Tech Queens

Episode 10. Michell Brito

In this episode, I’m talking with Michell Brito — a software engineering intern at Adobe.




Mini Takeaways

#AppAdvice What is a useful app or platform that has helped you grow in your career?

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook Groups like Rewriting the Code

#Friendlies What is an organization or affinity group that you would recommend joining?

  • Code2040 because of the work they’re doing and the results I see come from their programs

#GrowYourNetwork Where do you live online or how can people reach out to you?

Episode Description

In this episode, I’m talking with Michell Brito — a software engineering intern at Adobe.

References and links can be found on the website at


Frances Coronel

00:00 Oh, okay, great. So starting record to the cloud. And I’m going to start with the beginning. And yeah, again, feel free to interrupt me if you notice anything off.

00:13 Alright so hello and welcome to the tech queens podcast a podcast focus on featuring stories and advice from women of color in tech in episode 11 I’m talking with Michelle Brito a software engineering intern at Adobe welcome Michelle.

Michell Brito

00:29 Hey friends, thanks for having me.

Frances Coronel

00:31 Yeah, no worries. Thanks again for taking the time out of your Monday to be on tech queens today. I really appreciate it. So, Michelle, tell us what’s your story.

Michell Brito

00:42 Well, I’m a originally from let me start over.

Frances Coronel

00:46 Okay, no worries.

Michell Brito

00:48 I’m originally from Dominican Republic moved to New York, when I was six years old and I got into tech at a very young age, and that

01:01 Okay, let’s start from the top.

Frances Coronel

01:03 Okay. Yeah, no worries. So let me go ahead and start with, like, okay.

01:09 So tell us, Michelle. What’s your story.

Michell Brito

01:12 Yeah, I’m originally from Dominican Republic moved to New York, when I was six years old.

01:18 I was always, I was always getting into trouble.

01:23 So I’m trying to read trying to read that, like what I have, like, what’s your story. Okay.

Frances Coronel

01:28 Oh yeah, but you don’t have to go like, you know, directly off it if you don’t want to, like, yeah, just feel free to like make it you know your own but like it’s okay to have this as a reference as well.

01:41 Yeah.

Michell Brito

01:41 I got it this time.

Frances Coronel

01:42 Okay, cool.

Michell Brito

01:47 Yeah, I’m originally from Dominican Republic moved to New York, when I was six years old.

01:52 I got into computers at a young age, I would always get into trouble because the programs, I would download usually had a virus. And as a result, I had to sort of learn how to remove them. And so I wouldn’t get in trouble anymore. So that’s sort of my story and how I got into tech.

Frances Coronel

02:12 So by viruses. You mean like things that would make your computer like filled up with pop ups. Is that what you mean.

Michell Brito

02:21 Yeah, like it would be pop ups, it would be

02:26 Just like viruses that would make my computer like very slow and there was like one virus, particularly, which would like shut my computer down for whatever reason, that was. And so I just had to sort of like reinstall my operating system and hopefully never get that virus back

Frances Coronel

02:47 That’s a super like unique way of heard of someone getting into tech.

Michell Brito

02:52 Yeah.

Frances Coronel

02:52 I’ve just like yeah dealing with viruses and, you know, trying to get rid of them. And yeah, that’s how I got into it.

02:59 super funny. Um, yeah. When I was growing up, my mom would, that would happen. Her sometimes and also my siblings too.

03:07 And I was like, basically the tech savvy person in the family. So people would just always come to me.

03:13 And be like, hey, my computer is really slow. For some reason, it’s like yeah well you downloaded some malware or something stupid like that. So yeah, that’s really cool. And what are you currently up to now.

Michell Brito

03:28 Right now I’m pursuing my master’s degree in CS at Texas a&m

Frances Coronel

03:33 That’s amazing. What, like I guess motivated you to get a masters degree because I think that there is this sort of narrative in the tech industry where it’s like, oh, you know, you can survive with just a bachelor’s like that’s completely enough. What motivated you to go that extra step.

