ALPHARETTA, Ga. — There are hundreds of women in North Fulton who want to re-enter the work force, according to Becky Berry.
“Unfortunately, they feel like their lack of tech skills make them obsolete,” Berry said. “They don’t have a way to build context around how people really acquire their tech skills.”
So she came up with a way to combat the problem by teaching the women new skills and helping them take advantage of abilities they already had through her newly launched program, Women’s Tech Conservatory.
Last month Berry, who has her own business called Becky Berry Career Coaching, launched the first cohort of five students. During the eight-week course, she brought in women currently in technology careers to talk about their experiences, set up a coding class and helped the women make connections with each other.
As someone who’s always been interested in technology, Berry has been an entrepreneur for many years starting and selling her own companies.
She eventually transitioned to teaching special education and found she enjoyed working with people who have different behaviors.
The skills she acquired along the way merged into her current passion — coaching.
“I always felt I was a better coach than teacher,” Berry said. “I was better at building my kids up and helping them believe they could learn than I was at delivering the curriculum. I saw this need out there and said, ‘I’m going to fill it.’”
As a coach, she works with women, ages 35 and older, who are reimagining themselves, their lives and goals.
However, every time she mentioned a career in technology, Berry said her clients would say they didn’t want to be a programmer. So she decided to start the conservatory to bridge the gap.
“I got that from every single client,” Berry said. “I would say, ‘So? What does that have to do with anything?’ There is such disconnect between what tech careers are and how they’re portrayed.”
Often, the careers are shown to be mostly men, and if a woman is involved, Berry said it’s usually a younger person.
“There is such a big opportunity for women if they ignore that,” Berry said. “You’re cutting yourself off from where all the growth currently is and will continue to be.”
Berry doesn’t teach the women tech skills, but instead focuses on their mindsets and what talents the women already possess. One of the first barriers she said was breaking the mindset that some women believe they have to know everything prior to starting.
“This is about picturing yourself doing work you never pictured yourself doing before,” Berry said. “We are showing women different ways to access some of the work they did before. The skillset you have to have is the willingness to learn new stuff and ask questions.”
The women Berry helps are seeking assistance for various reasons such as a spouse leaving or dying, or just wanting to go back into the workforce.
“Life changes fast,” Berry said. “These women can have a career with meaningful work. You can start a career when you’re 40, or come back. I want to see them reach their potential, whatever that looks like to them. I don’t want them to think they’re limited. I want to raise the bar.”
In the future, she hopes to teach more classes, continue coaching and educate the public of this market of potential employees. To learn more about Berry, visit beckyberrycoach.com.