Fast Co Most Creative People

Fast Company profiled me as one of their Most Creative People series in 2014, talking about my work cofounding and serving as Executive Director of Double Union.

The most powerful force for encouragement at Double Union, in contrast, might be Greenhall herself.

After helping me figure out my first spin on the vinyl cutter, Greenhall dropped a piece of construction paper, folded into a six-page booklet, in front of me. "You should make a zine," she said. I have terrible handwriting. What would my zine be about? Anything I made wouldn't compare to hers, with its hand-drawn illustrations of cyclists. (In retrospect, this thought process was absurd. Who isn't qualified to scribble doodles on construction paper?)

I decided to make A Feminist Guide to Talking Like a Girl, a mini-manifesto about the way women talk (since linguistics is an interest of mine). I cut headlines from news articles and pasted them next to my sad excuse for illustrations; after I finished, Greenhall flipped through it, laughing and proclaiming it "great." She suggested I make copies, and brought over a paper cutter for cleaning up the edges. Whenever someone new came into the room, I beamed about my first zine, each reader making me feel like it was one of the greatest things they had ever seen. By the end of the night, I had made a very basic paper circuit, too.

"It's just amazing to be in a big group of technical women where it's not like you're this weird anomaly," said Greenhall, "where you feel totally comfortable and just your mere presence isn't a strange thing."

As feminist groups like Riot Grrrrls have argued for decades, all-female groups create a safe space for women where they don't have to worry about everyday sexism or running into their aggressors, a real issue in an industry with a well-documented history of harassment. Aurora started the Ada Initiative, which produces codes of conduct and anti-harassment policies, because of her experiences getting groped at conferences. Honeywell said, "I've definitely been through bad crap at work. I've done the going to HR thing and it turned out really badly and I ended up leaving that particular job." Even if a woman doesn't feel physically or emotionally threatened by the presence of men, removing them from the situation helps combat more subtle forms of sexism, like impostor syndrome.