will show for themselves, that I will be recognized for my efforts. My 20-year-old self couldn't have been more wrong in understanding how the world worked.
My first mentor taught me:
A mentor of mine shared with me tidbits that remain as meaningful to me today as they were then. His words:
'You can complain and rant as much as you like.' That's easy. Take action to change the situation; not just for yourself, but also for others.
A world without inequality requires thinking beyond the "scarcity mindset". Rather than fighting for just one seat at the table, make space for several. Everybody has a place, even if they are competing for the same things you are.
My life's mission crystallized as I hung on to these pearls of wisdom; not only did I want equal treatment for my cognitive abilities, but I also wanted that for others. The road has been long and filled with tears and battles. As I moved into leadership roles where I could build and grow product teams, I advocated for and hired more women, more people from diverse backgrounds, and more people with no prior product experience. Many have succeeded and thrived in their career since then.
I am not alone here. The following is true even for today:
😠 Women make 80 cents for every dollar a man makes
😠 Women start 40% of businesses, but 90% of VC funding is given to men
😠 More than 80% of Fortune 500 CEOs are men
All of us, including our male counterparts, must contribute to a world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive. We want a world in which differences (whether cognitive or otherwise) are valued and celebrated. To build a sustainable future, we need to move past "fitting in" and slam the stereotypes in our society.
Why does PMDojo exist?
While we celebrate those who have "done it", let us pause to celebrate and amplify the journeys of those who have not YET. This is the reason why I started PMDojo to help make tech more diverse, inclusive, equitable and accessible for all.
Just one genuine act can change the world. I believe in doing whatever it takes to inspire even one person who might be one step behind us. When we all do this, we can create momentum for change and opportunities for all. This is the PMDojo ethos.
About PMDojo Product Accelerator:
PMDojo allows people to learn and experience in a real-world setting so they can open doors previously closed to them due to their lack of experience. We also work with companies and senior leaders to make this equality a reality in the tech industry. Our Product Accelerator program makes this possible.
Here are some things you can expect:🚀
🎯 Build an actual product and launch it into the market
🎯 Collaborate with diverse teams
🎯 Have an immersive experience that mimics the real world
🎯 Career support and exclusive job postings
🎯 Warm referrals and networking made easy
🎯 Get access to a community and lifelong learning with Hiring Managers
The Product Accelerator is designed for:
Professionals looking to pivot into product roles
New Product Managers and Designers looking to advance their careers
UX Researchers or Designers looking to gain real-world experience
We welcome people from all diverse backgrounds, experiences and learning styles!
Our impact so far
Over 90% of our Product fellows have successfully transitioned into product roles
It is common for our Product fellows to receive multiple offers before they complete the program
65% of our Product fellows have negotiated and increased their base salaries by $75K
Our global community spans 12 different countries and counting
Our theme for 2022 and beyond: Unlock opportunities and create access for all
After less than 2 years, PMDojo has proven itself to be a unique and supportive community that celebrates diversity and inclusion. We have had our ups and downs along the way. I have stressed the importance of keeping our cohort sizes small so that we can provide exceptional learning and individual experiences, and avoid making decisions that are solely driven by finances. PMDojo is completely bootstrapped, and any revenue is used to operate its intensive nature, as well as to fund scholarships. However, this is not enough.
As part of honoring "Women's History Month", I challenged myself 2 weeks ago to think beyond the constraints of being bootstrapped and launch a grassroots initiative that would help create a scholarship pool, especially for women who have been historically marginalized. PMDojo offers incredible opportunities that have the power to change the trajectory of people's lives, and one's ability to pay shouldn't be a hindrance to accessing those opportunities.
Introducing PMDojo 's Diversity & Equity Scholarship:
I am super grateful to so many Sr. Leaders and Fellows as well from PMDojo who are contributing to PMDojo 's Diversity & Equity Scholarship. This is a community-led initiative aimed at breaking the bias and creating a world where people have equal opportunities.💪 My hope is that this becomes the PMDojo community’s way to pay it forward.
Our generous Sponsors:
I will continue to celebrate 🥂 here our amazing sponsors who have been able to create this inspiring opportunity. I am deeply grateful to our empathetic champions of diversity in tech who have made all of this possible.
In our upcoming cohort, we will offer 10 scholarships to people who are marginally underrepresented in tech and do not have access to capital. Scholarships will cover up to 15% of the Product Accelerator program fees. Our goal is to help as many people as possible by doing this.
Applications will be accepted on a first come first basis. So, how might this work? Keep reading.
How can I contribute?
There is no way we can do this alone. Share this initiative with your network. The marketing efforts of our organization are rooted in community and grassroots support. If you can contribute, even a small amount, please let us know. Join us if you are passionate about creating an equal world. You can contact PMDojo's founder, Bosky, by clicking below.
How can I apply for a scholarship and join PMDojo Product Accelerator :
If you are interested in learning or growing in a product role and are either looking to transition into the role, or new to the role, you might be eligible for one of our scholarships.
To be considered, please complete both the steps below:
If you have any other questions, please reach out here. We will get back to you asap.
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P.S. 🚨 We're closing applications for our next cohort soon, so if you'd like to be considered (or know someone who should be), submit your application by April 02, 2022.