Creating and Cultivating in Portlandia!

I had the pleasure to speak at Create & Cultivate’s pop-up conference at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront this past week. The best part? I had three incredible panelists with me, including, Grace Mahary, Karen Okonkwo, and Heather Lipner, where we each were able to share our trials and triumphs with being women in STEM!

Photo credit: @deannaraephoto

Photo credit: @deannaraephoto

Getting to discuss my personal story of where I got to where I am with was so wonderful o share, but I truly enjoyed getting to know the other women on the panel with me and how they each want to better the tech industry for the future of women!

Similar to my interests in the fashion world, Heather Lipner decided to make Augmented Reality + Fashion a trend. She went on to discuss the same frustrations most women in our field have with raising money at her company, Drawsta, such as “when you go and try to raise you’re almost always talking to a man and they don’t understand the female perspective.”


Grace Mahary spoke on behalf of, Project Tsehigh (PjT), which is her nonprofit organization that is dedicated to providing energy to remote communities throughout the world. She put it in perspective how wonderful it is that we live in a world of technology as it can help us give back to the places that truly need help.

“To think that you can't wake up every day and have facilities that run consistently— that’s how I became passionate about it.”

One of my favorite quotes of the night was from Karen Okonkwo of TONL, when explaining how her company uses stock photography to display images of diverse people and their stories. Karen said, “Be your own Dora the Explorer and teach yourself.”


No matter who you are, or where you come from, your diversity and your knowledge can never be taken from you!

Overall, I had the ABSOLUTE best time getting to know these women and speaking at Create & Cultivate. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and just as I said last night, "I'm going to empower myself and make it my mission to empower others."