July 07, 2017 - by Mahsa Tehrani

Hackbright Welcomes Alice Hill as CEO

We are excited to announce that Alice hill is now part of the team as CEO of Hackbright Academy. Read Alice's note below.

Hill_headshot (002)I usually roll my eyes at in-flight magazines and the obligatory “A Word from the CEO” columns. Most sound staged or watered down, and they do nothing to capture who the CEO really is. This is why I am writing this first welcome post which comes directly from my own keyboard minus talking points and lofty verbiage. That’s not how I roll!

My name is Alice Hill and I have been in tech since I graduated from college. I was lucky enough to experience a few eras of tech that had some amazing highpoints. Looking back, that includes the birth of the web and entirely new ways to communicate. I’ve watched the growth of e-commerce, social media, the mobile revolution, and even the dizzying effects of tech IPOs, and it’s all changed my life. I also remember well the dot-com crash and the days right afterwards when SOMA in San Francisco was deserted and nothing was getting funded.

I got a chance to run CNET.com when I was in my 20s, and along the way I tried a few startups, revamped a job board at Dice.com, and managed dev teams for eBay in ten countries with one close call when traffic from Poland almost crashed our site. I even got a few death threats during my days heading up Slashdot. This industry is not and never has been dull!

But I came to Hackbright when I noticed a troubling trend in tech called the rise of ‘brogrammer’ culture. This increasing lack of diversity has become worse and worse each year. Suddenly, an industry that had always welcomed anyone with a smart idea and a few friends ready to code a prototype has in some ways become more like the ‘smokestack’ industries that I feel lucky to have bypassed. I’ve wondered in meetings in which I was the only woman out of fifteen senior executives, how did this happen? How did it get so out of balance? And how do we change it?

Hackbright’s mission is to #changetheratio of women in tech, and that is something I not only believe in, but also something I want to devote my life now to making happen. Hackbright is young and smart and not daunted by the industry. We take a more practical approach: We educate women engineers, we make them part of the conversation, and we help create new careers for them. What’s more, we are only just getting started.

Our culture is all about the right mix of tools, guidance, and mentorship, and about our vibrant network of alumnae and hiring partners -- that is what makes us special. I look forward to getting to know the Hackbright family over the coming weeks. That includes listening to students and potential employers, and together moving ever closer to our goal of #morewomenengineers because every woman deserves a seat at the table.

We offer real-life technical skills in a bootcamp format to teach and train a whole new generation of tech talent. As a direct pipeline to amazing female coders, we are dedicated to helping women realize that it’s never too late to do big things. We believe that learning with peers in a focused environment will open up a world of opportunity for each student, as well as every company, as the ratio changes graduate by graduate.

We have a lot to do. I hope you will allow me the privilege to learn from you as I strive to provide you with a life-changing experience. Together, along with the talented and dedicated team here at Hackbright, we can truly change the ratio at last.

And in closing, I'd like to finish with:
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Alice Hill
CEO, Hackbright Academy


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