Heather Cabot and Samantha Walravens: She’s a Geek Girl Rising

April 11 - On The Dot
FIRST THOUGHT: Girls Getting Smart

I’ll never forget when I saw Mayim Bialik interviewed at the 2014 SAG Awards. A male red-carpet reporter asked whether people assume Mayim can solve calculus since she plays a smartie neuroscientist on the hit TV sitcom Big Bang Theory, to which she responded with the fact that, actually, she’s a real-life neuroscientist who was trained in calculus for years.

Smart women will always be doubted in one way or another. The moral of this story is: You can’t stop an unprepared reporter from asking a truly dumb question, but you can revel in the fact that you’re smarter than he is.


Smart women are often underestimated in the workplace, or worse, treated marginally and even sexually harassed. It happens all too much, even in intellectually based industries, like tech. According to Fast Company, one out of four women working in the tech industry reported having faced sexual harassment at work.

But that doesn’t have to be the norm. Legal advocacy site Nolo.com notes that preventing sexual harassment in any workplace starts with employers ensuring a safe environment for every employee. The site suggests employers adopt a clear sexual-harassment policy, regularly train employees on the policy and complaint procedures, and train supervisors and managers on how to appropriately deal with such complaints.

WOMEN TO WATCH: Heather Cabot and Samantha Walravens, Co-founders and Authors of Geek Girl Rising

While people in science and technology are often called geeks, a negative connotation back in the day, these days, we think of geeks as innovators and people we admire and aspire to be like. But even today, the word “geek” is often mentioned when referring to a guy. What about all us geek ladies? That’s where veteran journalists Heather Cabot and Samantha Walravens come in. They’re shaking up the tech world and proving that cool chicks can actually totally rock geekdom. Heather and Samantha co-founded Geek Girl Rising, a book and digital platform dedicated to elevating the voices of women in the startup world. And they are mothers of—you guessed it—geek girls.

Before diving headfirst into geeky girlhood, Samantha started her career as a tech reporter and editor for PC World magazine, spent years reporting for a variety of publications and is currently a member of an angel network that invests in female-led companies. Heather was a TV news reporter, a vibrant anchor and correspondent for ABC News, and got her first taste of tech as a researcher for a PBS documentary that told the stories of women in computer science.

Geek Girl Rising is the result of four years of interviewing women in tech in order to gain better insight into why women aren’t recruited and don’t stay in this field. What Heather and Samantha discovered is empowering: Smart women are rejecting Silicon Valley and instead, creating their own tech businesses. They’re writing code, investing in startups, and inspiring and educating the next generation of women in tech. How cool is that? This means the opportunities for women in tech are growing exponentially, paving a way for girls everywhere to delve into STEM careers.

Geek Girl Rising provides advice and connection for techie and entrepreneurial women through Heather and Samantha’s eye-opening book and insightful blog. Their book features stories of some wildly successful former On The Dot Women to Watch, superwomen like Michelle Phan, Kathryn Finney and the innovative ladies behind The Muse.

Heather and Samantha identify this rising movement as a sisterhood, and we are happy to support it. You go, geek girls!


Ever the philanthropist and a wonderful inspiration, Melinda Gates said:

“A woman with a voice is, by definition, a strong woman.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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