Humans of Tech – Dinah Davis

This month, we spoke with the irrepressible ball of energy that is Dinah Davis. Dinah is VP Research and Development at Arctic Wolf and Founder of Code Like a Girl. We hope you find her story and perspective as inspiring as we do!

What’s your greatest internal motivator?

I want to be helpful. I believe that when you help others, you get the best out of them and they’ll help you back in return.

At work, I want to help my company succeed. I want to help our clients have great security coverage and peace of mind. I want to help my team be motivated, and work hard so we can continue to provide that to our customers.

One of the reasons I started Code Like A Girl was that I wanted to help change the perceptions around women in tech. Three year ago there was not much talk about women in tech – some small pockets here or there – but it’s exploded over the past couple years. I like to think that we’ve had an impact on that.

We share our stories with over 40,000 readers. We’re sharing real stories, real experience, and our readers are getting to know those lived experiences. We’re changing how people think, one article, one conversation at a time. This is why the #MeToo movement is so powerful. The stories being brought forward are no longer just stats but real stories.

 What’s been the most surprising part of your journey?

What’s been most surprising is that 50% of the readership of Code Like a Girl is male. There are a lot of guys out there trying to help, trying to make the world better. These guys don’t know exactly what to do, so they come to read Code Like A Girl to learn about what they can do.

In my career, I’ve worked really hard for everything I’ve got so nothing was really surprising. It’s all about building relationships, honing your skills, working hard, and doing what you believe in. At Arctic Wolf, I came in to lead a great team of 15 developers that I’ve grown to 40 over the past 3.5 years. I’ve got two amazing mentors that give me great feedback and help me grow. You really can’t ask for more from a company!

What are you most proud of professionally?

I’m really proud of the team that I’ve grown here at Arctic Wolf, and the teams I grew at D2L and Blackberry. I’m only one person and I can only do so much, but what well performing, happy teams can accomplish is astonishing. It’s been a privilege to grow these teams.

What do you do to maintain energy/sanity outside of work?

I listen to myself. Sometimes, I have an abundance of energy to go do tonnes of things. Other days, I just need to take a break and go to bed early.

I spend time with my family and we do crossfit workouts together in our home gym – my husband, my daughter, an I. It’s great stress relief as well as family time. Balance is extremely important. My husband is extremely supportive and carries an equal amount of family responsibilities as I do. My parents are very involved and love to help out. It takes a village to raise a kid and it also takes a village to do great crazy ambitious things!

What’s the most exciting aspect of the Waterloo tech ecosystem, in your opinion?

It has to be the passion that lives here. I work with some people in the Valley and they’re passionate, etc but they have this extra layer of “Well, I’m in the Valley, so of course it’s going to be cool.” In Waterloo Region, people don’t generally do what they’re doing because they’re going to get rich but because they’ve found a solution they believe in. It’s unique to here.
Like with Arctic Wolf. Security isn’t easy and small companies aren’t generally able to do it on their own. We can implement extensive security solutions at a scale that small companies can’t do by themselves.

Or companies like Bonfire or Swift Labs – the people in those companies exude that satisfaction of knowing they’re solving real problems.

The dreams of the people who create these companies don’t just die; they keep fighting because they’re driven by their Why. That’s what’s exciting. People really get behind the “Why” of their companies. When you focus on the Why, there’s magnitudes of more possibilities of what comes out of it.

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