The mission of Fear of Poets is to share practical advice and stories to empower women and other diversity groups in the workforce and daily lives. My hope is that this project becomes a resource for members of under-represented groups or allies at any stage in their career to get action-oriented ideas about how to encourage diversity and support individuals.
Why ‘Fear of Poets’?
Ada Lovelace, considered the first computer programmer, arrived at what she called “poetical science” through a union of her two parents: Lord Byron the poet and Annabella Byron, a mathematician. After a separation from Lord Byron, Annabella Byron brought up Ada with a strong emphasis on mathematics and science (rare for women in the 1800’s) because she was terrified of Ada becoming a poet like her father. (An illustrated version of this story, and a more straightforward one.)
Ada's mother didn't encourage Ada to study mathematics because she wanted Ada to become the first computer programmer. Instead, she set Ada down her path because of a 'fear of poets'. Breaking down the barriers to a historically anti-female academic area allowed Ada to become something historic and inspiring, and I wanted to name this blog in that spirit. No matter the motivations, it's a series of small and large actions of empowerment that create the diversity we're working to achieve.
About the Editor
My name is Laura Holmes. I’m a mixed-race woman that’s been working in the tech industry in Silicon Valley for the last decade. I’ve spent the majority of my professional career working at Google, and have been a Product Manager on Google Search, Google Analytics and Project Fi. I currently lead the Grasshopper product and team, helping reduce the barriers to accessing coding education. Prior to Google, I graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in Computer Science and spent my final year participating in the Mayfield Fellows Program.
Throughout my early and professional life, I’ve been surrounded by many strong role models and advocates. Many of their stories and advice will be shared here. I started this project after having many conversations about the lack of practical, every-day advice to help foster diversity.
This is a personal blog. The views expressed in this blog are mine and not those of my employer. I'm actually very impressed with Google's dedication to helping improve diversity, from trying to improve the pipeline to holding courses about unconscious bias to mentoring women in the workplace. That said, this blog is not voice or an initiative of Google, but my own.