Software Engineer + Diversity Advocate
The daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, Tracy Chou was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Since both parents were software engineers and held computer science Ph.Ds, Tracy’s introduction to tech came at a very early age. Although this was her reality, working in the industry was not her original intent. Instead, a career in marketing received heavier consideration.
The influence of Silicon Valley to the left and parents to the right, Tracy eventually gravitated towards computer science at Stanford University. In 2009, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, and the following year, a Master of Science in Computer Science. But prior to completing her studies at Stanford, Tracy landed competitive internships at major startups: Facebook, Google and Rocket Fuel.
Upon graduation in 2010, she accepted a Software Engineer role at the then-early stage startup, Quora, as employee #5. While there, Tracy received instant gratification in building a product from scratch. This turned into an epiphany – she was now doubt free and mentally on board to start a career in engineering.
About a year later, Pinterest became her new work home, where she served as an engineer and tech lead between 2011 and 2016. In addition to playing a major role in advancing the company to its current state, Tracy also found herself in an unlikely role – an activist for diversity in tech.
In 2013, Tracy attended the annual Grace Hopper Celebration, which is “dedicated to fostering the work of women in computing.” During the conference, acknowledgement of the lack of women in the tech industry kept blaring. But with no quantitative proof of this workforce dynamic, Tracy set out to change this.
“She wrote a blog post calling on tech companies across the country to release their diversity data.” Tracy caught the tech industry’s attention and data started pouring in and onto a public worksheet she created. This shift in openness has inevitably placed pressure on tech companies to disclose their diversity data, as it relates to women and ethnicity. This is certainly a step in the right direction.
Tracy’s impact on Silicon Valley has garnered her a Forbes Tech 30 Under 30 spot (2014), and high profiled features in Vogue, Wired, The Atlantic, and several others.
Since 2015, Tracy has been a Founding Member at Project Include – a non-profit organization working toward providing meaningful diversity and inclusion solutions for tech companies.
Interesting facts: During the Obama Administration, Tracy was a technical consultant on reserve with the U.S. Digital Service. AND, this engineer is a fashionista!