Michell Brito

03:49 Yeah, so I was fortunate enough to get a scholarship in order to pursue my master’s degree in CS and the reason why I even wanted to sort of get my masters is because I went to like

04:03 A city schools, sort of, not that well known at least like an all the other parts in the US. So I felt like in order to like get more opportunities and I would say get better at coding or like software engineering in general, I wanted to like pursue my master’s degree.

Frances Coronel

04:25 Mm hmm. And you’re in your first year right

Michell Brito

04:28 Yep. Going to go to my first semester this fall.

Frances Coronel

04:31 Oh my god. Okay, so you’re just about to start. Oh my gosh.

04:34 Yeah. And is it a two year program.

Michell Brito

04:37 Yep, it’s a two year program, maybe one and a half. Like, if I take a summer, which I don’t think I am.

Frances Coronel

04:44 Mm hmm. Yep. And you’re currently interning at Adobe for the summer, right. Yep.

Michell Brito

04:49 As a software engineer specifically on their magenta software.

Unknown Speaker

04:55 Hmm.

Frances Coronel

04:57 What’s the magenta software. I’ve never heard of that. Yeah.

Michell Brito

05:00 So my gentle Adobe’s magenta software. It was basically a e commerce software and then it Adobe bought them.

05:11 So,

05:12 Like before it was its own company Adobe sort of got into the whole e commerce, industry and just bought a woman gentle and so then they had office in Austin. And that’s where they’re located.

Frances Coronel

05:28 Oh, okay. Gotcha. Okay, cool. And where’s your family from

Michell Brito

05:33 My family’s from Santiago Dominican Republic.

Frances Coronel

05:37 So do you. Did you grow up in the States.

Michell Brito

05:40 Yeah, I grew up, but I was born there, and I came to the US. When I was six years old.

Frances Coronel

05:47 Okay, great. Yeah. My family is from Peru. So my dad is from Lima. And then my mom is from Buda and they both came here in their 20s to study and then my siblings and I were born here. But yeah, sort of similar story, you know,

06:07 What was your favorite part about growing up.

Michell Brito

06:10 My favorite part about growing up, I would say at least when I got to the US was sort of

06:16 Playing video games because you know as like someone who didn’t know English when I first got here and I didn’t have any other siblings at that time.

06:26 I sort of like had to spend my time doing something, you know, because that would be by myself. So I found video games to be that bridge for me.

06:35 I would play online. I would play like by myself. And that’s just how the things that I did growing up and watching YouTube videos when like it on its early stages, back when

06:50 There was like

06:52 Not a lot of like, sort of like ads.

06:56 On YouTube and it was just started to get ramped up

Frances Coronel

07:00 In the heyday back in the heyday. Yeah, yeah. YouTube is so powerful. Honestly, like it was a great acquisition by Google, because I think that

07:09 There was this article I read maybe last year and it’s it showed how of all the online platforms.

07:16 That for Generation Z or anyone born after 1996 I think that YouTube was one of the most popular platforms, you know, for the basically the, the next generation.

07:29 Of digital folks. So I thought that was really cool. Um, yeah, I mean like I have a YouTube premium subscription for my family because they use it a lot, and especially my mom and dad for some reason.

07:43 So yeah, what kind of games did you play when you were growing up.

Michell Brito

07:47 Yeah, I played like Call of Duty. Basically, I know it sounds bad, but like

07:52 first person shooter games.

07:56 Like I’m very competitive. So like when I would go into these lobbies and, you know,

08:03 Like all of us little kids like yelling at each other.

08:06 Because like I was just into that community.

Frances Coronel

08:11 That’s hilarious.

Unknown Speaker

08:12 Yeah.

Frances Coronel

08:13 Do you feel like there’s any tension now like being a female woman like a minority woman in tech and kind of like knowing

08:21 That there’s a lot of folks in the gaming industry that you know experienced sexism and stuff. Did you ever experience any of that, or is it, like, is that something that you discovered much later on.

Michell Brito

08:34 While playing video games.

