Community Spotlight: Katie Pantell

September 9, 2020

Tech workers from across the Bay Area have joined TechEquity’s network and are giving their time, skills, and financial support to make their communities more equitable. We’re proud of our growing community full of smart, passionate, engaged citizens and we want to show them off!

Meet Katie

Katie is a software engineer working on pricing and subscriptions at Udemy, an online education platform. She helped build Udemy’s first comprehensive instructor analytics dashboard, which you can read about here. Katie is a co-lead of Out@U, Udemy’s LGBTQ+ ERG, and co-hosted the Lesbians Who Tech SF book club. She lives in Oakland with her partner Cassie, dog Penny, and bearded dragon Marsha.

What’s your professional passion these days? 

My passion is in growing as an engineer and making space for other folks from underrepresented groups to succeed in tech (and especially in technical roles). As a queer woman in engineering, I want to empower other underrepresented engineers in their careers. I hope to make tech a more welcoming place for everyone, while bringing diverse perspectives to the table to help the industry build for the world we’d like to create.

What does it mean to you to be a responsible citizen while working in tech? 

I think it’s so important to consider how the technologies we build will impact society. That’s why it’s crucial to get as many different perspectives as possible, especially voices that haven’t historically been heard. As techies, we also need to consider how our presence alone is creating an impact. If we are contributing to—and benefiting from—the growing inequality in the Bay Area, we have a responsibility to do our part to offset it.

How has TechEquity impacted civic participation? 

I was so excited to learn about TechEquity and the work they’re doing. After becoming a member, I participated in a project building a prototype as part of the effort to pass rental registry legislation. I also participated in phone banking for the Schools and Communities First initiative. It’s really important to me to use my time and skills to mitigate the negative effects of the tech industry on the Bay Area, and TechEquity made it easy to get involved and make a difference.

Why is it important for the tech community to become more civically engaged?

I think it’s important for everyone to become more civically engaged, but it’s especially crucial for the tech industry given the overwhelming influence that tech has on our daily lives. We need to be intentional about the decisions we make, so the tech we build can help solve problems rather than exacerbating them. Technology is so powerful, we need to make sure it’s being built and used for good!