Until she joined BookClub, Madison Soucie had spent her career as one of the only, if not the only, women on her engineering teams. “You feel alienated but you’re not sure why,” Soucie said when asked about her career in tech. “There aren’t many women who can model what it means to be a female engineer, so you have to make it up as you go.”
According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, as of 2019 only 16 percent of the workforce in architecture & engineering and only 23 percent of the computer & mathematical workforce were women. The reason for such a disparity? Tech startups often have small teams and don’t always put an emphasis on hiring women. But at BookClub, we focus on hiring the right person for the job, regardless of how they identify, and that’s led us to build a team that’s 57 percent female.
“I know first-hand the impact that books can have in bringing people together and creating a shared sense of community,” said Christine Murphy, BookClub’s VP of Production and Co-founder. Murphy is one of two women on our founding board. “When I was in my 20s and in a new city the genesis for my whole network of friends was through a book club. That’s why being part of starting BookClub was so appealing to me.”
Pamela Levine, BookClub’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), can already see how having women on the team and in leadership at BookClub will make a positive difference in what BookClub is developing. “Women have turned book clubs into a phenomenon,” she said in reference to the stat that, as recently as last October, at least 56 percent of women said they were in a book club. “I think [with women] there's a particular understanding of the many ways of sharing around books. Digging deeper into them with the author, with a friend, or with a stranger who wants to share ideas can deepen your own experience and give the book a whole new life as you connect around it with others.”
It isn’t just the book-sharing factor where women will make an impact, though. Emily Campbell, another Co-founder and VP of Product at BookClub, recently wrote a piece for Silicon Slopes about how BookClub centers everything, especially product development, around the mission to create a community-driven, author-centered product that leads to life-changing conversations about books. “We’ve prioritized onboarding people who believe in our mission because this is crucial to creating an awesome product,” said Campbell in the piece.
Creating a product centered around our mission starts with the entire team. BookClub is building a diverse platform led by diverse authors and designed to facilitate new and challenging conversations that push people to learn new things. In order to do that well, our team needs to be equally as diverse. That’s why our team has been built so intentionally, and our leadership is 50 percent female. Women are part of every department at BookClub, working to ensure each component of what we do is accessible to a wide array of readers and authors.
“It creates a space where talking about feelings feels okay and feels like real data,” Soucie said of the BookClub team being majority women. “There is an emphasis on your skills and how you balance your work with your life in an authentic way. Having women in leadership at BookClub, and men who value the women the work with, has taken the ego out of it.”
As BookClub gets closer to launch in the Spring, we are taking a closer look at how the people on our team are going to impact the product that authors, celebrity moderators, and readers see. This Women’s History Month, we wanted you to know about the women on the BookClub team, all of whom are able to bring a perspective to those conversations not often heard in product development. And we’re proud of that.
This piece is part of a series of pieces about BookClub and our team. If you want to know more about who we are and what is coming this Spring, be sure to sign up for our waiting list, and if you’re interested in joining our diverse and inclusive team, visit our list of job opportunities.