Frances Coronel

08:36 Yeah.

Michell Brito

08:37 Yeah, like people like

08:40 Us as kids like if you were a female and you got into like a gaming lobby, everyone would be like it’s a girl, it’s a girl and like like they’ll be like, Are you a girl are you not so like that sort of aspect.

08:54 Yeah, but I guess not. Nothing crazy, just because at that time.

09:01 Everyone was like so young, at least the lobbies that I would get into

09:06 But definitely

09:08 Some sort of that experience. Yes.

Frances Coronel

09:11 Hmm. Gotcha. Yeah, when I was growing up, I, I didn’t understand that there was like a problem with gender in gaming until like when I got older and I would start reading you know about the news and you know I’d hear about it in different articles.

09:28 Then there was like the whole gamer gate. I think that was called scandal and issues with like Riot Games and Epic Games and I learned about how the gaming industry is like super

09:41 I guess unhealthy for a lot of workers because they get go through a lot of burnout and then they get fired.

09:47 And this was like, not on my radar at all like growing up, of course, like and playing rinse scape that was like my go to when I was younger, like enable yeah room escape. And then once the other one wizard one on one. I don’t know if you ever heard about that one.

10:01 No one’s really lame knocking.

10:06 anyone I’ve ever talked about to about that one who actually knew about it was like really you play it back. I also played Pirates of the Caribbean online, um,

10:18 And this is all during like middle school. So yeah, I can resonate. I never played shooter games though. I was like, Oh, that’s too much for me. So

Michell Brito

10:27 Yeah, yeah, I was like one of the unique people that actually, for some reason, got into those kind of games.

Frances Coronel

10:35 Yeah, but I mean it’s totally fine. Um, so what do you like to do for fun now or what are you passionate about outside of school.

Michell Brito

10:43 I like sports a lot. Um, I like watching a plane it specifically basketball.

10:50 I really got into it back in middle school and then sort of transitioned it into high school and just been with it ever since.

Frances Coronel

10:59 Mm hmm. Was there like a pivot moment where you went from like video games to sports or was it just like, no, you can do both, like at the same time.

Michell Brito

11:08 Yeah, so I was really into video games like throughout Middle School. And so like ninth grade. It started like, you know, slowing down. And I guess because of schoolwork, and we just, you know, trying to be with

11:24 Crowd and school I got into basketball and just sort of like it kept grown every year. And then I tried out for the team had didn’t make it. But, you know, still enjoyed it.

Frances Coronel

11:40 Right, right. Okay, cool. Oh, and just an FYI. You did break up a little bit. So we might have to cut some of that out but that’s it was a lower priority question.

11:50 Alright, so moving on. Thence shifting gears a little bit. What experiences drew you to technology beyond just like oh hey having to deal with viruses and stuff.

12:02 Like, was there any person or organization or was it kind of just like you and your own initiative, like exploring tech. How did, how did it come to be

Michell Brito

12:13 Yeah, so I think besides the virus, it was, it was be just on my own, like on just like researching. So I mentioned how like I would be on YouTube a lot of time so

12:26 There’s a lot of like how to videos back in the days on like Photoshop and there was this specific YouTuber called

12:35 Vivi comp helps Levy, where he would like make Photoshop videos and also like how to videos on like how to repair. So I found them.

12:46 Because of the virus videos. But then he would upload photo shops and then I got into that and then I found other YouTubers that sort of did also like tutorials on like Adobe products and I just kept going.

Frances Coronel

13:02 Okay, so it’s kind of nice then like, now you’re actually like working for the company where with the products that you spend so much time in like initially right

Michell Brito

13:12 Yeah, and like one of the YouTubers that like I saw back in the day. He’s actually a UX designer at Adobe

Frances Coronel

13:21 Oh, wow. No way.

Michell Brito

13:22 Yeah.

Frances Coronel

13:23 Work with him at all or is he

Michell Brito

13:24 On, I believe, San Francisco office.

13:29 But you know, I can pretty much to slack and having done so, cuz not sure what to say.

