Meet ChickTech Board Member Jennie Leigh
Jennie Leigh has been involved with ChickTech since 2014, where she helped our Bay Area chapter get up and running. Learn more about Jennie!
In the last year, ChickTech’s Board of Directors has welcomed several new members into the team, all tech professionals passionate about empowering womxn in STEM. Today, we caught up with one of our longest-serving board members, Jennie Leigh, to hear her ChickTech story. Jennie has served on the ChickTech Board of Directors since December 2018, and has been involved with the local Bay Area ChickTech chapter since its inception in 2014. Over her 20 years at Akamai Technologies, she rose to the role of Vice President of Customer Experience & Marketing Operations, where she leads teams responsible for customer listening programs, marketing operations, sales team training, and more.
Get to know Jennie better and learn how she came to ChickTech:
Q: How did you first get involved with ChickTech?
A: It was 2014 – I was doing a ton of hiring at work for a new department we were standing up and I was so disappointed to be getting almost zero women applicants. I was beating up HR about it, and they kind of shrugged and said they couldn’t find anyone. I was frustrated enough that I felt like I had to do something else. So I was researching volunteer opportunities and I came across Chicktech, who was in the process of standing up their Bay Area chapter. ChickTech’s founder was in town that week interviewing new Chapter Leads, and I offered to help with that recruitment effort. I ended up in sort of a “den mother” role for the chapter: advising the team, helping with leadership transitions, and supporting the events however I could help.
Q: What part of the ChickTech mission are you most passionate about?
A: When I think about solving the problem of not having enough womxn in tech, I come at it like I would solve a problem in a typical enterprise “sales funnel” – you need to improve things at the top, middle and bottom of the funnel. You need to get more womxn interested in technology careers, then you need to make sure you attract them to your company, then you need to retain and grow them. So I feel strongly that you need to have programs targeted at each one of those stages. I haven’t come across a better program than ChickTech when it comes to that “top of the funnel” issue. I have seen the minds changing right before my eyes via the amazing programs that it puts on.
Q: What motivated you to move from volunteering with the Bay Area chapter into your role as a board member?
A: When ChickTech’s founder, Janice Levenhagen-Seeley, asked me to serve as a board member, I was daunted. I had never served on a non-profit board before, and I was worried about whether I was the right fit for it, and whether the timing was right. At that time, the organization was going through a rough patch, and it seemed like it was going to be a challenge to pull out of. But Janice was persistent in asking me to join, and I am glad that I agreed to do it, because it’s been very rewarding to see ChickTech’s transformation occur. And now I realize that having a mix of people on the board who have non-profit experience, along with those who have real on-the-ground experience volunteering in the chapters serves us well. It really helps to have both perspectives present in all of our conversations.
Q: Tell us about your horse! Can we see a pic?
A: Haha. I have two horses today – Kyra and Ace. Kyra lives right near me in Oakland and I ride her almost every day. Ace is retired and living his best life in a friend’s field up by Sacramento and learning how to be a western trail pony.