Diversity Proust

Proust Goes Tech With Rachel Murray, The Co-Founder Of She+ Geeks Out

Rachel Murray was washing her hands when she found hope.

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She had just thrown an event for She+ Geeks Out, the Boston-based organization she co-founded with Felicia Jadczak. She+ Geeks Out was created to empower more women in tech, and does so through national workshops, seminars, and happy hours.

“A woman came up to me and said ‘I just want to thank you for doing this event, I almost didn’t come because I’ve had some trauma recently and I just didn’t feel like I could do this,'” Murray said. Even though years have passed since, the moment reminded Murray that there is movement in getting women to feel more empowered within the workplace.

In this Proust Goes Tech, we’ll find out about Murray’s recent decision to ditch Boston for San Diego, her cheat to running long distance, and her two business ideas beyond She+ Geeks Out.

The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

What would you otherwise be doing right now?

Other than having lunch? I would probably still be an entrepreneur and run a business. I’ve always had a lot of ideas. It would probably be something else I was passionate about. The last business I had was about helping people find non-toxic personal care products, because that was really hard to find. It was my own company, and I had the idea back in 2012. I also had another idea where people could come in and do photo shoots in beautiful spaces for the day.

Your main fault?

My biggest issue is impatience. It’s something I work on frequently. I try to slow down a little bit, and it’s one of the reasons I’m moving. I think Southern California is a slower pace and I want something to help me recognize that it’s okay to slow down and not to expect everything immediately.

I use the Calm app because I do my best to meditate. The other thing I do, which is probably even more helpful than meditating, is running. I’ve started to do longer runs, and I did my first half marathon in May.

One trainer I keep looking at, she talks about how the limits when we’re running is not so much about physical discomfort but about impatience and wanting it to be done. That stuck with me.

The quality you most desire in a tweet?

I’m not a big Twitter person; I’m more of an Instagram person myself. But when I am on Twitter, I’m a big Giphy fan.

Your idea of misery?

Probably doing the same thing every day for the rest of my life without seeing any possibility for change. That is the worst. I definitely need to do different things frequently. I need to change it up a lot. It’s partly why I’m moving, and it’s partly why I’m running a business.

What do you appreciate the most in your friends?

Showing up is a huge one. I really appreciate it and it doesn’t even have to be physically showing up. Being able to pick up the phone or text or reach out in some way? I think that is such an amazing thing because we’re all busy all the time.

Your chief characteristic?

Other than impatience? Just kidding. My chief characteristic is probably my sense of humor, and my almost-too-much willingness to say yes to things.

What skill do you wish you possessed?

I wish I was better at accounting. Thankfully we can hire someone to do that work. There’s so much to know around that, and tax law, and I wish I were more informed.

I would love to know how to scuba dive, too.

Your most impactful book?

Tim Ferris’ The 4-Hour Workweek. That was the book that taught me I can work for myself and have a different life. The idea is to set your life up so you can minimize the amount of hours you have to actually do the thing you do to make money, so you can live the life you want to live.

What defines success?

Waking up in the morning and feeling excited about the day.

When is confidence lost?

When people say no, when ideas aren’t validated, and when people ignore you. The older I get, the less these bother me, but when I was younger, my confidence would be shot and it would be hard to get back up and move on. I’m really lucky to have a strong support system and years of experience, so it’s rare [when] my confidence is lost.

Which buzzword is exhausted?

Probably diversity. I think people use the word diversity incorrectly. They use the word diverse to mean people of color—diversity is much broader. It’s a buzzword at this point. It’s nice that they’re starting to use it to include inclusion and belonging.

What virtues do others have that you don’t?

I’d say patience, again. I want to do all the things right now. Completely unrealistic, and I try to learn from others when they look at me like I’m a crazy person.

What impact do you want to leave behind?

I’d like to leave the world a little bit kinder and more empathetic. Being human can be really freaking hard.

What’s the biggest problem tech is failing to solve?

Equity and climate change. SV is the land of disruption, but unless it makes money, there doesn’t seem to be as much of a real push to make change. Seeing the level of homelessness, illness, pain, and suffering among the wealthiest and most disruptive of populations is hard to comprehend. And what makes matters worse is that the success of tech companies have exacerbated the problem. Media coverage is plenty, and local government is stepping in but I haven’t seen tech leaders doing more to address the issue.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.

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