Ellen Twomey founded her business You are techY to empower, support, and educate moms to get hired in tech. The business grew organically from a Raleigh, North Carolina, MeetUp group that Ellen attended where amazing women (mostly moms) would get together to share their life and work stories at the corner coffee shop. While many of them had technological backgrounds, such as a master’s degree in Computer Science or a had worked in IT for 25 years, they would add, “but I’m not really very techy”, and Ellen would stand up and shout across the table “YOU ARE TECHY!” Ellen’s company provides coaching, courses, and community to empower moms to find careers in tech. (Ellen is a mom of five kids!)
Meet Ellen Twomey!
What inspired you to launch a web-based business? I knew I wanted to reach as many people as possible who had experienced the pain that I had of trying to return to the workforce and letting a lack of confidence in technology stop them.
What do you love most about having your own business? Impacting people’s lives.
What is the most challenging about running a business? Balancing all the different aspects of running a business from product to customer service to supporting my team.
What are some of your proudest accomplishments? Every time a woman tells me, “I got hired”. I cherish those. I cry at those. It’s irreplaceable.
What are some professional risks you’ve taken that led to positive outcomes? This one is hard. I would say everything. It’s a professional risk to run digital marketing campaigns where you are spending thousands of dollars to tell people about your crazy vision and how you can help them. One big professional risk that I took was to coach women in the course of getting hired in tech. No one does that. In fact, tech might be allergic to coaching. It was a bold move that I did out of necessity to get the results my students needed.
Where’s your favorite place to get work done? This has shifted for me a lot lately. I worked from home for years, but now I work at a coworking space. I think popping into a coffee shop or changing my environment is big for me. I like to keep it routine for a while and then change it up. The constants are my wireless headphones and theta or alpha waves (depending on the work) usually with a timer to give myself mini-deadlines.
Name two web tools you can’t live without.
Do you have any professional role models? If so, who? Whitney Johnson, founder and CEO of Whitney Johnson Disruption Advisors and host of the Disrupt Yourself podcast has been an amazing mentor to me professionally and personally. She came on my podcast and we bonded over all things growth and disruption. I love that I can share my faith with her too. She is a professional through and through. I’m grateful to know her.
What is the one book you would recommend other female entrepreneurs read? This is a very difficult question to answer because I am a HUGE reader and almost everything I read is a business or personal development book. Right now I’m reading Dare to Lead by Brené Brown. It’s brilliant and funny and real. I guess if I have to pick though, the most transformative book for me was Five Dysfunctions of Team by Patrick Lencioni. I identified so much with the lead character Kathryn. While fictional, she is who I aspire to be as a leader.
Do you have favorite podcasts? Um. I think I have to say the You are techY podcast with Ellen Twomey 🙂 I ran for class President multiple times in my school years and I always voted for myself because if I didn’t think I was the best candidate, why should anyone else? If I have to pick another one, I’ll go with Whitney Johnson’s Disrupt Yourself podcast.
Are you part of any mastermind or networking groups? If so, which ones? I am not part of a formal mastermind group, but my team at work really acts as one as we often discuss the fate of technology and what that means for us as technology experts. I also work at the Atlanta Tech Village which is its own sort of network. I’m also a mentor at ATV which enables me to talk to budding entrepreneurs which gives me energy and a lens of what’s coming next that I absolutely love. I’m a member of the Technology Association of Georgia’s (TAG) Fintech Society. I also attend many, many events and keep in touch with some outstanding people.
What does your typical day look like? I get up early, do a short workout, shower and go eat breakfast with the kids. I drop the middle three (I have five) off at school and head into the office. From there I typically have meetings live and on zoom with clients and prospects. I build time in for focused work. I like to do that in stretches. My afternoons/evenings vary greatly and range from driving kids to attending or speaking at events. If I’m not at an event, I spend time with the kids until bedtime and then open up my computer. I used to cook dinner nightly, but my husband mostly handles this now. I get ready for bed by writing down what I’m grateful for and reading the bible. I like to get to bed early, like 10 pm.
How do you unplug from work? I pretty much play with my kids. My husband and I try to find time for date nights and going out with other couples. We’ve been doing better with that, but I really like hanging with my cool kids. We play board games or outside games. We LOVE basketball. Friday night is movie night.
What tips for maintaining work/life balance would you give to other businesswomen? Do what you are passionate about and what comes naturally to you because there will be enough that you have to push through. I can’t say enough about sleep and moving your body. I also have a ridiculously strict diet that I feel fuels me. I’ve heard the term work/life integration and I feel like I’m pretty good at that; much more so than balance.
What’s something you do every day to take care of yourself? Exercise.
What is a quote you live by? I haven’t been much of a bible-quoter for most of my life, but I recently saw this quote in a gym where my son was playing basketball and it really struck me.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7
I love self-discipline. To me, it feels freeing. I use this quote whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed or lacking in resilience.
What investments have most helped your business grow? Relationships. Investing in relationships has paid off for me in spades. Sometimes that means paying for coaching. Other times it means hiring someone to do something better than me. It can also mean buying a coffee or lunch for someone. Sometimes it’s just the time, but when it’s a financial commitment, I do think we pay more attention to it.
Business-wise, where do you see yourself in 10 years? I love my work and my business. I see myself doing it more and on a bigger scale. I’ll be speaking more and letting more women know that being techy is possible for them. At that point, I will only have one child at the house which is a very weird thing for me to think about. I plan to bring her to the office and teach her about business and tech. I want her to grow up knowing that anything is possible for her and also that achieving it requires the hard work of self-discipline and self-love.
What advice would you give your younger self? Be gentle with yourself. You are brilliant and driven and already enough.
What is the number one piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to run a web-based business? Be gentle with yourself. You are brilliant and driven and already enough. Haha. But seriously, the key is to get a support system around yourself and approach every problem through this lens, “I am truly capable of figuring this out.” Then give yourself the time, space, and help you need to solve that problem. That’s entrepreneurship, a sequence of overcoming problems. Now, how kind to yourself do you want to be through that process?!
Learn more about Ellen Twomey and her business by visiting https://youaretechy.com and following her on Facebook, Twitter, Medium, and Pinterest.