Meet Maya Brooks - Coding Instructor, Contributing writer for Bossbabe and Founder of COFFEE & CODED, a community empowering people to #trytech.
What inspired you to get into your line of work?
I never thought tech was for me.
I graduated NYU in 2015 with a clear trajectory toward business and finance, where I spent most of my professional career. Yet, I couldn’t shake my entrepreneurial spirit, passion for creative ideas and solutions, and craving for learning new things. When I decided to take one of my musings more seriously and research the process of building a mobile application, I had no idea where to start. So, I decided it was time to invest in myself and learn more about web and mobile app development.
However, one bothersome fact remained obvious, the further I embarked on the developer track, the less women I saw seated next to me. I saw even less in teaching positions.
I started COFFEE & CODED not only to expose more women and girls to a career path that is accessible to them, but also to provide a model for female leadership in tech. We encourage everyone to #trytech. We are proud to source our incredible guest instructors and speakers from the local NYC community, many of which are entrepreneurs themselves and dedicated to inspiring positive change. Our vision includes not only building skills, but building a community. It’s my goal to let women know that they deserve to be in the room, because they’ve earned it.
If you could go back in time and give your younger self advice, what would it be?
All my life, I've been very focused on accomplishing tasks I believed made me successful. I had a 10-year plan, and every step I made in my personal life and career was deliberately to take me to what I thought was the right next step for me. Working with tech startups, and now owning my own, really forced me to focus more on what's important here and now. I would tell my younger self and other new entrepreneurs to focus more on making 6 month - 9-month plans rather than 10-year plans. It's important to be flexible as an entrepreneur. Things could change at any time and being too stuck on only one method or path of success, will only limit you in the future. Be open to all possibilities and opportunities that may come your way!
What are your top strategies for networking?
My Top Tips for networking are:
1) Go to small, intimate events rather than large professional "networking" mixers. This will allow you to make deeper connections with a smaller group of people rather than shallow connections with a lot of people.
2) Don't go to "network." Forget about if the people you are meeting are "valuable" to you or your business. Go make friends, just like you would at a party!
3) Always give, give, give! Rather than asking. Reciprocity is so important to a networking relationship.
Go To Strutting Down the Street Song- "Freakum Dress", Beyonce.
Best trip you ever took: Thailand, 2018!
Idol: Bozoma Saint John
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