Story by Gary Walker | Photos by Frank Capri
“Technology is a platform that allows us to think use forward thinking,” said Hatel Bhakta, the co-founder of Creative Intellects, a digital fashion marketing agency that assists designers in marketing and branding.
While there are designers who still need to have a physical brick and mortar showroom, “we can help them build a digital showroom,” she said. “A digital presence can allow for brands to display their products, which is far more cost-effective than trying to compete in the traditional form. While that is not impossible, you can use technology as a platform to reach your consumer faster than ever before.”
Bhakta decided to go into business for herself while she was working as a financial consultant, where she realized that it would take her a long time to crack the glass ceiling.
“I felt that the buck stopped right where I was and that it would take me 20 years to advance up the corporate ladder. But I decided that I didn’t want to wait around that long,” she said.
Bhakta believes Wonder Women Tech is breaking new ground.
“I believe that we are developing a community of visionaries, mentors, entrepreneurs, as well as a platform to network harmoniously,” she said.
Growing up in Iran, Shannon Hematian always dreamed of a career in technology.
“As a kid I was always playing video games. Because of that, I wanted to become a computer programmer,” she said.
Now co-founder of Pip Tompkin Studio, an industrial design firm in El Segundo, Hematian would like to see more women go into business for themselves.
Hematian agrees that women are not encouraged to go into high-tech fields, which is why she jumped at the chance to participate in Wonder Women Tech.
“I wanted to be involved because we need to have more role models in these fields so that [young women] can see that there are women in these positions,” she said.
Hematian’s firm also works on branding and interaction design and last year created
a red carpet project for Twitter Mirrors, a tablet designed for VIP events that celebrities can use to send out photos of themselves on an event’s Twitter feed.
After six years of branding and industrial design work, Hematian’s dream of being
a software programmer is a thing of the past.
“I decided that I have too much personality to be a coder,” she said with a laugh.
There are six million square feet of empty office space in downtown Los Angeles, and Audrey Bellis thinks they’ve been unoccupied for too long. To that end, Bellis became a founding member of Grid110, a community group working on connecting start-up companies to those empty spaces.
“My passion is to build a technology hub in downtown Los Angeles. It’s time that we use these spaces and bridge the gap for downtown start-ups and creative working spaces,” Bellis said.
One way that she is building her dream for a technology nerve center in central Los Angeles is through the IndieDesk, where freelance software programmers and engineers can rent space to work at their convenience.
One of the reasons that Bellis said she created IndieDesk is the scarcity of jobs for women in many tech sectors, including computer programming.
Bellis said she is looking forward to hearing many of the personal stories of the participants at Wonder Women Tech as well as sharing some of her own. As a second-generation American-born Latina, she finds these personal histories inspiring.
“I think when you’re called to do something, you just do it,” she said.
For Bellis, the “it” is bringing a slice of Silicon Beach to downtown Los Angeles.