Sarah Woods wasn’t entirely certain of what her pitch was going to be when she agreed to attend GiveBackHack Columbus. As a female Product Manager working in technology, she was always interested in social causes and giving back to the community, but wasn’t sure where to start.
Little did she know that after one weekend in 2018, she would embark on a journey that would result in her creating her own social enterprise.
Today, Sarah is the founder of Shatter, a company aimed toward identifying and eliminating unconscious gender biases in the workplace.
“We use technology to overcome wealth and leadership gaps caused by unconscious bias” Sarah explained. “For instance, we created a Chrome extension that works on top of LinkedIn. It identifies when certain companies are using language in their job descriptions and requirements that women might shy away from.”
Sarah clarified that, additionally, the Shatter extension helps identify positions for which women may be competitive or even overqualified. “Many men will apply to positions even if they only meet 60% of the requirements,” Sarah continued, “but many women won’t apply unless they meet nearly 100% of the requirements. So, you have this situation where companies are hiring under-qualified employees while overqualified women are selling themselves short.”
While Sarah didn’t have the fully-formed idea for Shatter previous to GiveBackHack, she knew something had to change for women in the workplace, based off of her own negative experiences. “It got so bad at some of my older jobs, I almost left the workforce,” she said.
However, after being invited to GiveBackHack by a co-worker, Sarah drew on these previous experiences for to pitch her initial idea on the night of the event.
“I actually didn’t think of the idea until I was listening to other people pitch,” Sarah said. “Initially the idea was like a Glassdoor for women, where women could write reviews on companies based on their experiences. I actually texted my sister to run it by her and make sure it was a good idea.”
Sarah’s idea was indeed sound, as Shatter ended up being one of the funded ideas for the 2018 event.
“I was completely taken by surprise when we won,” Sarah said. She went on to explain how GiveBackHack had changed her perceptions about starting a company.
“People think it’s a big scary thing because it seems too daunting, but if you surround yourself with passionate people, it’s not impossible. It’s still hard work, but you can figure anything out as long as you’re surrounded by the right people. Anybody can do it.”
Today, Shatter is in its third iteration, and Sarah is only taking her vision farther.
“Our plan is to grow the Chrome extension through April, and have a formal product launch in spring.”
Looking back on her experience with GiveBackHack, Sarah would recommend the event to anyone looking to make a social impact.
“It’s all about the people,” Sarah explained. “Even if you’re inexperienced, GiveBackHack makes it easy to get involved and gives you exposure to people that have a wide variety of applicable experiences.”
You can read more about Shatter on the official website, and you can check it out yourself by downloading the Shatter extension and creating an account here. You can also contact Sarah if you’d like to help her with next phase of Shatter.
“We’re going to need some heavy marketing for our next big push,” Sarah explained, “along with partnerships, case studies, and differentiation services. In the end, our mission is to dismantle prejudice, eliminate bias, and build the future all women deserve.”
If you’re interested in making a social impact through technology or launching a social enterprise, come to the Columbus GiveBackHack 2019 event, this April 26th-28th. You’ll have the opportunity to interact with leaders from all over Columbus, gather experience in design thinking and concept validation, and bring your idea to life.
And, as Sarah said, “GiveBackHack can be one of those life-changing events.”