Code Like A Girl - Interview with Dinah Davis

Dinah Davis

VP of research and development operations at Arctic Wolf and the founder of
Code Like a Girl, a volunteer-based organization that aims to amplify the
voices of women in technology, talks about her experiences in cybersecurity
and how women can be empowered from a young age to overcome the “STEM cliff.”

About Code Like A Girl

Welcome to Code Like A Girl, a space that celebrates women in technology. We
hope to achieve this by amplifying the voices of women and their allies! We
want to amplify your voice! We are looking for both technical articles and
stories about tech. We want to help show off your technical prowess! We want
stories to help other women navigate the world of tech, encourage young women
to pursue a career in tech, help parents and teachers get young girls
interested in technology, and inform male allies how they can help.

Excerpts from the Decipher Interview

Lindsey O’Donnell-Welch: What do you think about the role of mentorship in
all this?

Dinah Davis: The topic of mentorship is one of my biggest pet peeves.

[Y]ou need people in your life that are supporting you … and if they also
have been through the same thing as you it’s a bonus.

[T]he more important thing to me than having a mentor is having a sponsor.
So a sponsor inside the company you’re working for - or outside can work too
- the more you have a sponsor inside the company, somebody who’s rooting for
you, somebody who is going to say good things about you when you aren’t in
the room to other people, that is very very powerful.


With regards to what Dinah refers to as sponsorship, I’ve seen how strong the
effects of it are. A person outside the company who was weak on paper got hired
because of a sponsor inside the company. And, on the other hand, I’ve seen
someone who worked hard but was not well-liked get marginalized and they
eventually left.

Also, Dinah relates a story–that I have not quoted here–about a bad boss.

I think the lesson is you can’t fix a bad relationship at work. The best places
to look for opportunities are the places where you have sponsors. And a good
use of time is to invest in good relationships: places and people where you are
wanted and supported.