Podcast Episodes

Episode 23: The Value of Liberal Arts in Technology

In this episode, Lauren Maffeo shares:

  • Her transition into the tech sector with a liberal arts background

  • Why she chose to earn a certificate in AI for Business Strategy from MIT Sloan

  • The role that shame plays in diversity and inclusion

  • The balance between speaking at mainstream and “women in tech” events

Links:

Her STE “AM Journey

Lauren Maffeo thought she’d be a journalist. Just like many engineers start writing code at a young age, she started writing stories in middle school. Her work was published in the bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and a high school internship at the local news station convinced her that a career in broadcasting was best.

 

Education & Experience

Lauren went to college in Washington, DC, in part to gain internships at news outlets where she could find hands-on experience. These years coincided with the Recession and the shift in ad spending from news outlets to tech companies like Facebook. Even so, a career in tech wasn’t on Lauren’s mind.

 

Instead, her study abroad semester at the University of Oxford led her to accept an offer from The London School of Economics. She moved to London the fall after her college graduation to earn her MSc and (hopefully) start her journalism career. The same summer that she wrote her dissertation, Lauren went to a networking event at General Assembly’s London campus. A connection she made there got her networked into London’s small but rapidly growing tech sector.

 

Lauren spent her first year out of LSE consulting for various startups and covering tech news for The Next Web and The Guardian. She wrote on topics including self-driving cars, data ownership after death, digital skills gaps in Taiwan and Brazil, and a feared digital dark age. She also earned commission from the government of Taiwan to report on the island’s media market – the largest, freest market on the Asian continent.

 

She used her work reporting on tech to learn about the sector. Her liberal arts BA and MSc educations had prepared her to critically challenge the status quo and distill hard concepts for mainstream audiences. Her first freelance jobs taught her that she had an aptitude for – and interest in – technology. Eventually, Lauren realized that she wanted to transition from writing stories about startups to writing the stories of startups.

 

In her young career, Lauren has reported on work within the global technology sector. She has advised CEOs at pre-seed to profitable SaaS startups on editorial strategy. Today, Lauren works as a senior content analyst at GetApp, a Barcelona-based startup that was acquired by Gartner – a global IT research and advisory firm. In this role, she covers the impact of emerging tech like AI and blockchain on small and midsize business owners.

Research Work

Lauren’s research and writing have been cited by sources including Forbes, Fox Business, The Atlantic, and Inc.com. She has spoken at events around the world, including Gartner’s Symposium in Florida, The Global Talent Summit at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, the WITI Summit in Silicon Valley, and Women Techmakers Montreal in Canada. She has been featured by Thrive Global, BBC Capital, Her Campus, and others.

Recognitions

In 2017, Lauren was named to The Drum’s 50 Under 30 list of women worth watching in digital. That same year, she helped organize Women Startup Challenge Europe — the continent’s largest venture capital competition for women-led startups.


Along with her work in tech, Lauren holds several non-profit leadership roles.

This September, she’ll hike 26.6 miles in 1 day to raise money in her role as a member of the Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic Community Leadership Council. Please consider making a donation.

1 thought on “Episode 23: The Value of Liberal Arts in Technology”

  1. Finally, our society desperately needs the grounding in ethical thinking and questioning that the liberal arts provide. Improving engineering fundamentals will accomplish little if our ethical foundations keep eroding.

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