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Breaking Into Startups

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We're starting a podcast that features people who came from non traditional backgrounds and broke into startups.

We're starting a podcast that features people who came from non traditional backgrounds and broke into startups.
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We're starting a podcast that features people who came from non traditional backgrounds and broke into startups.








#70: Dan Burrill - Director of Inside Sales at Twillio

Dan Burrill is not just the inside sales boss at Twilio but he's also a seasoned executive having spent time with other amazing companies including Box and Honeywell. A man who’s big on commitment and the power of listening, Dan admits coming to Twilio for one big reason - market opportunity. Twilio operates in the telecommunications industry that has been around for decades and it's fast-forwarding the space into the future. No wonder it’s his favorite among all the companies he’s worked at.

Duration: 00:56:37

#69: Adam Braun - Founder of MissionU

Adam is a co-founder of MissionU where he is building a school for the 21st century. He is also a founder of Pencils of Promise that has built over 400 schools around the world and provided over 70k kids with an opportunity to learn! At MissionU, Adam is building a school for the 21st century! Millions of people are either themselves effected by college debt or know someone in their family who is effected by it. College loans are also the only kind of debt you cannot default on. To fix...

Duration: 00:42:10

Nick Caldwell - VP of Engineering at Reddit

Nick Caldwell - VP of Engineering at Reddit by Breaking Into Startups

Duration: 00:59:57

#67: Bangaly Kaba - Journey to a Product Manager Role at Facebook & Instagram

Bangaly Kaba shares his story on how he broke into product management from a non-traditional backgrounds in Education and Finance. Originally from the East Coast, Bangaly is now considered as one of the best PMs in the Bay Area. He previously worked at Facebook's growth team until landing his current product management role at Instagram. You probably first heard of Bangaly's name back on Episode 13 when Elaina Koros mentioned his name on the show referring to him as a great mentor. From...

Duration: 00:48:37

#66: Rocio Lopez - A Product Designer & a DACA Recipient is Standing Up for All DREAMers

Rocio Lopez came to the U.S. as an undocumented minor and lived on the East Side of Palo Alto. For years, she and her family have gone through so much struggle until the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA was signed by President Obama, a program granting temporary work permits to immigrants who came to the U.S. as children illegally. Recently, DACA, has been repealed by the Trump administration. And Rocio is one of the 800,000 DREAMers that are going to be affected by this...

Duration: 00:42:13

#65: Zac Otero - From the Meat Factory's Floor to a 6-figure job as a Salesforce Admin

A Missouri-native, Zac Otero is a true testament that a four-year degree isn’t always an indicator of success. High school dropout, Zac Otero describes how he worked his way up the career ladder from working a blue-collared job working at a McDonalds, a popcorn factory, a grocery warehouse and a meat packing factory before landing a Salesforce admin role. He talks about how he got into this role, what Salesforce is, and how he learned through books before the online platform Trailhead came...

Duration: 00:55:35

#63: Saron Yitbarek - Self-taught Engineer & Founder of CodeNewbie Podcast

#63: Saron Yitbarek - Self-taught Engineer & Founder of CodeNewbie Podcast by Breaking Into Startups

Duration: 00:51:53

#62: Mandy Cole - VP of Sales of Startups such as Living Social, Zenefits and Stella & Dot

Born in Atlanta, Mandy Cole is the founder of The Cole Method, a consulting firm that helps startups that have reached $1 million revenue to start learning how to go from putting balls in the basket to playing basketball. It's very important for someone that successfully broke into a startup to understand what a high functioning sales organization looks like. Listen in to find out how a high-functioning sales organization is supposed to operate. Mandy is an expert at not just building...

Duration: 01:14:23

#59: Dr. Carol Langlois - How Self Esteem & Empowerment are Changing the Ratio through Hackbright

Dr. Carol Langlois is a lifelong educator who used to run the business program at USF. She was the Dean at Mills College and founder of Higher Education Specialists. She did a dissertation in female self-esteem development that led her to creating a book called Girl Talk where she interviewed over 200 high school women on the subject. It was later turned into a play called Girl Talk: Teen Monologue Series. It's next performance is going to be on August 24. From a traditional education...

Duration: 00:48:24

#58: Tiger Shen - An 18-Year-Old Software Engineer Who Worked at Square and Braintree

#58: Tiger Shen - An 18-Year-Old Software Engineer Who Worked at Square and Braintree by Breaking Into Startups

Duration: 01:12:12

#57: Kelvin Lightner - Tax Consultant from Deloitte Become A Software Engineer at Intuit

Kelvin Lightner is a software engineer apprentice at Intuit and a graduate of Dev Bootcamp. Prior to tech, Kelvin has a double major in Legal Studies and Economics from UC Berkeley and he worked as a consultant at Deloitte. A true lover of logic, he jumped from management consulting to tech with this strong belief that the end does not justify the means. Kevin has drawn great support from #YesWeCode, an organization that helps people from underrepresented backgrounds break into the tech...