Frances Coronel

13:36 Yeah, just be like, super casual Hey dude, I like watch your videos when I was younger. Thanks for being awesome or something, I don’t know, make his day a little bit. Nice.

Michell Brito

13:47 Yeah definitely have to

Frances Coronel

13:48 Yeah. Before before you leave your internship.

13:52 Take a quick little DM when you’re, um, so what, when you actually did end up starting really to study, I guess, computer science.

14:04 What ended up happening because it. I see that you experienced classrooms that were like majority male, which is a very common experience, you know, being a woman and even worse like as a woman of color.

14:21 How, how did you deal with that. Did you do you feel like you assimilated or how to do kind of, I don’t know internalize that

Michell Brito

14:30 Yeah, so I went to a specialized not a specialized high school but like a high school about computers. So, even from then on, like, I would say there was only probably like 5% of females in my high school like total. So I was sort of, you know, four years of that got used to like being

14:58 Like not as many females in the classroom and that basically made all the females like sort of grow closer

15:09 And like no drama, whatever. So when I went to college and I sort of experienced the same thing where I was sort of used to it and like going going to high school with majority of boys like it made me like stand up for myself and like not be pushed around

15:30 Because you know like back like in high school, like you know you had the bullies and the comments and

15:37 I was the type to like never back down from those situations.

15:43 Like if someone says something I would say something back, you know, never hold

15:48 Like never go back. And so when I went to college, I sort of had that same mentality and you know I was dating myself but always express my opinion and and if I knew this needed to be done this way, then I would just do it.

Unknown Speaker

16:04 Mm hmm.

Frances Coronel

16:05 Okay, yeah.

16:07 So you basically staying really had strong like throughout throughout the process, I guess.

Michell Brito

16:14 Exactly, yeah.

Frances Coronel

16:15 Hmm. Interesting. I mean, yeah, it was the same way for me. I think I actually wasn’t even interested in computer science until like

16:25 My senior year of high school, and there was like no one else interested. So it’s like really good actually that you got into a school like that, I guess, prioritize that.

16:38 Although it’s unfortunate that you know is mostly male. It sounds like even those mostly male

16:43 The girls that were there the few that were there like group together and actually had each other’s back, which I think is a really positive dynamic

16:53 If you’re under represented like you have your strength in numbers and like backing each other up.

16:59 I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that, because I think there was always enough women where that wasn’t like really the case.

17:06 But I think it’s great that you had like sort of that mentality and it kind of helped you stay headstrong throughout

17:14 Because I think that’s something like sort of just that dynamic and experience of having a majority male dominated environment doesn’t resonate with some women all the time. So it’s really I think positive and optimistic that you were able to

17:32 You know, get over that barrier, I think, I think that’s really good.

Michell Brito

17:37 Yeah, definitely.

Frances Coronel

17:39 And what challenges or obstacles have you faced since then, if any.

Michell Brito

17:45 Yeah, so being afraid to speak up, because we sort of went from like college to like the industry. Right. So these people have

17:55 Bunch of experience. They know what they’re doing inside and now. And so, so you sort of get this like mentality. Like, I should just like, you know, be quiet, not speak up.

18:07 So I’m trying to do a better job at that. If I know that something can be done better.

18:15 Whether it’s like on a one on one. I will try to bring it up doesn’t always happen but definitely trying to get better at that.

Frances Coronel

18:23 Mm hmm.

18:25 Yeah, I think having the confidence to speak up, has been a common thing that a lot of women of color, at least on this podcasts that I’ve noticed anecdotally have struggled with including myself.

18:37 I have to include myself in that because it is true, like when you’re in a room full of people you feel like have a lot more experience than you.

18:46 Or even if they don’t have a lot more experience in the room, but they like shine really confidently and they kind of have their place really confidently.

18:56 It is you kind of do question like what do I add to the table right now, or how can I express my opinion in a way that people will take me seriously.

19:08 So I don’t think it’s unique to maybe like women of color, but it definitely like affects us more just like having that more more of that confidence.

