Skip to main content

Behind the Scenes: Sharing Inspiration from 6 Female & Non-Binary Linodians

6-faces-at-linode

The impact of COVID-19 is being felt across the globe and has caused the cancellation of many celebrations and happy gatherings. While we didn’t get the chance to celebrate Women’s History Month the way we had originally planned,  just like with other responses, we are adapting and finding ways to continue creating positive moments. We at Linode thought that it would be nice to showcase some of the incredible women and non-binary individuals who work here, and the stories they share from their unique perspectives. 

The unique stories and inspirations of those listed below, as well as every Linodian, play an important role in helping us make the cloud simple, affordable, and accessible to all.


Christine Pukropski | Systems Engineer

What inspired your interest in tech?

Growing up in the 90s, I was always the “de facto” IT person my family consulted, as I am sure most folks in this profession are. My interest in tech really peaked when I started my first job post-college as an Admin Assistant, and I started doing testing for an internal application during downtime at work. Eventually, I picked up some Database and System Administration work and became the primary maintainer of the DB.  

I wanted to understand everything about how it all worked—all the nuts and bolts. I started at the beginning of how it was built: the server; running the latest Ubuntu 14.04; I was hooked. I have been an unabashed Linux nerd ever since. 

Who is an influential woman or non-binary person that you think people should know?

This is a little bit of a different answer, but I still think it is very relevant to technology and engineering. I would have to say the feminist film director Chantal Akerman. She taught me how to think critically and take notice of the things that happen in between. When working with systems, it’s critical that the little things that lead up to the big thing have attention and are caught. This often tells the narrative of why a seemingly healthy system crashed, or why two identical servers have different performance levels. 

Akerman had this way of meditating on these seemingly mundane stories that were driven by subtle responses. If you weren’t engrossed in the film, they would be very difficult to notice. She taught me how to notice. She does not get enough credit for the impact she’s had on film history, feminism, and critical analysis. More people should know her. 

What advice do you have for women or non-binary individuals entering the technology industry?

Find something that interests you and start a personal project—like really interests you. Like staying up until 2 am tinkering and starting over 4-8 times just to throw it all away. Follow out-of-date guides. Figure out why those guides were wrong. Do it the hard way. This is the best way to learn! It gives you the troubleshooting skills and stubbornness (which is key!) you need to succeed. ?

By showing up and doing your job, you are an agent of change. Let that fuel you. If it gets you down sometimes, that is OK! We are human, and facing the patriarchy every day is draining. Don’t let it keep you down  

Help your comrades shine (see: shine theory). Invest in people. We are stronger together!


Jessica Yoo | Customer Support Specialist

What inspired your interest in tech?

I’ve always liked puzzles and problem-solving, but I really only developed an interest in tech while bored at my banking job. I was looking for a hobby that I could do during downtime and started learning Python. I found it to be very rewarding, and when I decided it was time for a change, I found Linode. 

Who is an influential woman or non-binary person that you think people should know?

Liz Henry! Liz worked at Mozilla as the release manager for Firefox. Liz also works a lot with assistive technology, specifically hacking existing tech for better use, and co-founded Double Union (a hackerspace in San Francisco for women and non-binary individuals). She blogs about being a woman and a person with a disability in tech. 

What advice do you have for women or non-binary individuals entering the technology industry?

Don’t be scared ? Let your enthusiasm and drive to learn speak for itself, but don’t hesitate to speak up and demonstrate it, too.


Kayleigh Denneler | Legal Operations Specialist

What inspired your interest in tech?

I grew up in an age where owning a PC became a regular thing. I grew up in a small town secluded from all of my friends at school (I went to the Catholic school a town over). I was fascinated by the fact that I could do things with my friends online, even if we weren’t in the same room or even the same town. Whatever was happening on the internet was what we talked about on Monday at school.

The tech sphere is ever-changing, and I continue to learn new things every day. It feels good to have an impact as someone without a huge technical background in engineering or development. There’s a plethora of different skills and expertise needed to make places like Linode tick, and it’s wonderful to be a part of this growing industry.

Who is an influential woman or non-binary person that you think people should know?

