Check out the interview below with Nataly Ling of Stand Media Solutions, a recently formed digital agency made up of graduates of the YWCA Women in Technology program.
Tell me about yourself
I started my journey in this beautiful city and country as a refugee. At the time (I was 5), Chile was undergoing civil strife under the military rule of a dictator named Pinochet. My family had to flee for our safety and we ended up in Hamilton. Because of the extreme nature of my coming to this country, my potential was never really properly utilized. Opportunities were not available for my parents so I had to work throughout my childhood. I was always told that I should accept doing menial labor even though I was always internally craving more. I love reading, learning and solving problems. I worked as a hair dresser prior and never felt like it was my proper place and always a job as opposed to a career. Things are very different now thanks to the Woman In Information Technology program – with web design and development tools under my belt, I truly feel like I have started a career which I can unlock my true potential and become the woman I need to be.
What is the Women in Information Technology program that you participated in?
The program is a pilot partnership between Mohawk College and YWCA Hamilton to help women in financially vulnerable situations gain a foot in the door so to speak in the web development industry and the technology industry in general. I was part of the latest year of the pilot, and it was 3 months of full-time intensive study followed by 3 months of internship working for the vibrant and fresh Hamilton web development industry.
How did you find the experience?
I loved the experience personally. It gave my family along with myself an economic opportunity I would never think possible. Not only was this financially liberating, it helped me find a passion I never knew I had. I love everything web design and development, and feel women like myself have something to offer this industry. I feel women like myself are NECESSARY for this industry, and Hamilton is full of opportunities waiting for investment. There are many women in similar situations that would benefit so much, especially in the Hamilton area (we don’t say we are part of the “rustbelt” for nothing). Women in vulnerable economic situations are unfortunately not represented equally in our field and so programs like Woman In Information Technology provide the necessary investment to make the necessary changes.
Which company did you intern with and what did you find most impactful about the experience?
The company I interned for was Parallel. They are an amazing digital product studio focused on building great user experiences. I learned a great deal about the web design and development industry working there – that technology is constantly updating so you need to keep up to date with trends. The experience showed me also I had what is necessary to succeed in this industry. I honestly felt at peace working there more so than I have in any occupation. It confirmed my suspicions from the schooling – that this field is my destiny.
What would you tell someone interested in learning computer programming for the first time?
I would ask them first if they are ready for a true test of character. Seriously, with computer programming there’s no room for bias. You will have to put aside your ego and accept mistakes are inevitable. It’s frustrating at first but if you keep at it like I have, you realize there are rewards to be reaped. To make a great analogy, it is the closest thing to becoming like Harry Potter in real life. I get to make REAL magic – provide people interactive solutions that satisfy their needs in ways they could only imagine.
What is Stand Media Solutions?
We are a team of diverse developer ladies that got inspired through the Woman In Information Technology Program and our mutual passion for all things web development and design. My ladies all have a keen eye for design and keep up with the latest developer trends and as a result provide web solutions the customer can rely on.
Why did you decide to create it?
We decided this business was necessary because we feel we can offer Hamilton a better future. I don’t know anyone more hard working than my coworkers in this organization. We all work diligently and feel warm and fuzzy completing successful projects. We want a better future for our families and felt this was the best way to do so. Now because of various industries expiring in our city among various other things, there are many women here in vulnerable financial situations unable to even get internet access. We want to be a force that can help change this, and give some opportunity for those whose potential was underestimated.
What type of projects are you looking to work on?
Websites, applications and everything in between. We enjoy working together as a team and creating web solutions our clients can rely on. We’ll work with the most up to date tools to provide you the tools necessary for your business to succeed online.
How will Stand Media Solutions differentiate itself from other digital agencies?
We feel user interface for various websites to be lacking. There seems to be a huge disconnect between the client and the programmer. It’s true, we live in different worlds, but the key to success in our industry is being the bridge that connects the two. We hope to be a better bridge for the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area and eventually the world. As we are a group of amazing and diverse ladies we would eventually like to attract international investment as well as work with the international community to build better custom-made web solutions.
Where do you hope to see Stand Media Solutions going in the future?
We see ourselves in the future as an integral part of the GTHA in providing web solutions that fit the clients needs. We hope also to eventually be an international force to be reckoned with. Our primal vision is providing a successful service business that satisfies our customers and unlocking potential where neglected.