19:19 It’s definitely something I think that we have to build towards but it’s good that you even acknowledged it um, in my opinion, like just being afraid.

19:27 To speak up sometimes acknowledging that and then trying to get better at it. Like, what more can you do. I think that’s still really good stuff.

Michell Brito

19:35 Yeah, definitely. It’s the only way to get better.

Frances Coronel

19:38 Yeah. And what group strategies or tools. Have you used to overcome sort of that that confidence.

19:46 Or that fear I guess of speaking up sometimes

Michell Brito

19:49 Yeah, so at times like I would go like, and speak to the person one on one, and like just express like my ideas and sort of like, get feedback or what what’s good and what’s not good about my idea or like if it is good. Totally. Then how to implement it.

20:11 Also just talking to other people, like in general like getting more comfortable with them has been also helpful because I feel like if I’m more comfortable with someone then like I won’t hesitate to like speak my mind or like ask questions and that sort of thing.

Frances Coronel

20:32 Okay, cool. And have you joined any other communities to that have helped you like feel more connected

Michell Brito

20:40 Yeah, can we know these such as code 2040 that good. He have like made it sort of like a safe space for me to like, you know, connect with others see that I’m not the only one that’s like maybe going through something and just seeing like everyone’s advice.

Frances Coronel

21:02 And were you part of a code 20 cohort and also what is code 2040 and tech Korea for those who don’t know, yeah.

Michell Brito

21:08 So I wasn’t a cohort for code 2040 I was a part of their tech track.

21:17 Which is just like, sort of like a week long tour of like companies in the Bay Area. Mm hmm. And just about how we can sort of get into them and what they’re doing for minorities, but

21:33 Is basically a nonprofit organization that is trying to

21:41 combat the problem of like minority representation in these companies.

21:47 Mm hmm. And they do so by helping minorities get internship that these companies exposing minorities to these companies and what they’re doing to help minorities.

22:01 So that’s called and the Getty, I’m sure you know, but it’s a community.

22:10 Of Latin eggs individuals from tech and not necessarily tech, some of them aren’t. But just like a community that’s together. And it’s just there for each other like through networking opportunities advice on career, that sort of thing.

Frances Coronel

22:31 Yeah, no, I mean I am familiar with the organizations, but I always like to see like, what’s, what does this other person you know say about code 2040 yeah for code 2040 I was just saying, like,

22:43 Let’s get more black and Latinx software engineers like that’s, that’s my like pitch for code 2040 in my head. And then for tech idea naturally I’m super bias there because

22:56 I’m an executive director and also a board member. But essentially, in my head. The pitch for Checker is always like 501 c three nonprofit that serves the largest community of Latinx and tech

23:09 Through all those like avenues that you talked about and then many more in the pipes. So yeah, no, thank you for that explanation and I’m really glad you’re able to like get benefit from both of those organizations. I love both of the organization. I’ve been involved with them.

23:27 And I think it’s super crucial that we have those and like continue to be a part of them and grow them and refer them to other people because unfortunately

23:37 There are some there are very few organizations that cater to like black and Latinx people in tech in general. So, the ones that we do have, like, I just cherish them so much.

23:50 Yeah, so if you could give any advice to your younger self as you were starting out, what would it be

Michell Brito

23:56 I would tell my younger self to start coding at an earlier age and be more curious because I would like see these like

24:08 Photoshop tutorials. But there was also some, like, you know, coding ones and at a young age, like I would try them. But I guess I didn’t have the patience for whenever run into, like, an error.

24:20 And like I was sort of give up.

24:24 Still have that issue. Now we’re like I get frustrated with an error. So I would say definitely start coding at a yet at a younger age.

Frances Coronel

24:32 Um, I think there is a narrative that you know the the most successful folks like started out really early.

24:40 But I feel like at the same time, we want to encourage folks from any level to like be able to enter the tech industry, you know, regardless of their background. I don’t know if you’re familiar with coding boot camps at all.