Duration: 00:43:14

#56: Mike Slagh - How a US Navy Veteran Started a Company to Help Veterans Break Into Tech

Mike Slagh is the Founder of, a hiring pipeline for military veterans. Back in the military, Mike was a bomb technician and since finishing his service a little over a year ago, he started to create new pathways for veterans into various industries that didn't exist before. There will be about a million new veterans in the next five years, which means there are 20,000 military service members leaving every month. Mike’s greater purpose is to help bridge that gap between...

Duration: 00:56:17

#55: Pavan Ravipati - Deep Dive on Software Engineer vs. Sales Engineer

An East Bay-local, Pavan Ravipati grew up in a family of tech people. He initially took Film and Media in college, landed some corporate sales roles, and worked his way up but he ultimately found his calling in tech. After taking some coding courses online, Pavan decided to join Hack Reactor and he eventually took part in the organization's Hacker in Residence Program. Currently, Pavan serves as a Solutions Engineer at GitHub, a leading open source software company.

Duration: 00:39:38

#54: Erica Prenga - How a Graphic Design Major became an Experience Engineer at Adobe

Erica Prenga is currently an Experience Developer at Adobe. Aware that she had a different learning style, she decided to quit college after her fourth year of studying graphic design until she ultimately figured that going to a coding bootcamp was what she wanted to do and how she wanted to learn. Erica is a Dev Bootcamp graduate and in this episode, she shares how she approached her job hunt differently as well as a couple of negotiating techniques, which people wouldn’t have normally...

Duration: 00:53:31

#53: Ysiad Ferreiras - How a kid from the Bronx became the VP of Sales at Hustle

With Dominican roots, Ysiad Ferreiras grew up in the Bronx where fear was not unusual thing and where hard life would be an understatement. He has made some bad decisions in his early life but he managed to pivot his way into right path doing well academically, learning how to code, and breaking into the tech space. Currently, he serves as the VP of Sales at Hustle, a text messaging platform which is now being used by major politicians and people in nonprofit and labor organizations...

Duration: 01:34:42

#52: Kristin Parke - How a Music & a Biology major became a Security Hacker

Kristin Parke is a hacker aka a security consultant at the NCC Group. She shares her journey into tech and how she transitioned from music to science until ultimately she becoming an engineer. In this episode, you can find out how she went from learning how to code and following that path until breaking into the security industry. She also discusses the parallels of reading music and coding and biology and hacking as well as what you can do to protect yourself from imminent cyber attacks.

Duration: 00:51:56

#51: K. Mannah Kallon - an Educator who became an Engineer at Stitch Fix

From a chef to restaurateur to Math teacher to software engineer, Mannah Kallon has a pretty crazy and nontraditional background. That makes him an asset on anyone's team. He earned degrees in Psychology and Philosophy from the University of Michigan and got his Master's in Education from Fordham University. Mannah was teaching kids in Harlem when he decided to move to the West Coast and learn how to code through Dev Bootcamp. Today, Mannah’s shares a handful of insights that you too can...

Duration: 00:52:25

#50: Jessica Uelmen - A Hardware Engineer who became a Product Manager at Fitbit

A self-confessed nerd and Sailor Moon enthusiast, Jessica Uelmen built her first HTML/CSS website at 13 years old and got involved with theater during college until she ultimately decided to major in electrical engineering during Sophomore year. She ended up working as an electrical engineer for a few years after finishing school until she decided to pursue her passion for education and worked as a program manager at Udacity, an education company that offers free online classes where she...

Duration: 00:28:44

#48: Chloe Condon - An Actress who Quit her Job as an Office Manager and Became a Software Engineer

Based in San Francisco, Hackbright Academy is focused on teaching women how to code. We're recording several interviews with Hackbright graduates including our guest today, Chloe Condon. Growing up in a family of artists in the Bay Area, Chloe ended up working at startups by day and performing as a theater actress by night. Prior to her current role as a Developer Evangelist at Codefresh, Chloe held a number of jobs including an Account Executive at Yelp and an office manager role at...

Duration: 00:58:16

#47: Wayne Neale - Founder of GrowthX Academy

Wayne Neale is the Co-Founder of GrowthX Academy, a 12-week, onsite, immersive, full-time educational experience program focusing on careers in Sales, Growth Marketing, and UX Design. The academy was born out of the need for more non-technical roles in the tech space. Prior to this, Wayne was an operator at several companies. He started his own design consultancy and got several degrees including a Doctorate in UX Design. Originally from Ohio, Wayne currently lives in Phoenix and today, he...

Duration: 00:40:30

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