In this 99U talk, Heather Payne shares how she developed Ladies Learning Code from a side project into a full-time endeavor. The organization, which teaches both genders how to become programmers, started with a tweet and now has chapters all over Canada.
Payne recalls the unconventional mindsets that helped her get started. Mostly, she urges us all to tell the world of our idea before launch so that interested customers and team members can help to get things moving. “Momentum is like a fire,” she says. “You constantly have to be fueling it.”
Heather Payne is an entrepreneur based in Toronto, Canada. She’s the founder of Ladies Learning Code, a Toronto-based not-for-profit startup that runs popular workshops for women (and men) who want to learn computer programming and other technical skills in a social and collaborative way. Ladies Learning Code now has chapters in Vancouver, Ottawa, Halifax, London and Calgary, a permanent workshop space in Toronto, and a thriving girls’ program called Girls Learning Code. In 2012, she founded HackerYou as a way to bring more intensive technology learning experiences to Toronto and beyond.
Recently she spent a year working on a project for the Mozilla Foundation: her job was to build a community of people and organizations in Toronto who care about raising youth as creators – not just consumers – of technology and the web. In December 2012, the project was granted $365,000 in funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Heather was an early investor in ShopLocket, and in a former life, she helped startups like Pinpoint Social and Shopcastr to acquire their first users. In her spare time, she enjoys building websites and furthering her knowledge of Ruby on Rails.