24:54 Yes. Okay, so for those who don’t know coding boot camps are on average four month long programs that basically ramp you up to become a junior developer

25:04 Through like a super intensive, kind of like school like structure where you’re constantly in lectures and you’re doing projects, yada, yada.

25:14 And so ideally after the formal program you like are able to get a junior developer role and I actually did.

25:21 Like what you’re doing, which is you know the the bachelor’s and master’s in computer science, but I also pursued this like informal path through the coding boot camp.

25:31 And most of the folks who were in this coding boot camp with me at the time.

25:35 Were folks who already had a bachelor’s degree in something else. But then they decided, like they wanted to become an engineer, and they wanted to get into tech.

25:44 And, you know, they were way older than me at the time, like maybe in their 30s, for the most part, or late 20s and

25:53 They were super successful like after the coding boot camp. So I think that while I do agree that the earlier the better at the same time, I want to acknowledge that regardless of your age. Ideally, you should still be able to get into the tech industry and like be able to thrive as well.

Michell Brito

26:12 Yeah, definitely. I think

26:15 The people that do these coding boot camps. They have like, sort of like this different motivation, right, that is, like, these things are like few fueling them to like make it through and like give it their best and

26:30 Whether it’s like they want to change jobs from like the ones that they currently have. And that’s, like, sort of like motivating them to like, you know, put it, put their all into this coding boot camp and just learn as much as possible.

26:44 Definitely

Frances Coronel

26:45 Yeah, and I’ve seen like so many people, you know, after a couple years like end up in the same place as like CS graduates, which I think is really interesting. There’s just a lot going on within the

26:58 The, the, the space of like educating people for these like these important careers in technology. And I’m wondering how what the best path is going to end up being

27:11 Because there’s also this whole conversation around college and ROI and like the increasing cost of college. Thankfully, you got a scholarship. So it’s not an issue for you.

Michell Brito

27:20 Yeah.

Frances Coronel

27:20 For other people. It’s like costs and the hell. A lot of money to even get a bachelor’s degree. I’m like, Is it worth it, though, especially if it’s not in STEM, unfortunately.

27:32 Yeah. But anyway, that’s, that’s all my two cents, they’re

27:36 Moving on to the next question. What do you think can be done to create a safer space for women of color in the tech industry.

Michell Brito

27:44 Yeah, so I would say definitely have like the person, the head of diversity inclusion, you know, the person who has that title actually be a minority and

27:55 Basically pledge to have like 50% females 50% males from all races from all race or religion just because I’m a firm believer that like having like different religions and races and females and males, sort of, like, get you thinking in a different way.

Frances Coronel

28:17 Mm hmm.

Michell Brito

28:19 Maybe you weren’t thinking about how to solve this problem this way but you know someone else on the team could

Frances Coronel

28:28 Uh huh. So do you have you found that like there are some companies out there that don’t have a head of diversity, who’s like a minority.

Michell Brito

28:38 Yes, but I don’t want to, like, you know,

28:41 Pick them up. Yeah, yeah.

Frances Coronel

28:43 No. Totally fair. I haven’t seen that as much. But what I have heard is that for folks, or rather for companies that do have a head of DNI

28:53 or something along those lines. They’re just not very well supported. So they’re basically, you know, there’s this role for them. And it’s just one person, but they’re not really being set up for success. So

29:07 I mean I have very limited like experience in Indian I guess the DNI space and also just like those kind of roles.

29:17 But yeah, for me, I would also want to make sure the head of diversity is a minority to like be able to empathize with situations, could you define what you mean by by naughty, though.

Michell Brito

29:29 Yeah. So when I say minorities, I mean Latinx

29:37 Females

29:40 Basically any anyone that’s not an not

29:48 Sorry, let me try to wear this. Yeah.

Frances Coronel

29:49 No worries. No worries.

Michell Brito

29:52 Yeah, so by a minority, I would say like females that you know are Hispanic

29:59 That are black.

30:03 And

Frances Coronel

30:09 We can skip that question.

Michell Brito

30:10 Okay, yeah.

Frances Coronel

30:11 Yeah, I can do like so by minority or can we clarify what you mean there. Do you mean like someone who identifies as Latinx or black or Pacific Islander or Native American

30:28 Because I think there’s some, I guess, like, for me, it’s kind of hard because in my for minorities in tech that also includes women.

30:37 But then there’s this narrative that when you’re talking about women in tech. It’s actually we’re talking about white women.

30:44 And there has been a lot of focus on gender equality, not so much on racial equality, though, when it comes to like the question of diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. So I was just like, wondering what your take on that was or if you have any thoughts around that.

Michell Brito

31:02 Yeah, I definitely agree with that with the that when I say minority referring to Latinx black females and males also more specifically females, because we are the on the unrepresentative group.

31:19 In tech

31:21 So having a female that Latinx or black being the head of diversity.

31:28 Not only she saw sort of can relate, you know, to all these different groups and just put the best effort out there.

Frances Coronel

31:41 Mm hmm. Yeah. And I mean I think that leads right into my next question, which is, like, how does your specific international intersection of identity as a Latina as like a, you know, Latin next woman affect how you relate to women in tech groups in general.

31:59 Yeah.

Michell Brito

31:59 So being a Hispanic woman in tech there isn’t really a lot of other Hispanic woman that I’ve seen, like, you know, it’s very rare.

32:11 So just having someone to connect you know like these Hispanic things

32:17 The culture and

32:19 Similar things that we did when we were young, isn’t there.

32:25 As much as I would like it to be. But I think the more we sort of express like Tegan just get these female Hispanic woman involved. I think it could get better.

Frances Coronel

32:41 Huh, yeah. And I mean, the Bureau of Labor reported back in 2016 I believe that of the women in computing only 1% identify as Latina

32:52 At the time, so I mean anecdotally. From what you’ve said, but just also statistically. We are extremely underrepresented and the numbers say that

33:04 So I can empathize with your situation. I think for me, what really helps with that sort of sense of isolation.

33:15 Is the groups that I’m a part of. And I think that’s why I’m so passionate about the work that I do with decade. Yes, specifically because you know I want that community to be like

33:29 What you can go to, even if you’re the only like Latin X person in your workplace. Like, literally, if you’re the only one dealing with those issues. You can still go

33:39 To tech Korea and find like other people who are dealing with this similar issues or can like at least relate to you somehow. Um, so yeah, I completely relate to that.

Michell Brito

33:52 Yeah, definitely.

Frances Coronel

33:54 In Hold on, let me think about this because I want to have a good transition here. Yeah, let me think. So you don’t have a specific woman who inspires you, so maybe we can skip that question.

Michell Brito

34:07 Yeah, okay. Yeah, yeah. Let’s see.

Frances Coronel

34:16 So even though we are extremely isolated sometimes as Latinas in the tech industry for you. I would want to ask, Michelle, like, what do you think that

34:30 Young women need to know here see to consider technology as a career option and like what would have made you pursue technology, when you were much younger. If you were like, reflecting on your own life.

34:44 Because I think that will also lead us to the answer to the question, like, how can we just get more Latinas interested in tech earlier as well.

Michell Brito

34:54 Yeah, so I would say definitely having, you know, mentorship at for these younger girls letting them know like the roles in tech and

35:05 What does that entail being a software engineer, you know, the good, the bad, right. We don’t want to just tell them all the good and then they sort of get into it and they’re sort of like blindsided so I

35:17 Think that just

35:18 making them aware of both the good and bad, and how they can sort of, you know, overcome those struggles and just letting them know that if they do want to get into tech. It isn’t going to be easy, but you know there’s definitely ways to get better and not have that feeling.

Unknown Speaker

35:41 Mm hmm.

Frances Coronel

35:42 So is there any programs that you know off the top your head that do help that like the mentoring of younger girls.

Michell Brito


35:56 Call. Let me double check one on

Frances Coronel

35:59 Okay, no worries.

Michell Brito

36:02 I just want to make sure I get this right. Yeah. Okay, I got it.

36:07 Yeah, so I think one off the top of my head is Girls Who Code. So there are nonprofit who just like teach and expose a young woman to tech and stem in general. So I think

36:24 What they’re doing like a sort of like what I’m referring to where like, you know, mentorship at the young age, exposing them what it’s like in tech and what coding involved and that sort of thing.

Frances Coronel

36:39 Okay, brilliant. And of course, like, because we’re so we’re there’s very few of us, there’s a lot of opportunities for allies to help out.

36:49 Because the majority of the tech industry would still fall under being an ally. So someone who does not identify as a woman of color. So how do you think a more privileged ally can help us out. Help us thrive more in a in an industry where we’re not being really catered to

Michell Brito

37:08 Yeah, I would say if the person is able to make sure that the voices of the minorities are heard selective the minority isn’t speaking up like say, what do you think

37:20 Michelle like sort of like forcing them to like, you know, speak up and make sure like their voice their voices are heard.

37:29 I think that’s a good thing because sometimes as minorities, we tend to like, you know, be quiet and meeting. So, absent for our opinions would sort of like, you know, force us to express ourselves and, you know, have our opinions be heard in the meeting.

37:46 And also,

37:48 Just educate themselves. What I mean by that is like what issues are happening, how can they help

37:58 How can they lend a hand just educating themselves.

Frances Coronel

38:03 Mm hmm. And by educating themselves. Can you elaborate on that.

Michell Brito

38:09 Yeah. So when I say educate themselves. I mean, be aware of the events that are happening, how they can help and just understanding that the minorities are there and how they can basically make their lives.

38:29 In the like being a minority, sort of like easier on them.

Frances Coronel

38:37 Yeah, okay. Um, is there anything I left out that you’d like to address before we get into our many takeaways.

38:45 No. Okay. Brilliant. Alright, so the mini takeaway section really fast. It’s just short and sweet answers and it’s just a way of wrapping up. So the first mini takeaway question is what is a useful app or platform that has helped you grow in your career.

Michell Brito

39:05 I would say LinkedIn and just Facebook groups.

Frances Coronel

39:11 Okay, and it would just like to connect with the community.

Michell Brito

39:14 Yeah, there’s like rewriting the code that’s one of the Facebook groups that I’m a part of and that just has a lot of women in tech. So just having that community also LinkedIn to network and connect with recruiters and see other opportunities.

Frances Coronel

39:34 Rewriting the code. I’ve never heard that one. So check it out. Cool. And what is an organization or affinity group that you’d recommend joining and why

Michell Brito

39:44 Definitely cold.

39:47 Just because of the work that they’re doing and they’re very passionate and I can see the result that it’s that it’s creating

Unknown Speaker

39:58 Mm hmm.

Frances Coronel

39:59 Yeah, plus one to that. And finally, the last mini takeaway question, where do you live, online or how can people reach out to you.

Michell Brito

40:08 Yeah, I live on Twitter at Michelle de Brito and on LinkedIn at Michelle dash Brito

Frances Coronel

40:18 Okay, brilliant. And I’ll share those links in the episode notes as well.

40:22 Thanks again. Michelle for being on the tech queens podcast. I really appreciate it. I hope you have a great rest of your week

Michell Brito

40:30 Thanks. You too, Francis

Frances Coronel

40:31 All right. Cheers.

40:33 Cheers. Alright, so I’m going to stop the recording. Do you want to stop. Powered by

By Frances Coronel

Frances Coronel is a software engineer specializing in UI development on the Customer Acquisition Team at Slack where her mission is to make your working life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.

She has been working professionally as a developer since 2015 and holds a Bachelors in Computer Science from Hampton University and a Masters in Computer Science from Cornell Tech.

Outside of Slack, Frances is an Executive Director of Techqueria, a 501c3 nonprofit that serves the largest community of Latinx in Tech in the US.

She also supports Code Nation as a member of their Bay Area Leadership Council and the Latino Community Foundation as a member of their Latinos in Tech Giving Circle.