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Randi Zuckerberg on the Future of Women in the Technology World

Photo: Courtesy of Randi Zuckerberg

She talks never-ending education, working in technology and being a female entrepreneur.

What role did your education play in your current success?

While I owe a great deal to my incredible formal education and an even greater deal to my parents, I think the key to education is that it’s never over. Technology and our world are changing so quickly that in the time it takes to pat yourself on the back and say, “I’ve learned enough, I can stop learning now,” you’ll already have fallen behind. Every day, I try to read or listen to something that broadens my horizons. I love that hosting my SiriusXM Show, “Dot Complicated with Randi Zuckerberg,” allows me to meet fascinating guests and learn about a brand new topic every week. 

What was it like starting as a woman in a marketing firm and how did this compare to being a woman in the technology space?

I got very lucky. I started my career at Ogilvy & Mather, where we had a female CEO, Shelley Lazarus. So at age 22, I had a powerhouse role model to look up to and a company that clearly valued female leadership, which made it all the more shocking when I moved to Silicon Valley. There I could practically count the number of female leaders across all the big tech companies on my fingers. I’m glad I witnessed firsthand what a world run by powerful women looks like at Ogilvy. 

What inspired you to start your own company and what was the most difficult part about making this leap?

In Silicon Valley, entrepreneurship is everywhere. Even your dentist has a side hustle building an app. There, I was telling women from around the world to go start their own companies, be entrepreneurs and close the gender gap. Meanwhile, I wasn’t walking the walk. If I wanted to have credibility giving that advice, I needed to become a founder myself. The most difficult part of that decision was leaving an incredible company. I had been at Facebook since 2005 and was so proud of my work there, most notably creating Facebook Live. It was hard to walk away from that, but at the same time, I knew that it was time to start the next exciting chapter of my career.

How have your experiences being a woman in business affected the way you lead your current business?

I’m so glad to be a woman in business. I’ve had the experiences of being aware of my gender at all times while working in technology, and I know what it feels like to feel invisible which has given me a deeper sense of purpose and meaning in my own work now. My mission at Zuckerberg Media is to create opportunities for families and kids (especially girls) to fall in love with the fun side of technology and science. Before I had my own experiences being a woman in technology, I had a career. Now, I have a calling. 

What is your message for women and girls looking to get involved in the technology space?

Rather than look for that one mentor who unfortunately won’t have the time for you because she’s probably too busy watching her own back as a woman in tech, find a peer group where you can all share experiences, get advice from one another and rise together. It took me a while to realize that the very best mentors are your peers who are right there next to you. 

What are your hopes for women in technology five years in the future?

My hope is that as things start to improve for women in technology, numbers-wise and culture-wise, that we don’t forget to hold the door open and help other underrepresented groups. Five years from now, our work will be far from done.

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