Anne Margrethe Strømsheim (née Bang). I had the pleasure of visiting Norway’s Resistance Museum on a recent trip to Oslo and learned quite a bit about the resistance movement in Norway after Germany’s invasion.

Strømsheim was a nurse at Hegra Fortress, where she was the only woman, and provided medical care for soldiers at Hegre for up to 20 hours a day to keep the resistance active. Hegra Fortress was invaded by Nazi forces and taken over on May 5th, 1940, but Strømsheim continued her work with the Resistance after the invasion and surrender of Hegra Fortress and was eventually taken as a prisoner of war and interrogated by the Gestapo. She survived and later went on to continue providing nursing assistance to Norwegian soldiers.

She’s honored as the sole female defender of Hegra Fortress.

What advice do you have for women or non-binary individuals entering the technology industry?

Don’t be afraid to show what you know! Everyone brings different skills to the table, and you deserve to have your voice, skills, and knowledge showcased. Also, support your women and non-binary peers, because we succeed when we raise each other up.


Michelle Berg | People Operations Generalist

What inspired your interest in tech?

Coming from a less technical background, my interest in working at a tech company—specifically, this tech company—comes more from the people perspective and what motivates me as an individual. Being in a historically supportive job function, I always knew that I would thrive the most in an environment where I am motivated by a shared excitement and passion for the product. It’s inspiring to me, to work with people as passionate about their work and as skilled as the Linodians are. That’s what drew me to this company that happened to be in tech, Linode. 

Who is an influential woman or non-binary person that you think people should know?

I grew up playing soccer, so seeing the stage that the US Women’s National Team has been on this past year or so is hugely inspiring to me. Generation after generation, they’ve aimed to leave the game better than when they started. They’re truly amazing role models on and off the field. 

What advice do you have for women or non-binary individuals entering the technology industry?

Never forget that passion and inspiration that sparked your interest in what you do. We’ll all go through wonderful times and challenging times, but doing what you do with genuine passion & heart shows through no matter what. Go get ‘em!


Tiffany Wong | Software Engineer

What inspired your interest in tech?

Customizing my MySpace profile back in the day, that was honestly the reason why I kept refusing to make a Facebook for the longest time.

Who is an influential woman or non-binary person that you think people should know?

Frida Kahlo is an amazing painter and activist who faced many difficulties in life but didn’t give up on the things she was passionate about. She is also proof that life isn’t binary, that it’s possible to break out of the mold that society set for you.

What advice do you have for women or non-binary individuals entering the technology industry?

It can be intimidating, but don’t be afraid to ask questions and answer questions! Things will also start making sense once you give yourself time to process.


Alyssa Shadinger | Director of Finance

What inspired your interest in tech?

Technology increases access to information and opportunities for billions of people. Communities all over the globe benefit from new advancements and applications of technology in healthcare, employment, communications, arts and entertainment, and so many other aspects of daily life. This idea that my work will contribute to a better quality of life is what drew me to the tech industry.

Who is an influential woman or non-binary person that you think people should know?

An influential woman I think people should know about is Cathy Engelbert, commissioner of the WNBA and former CEO of Deloitte, the largest accounting firm in the US with over 100,000 employees. 

While Engelbert was CEO, Deloitte increased parental and family leave to 16 weeks. In addition to advocating for families, Engelbert increased revenue over 30% during her four-year tenure as CEO and redirected the firm’s investments into emerging technologies including robotic process automation and blockchain. 

I admire that Cathy was able to accomplish so much and then pivot away from professional services and turn her passion for basketball into a new career path. The sports industry has a long way to go to meet gender parity, and I look forward to seeing the impact her leadership will have on the league. 

What advice do you have for women or non-binary individuals entering the technology industry?

Be yourself and know your value. Tech companies need diversity of thought in order to thrive, so if you have an informed but nonconforming opinion on a business or technical issue, make it known. Do your homework about the segments of the industry and specific roles that interest you. Chances are you have or are cultivating a high-demand skill set, don’t undersell yourself.


If you want to learn a little more about Linode, visit our careers page. 

Comments (2)

  1. Theo Nga

    Thank you for sharing Wonderful stories

  2. Craig

    “Do it the hard way. This is the best way to learn!”

    Amen!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *