The Woman Behind Coffee & Coded

Maya Brookes

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Growing up, I wanted to be a professional hula-hooper. I was really good at hula-hooping as a child, and I distinctly remember telling my mother that was my dream. I’m still pretty bummed that she talked me out of it but I still do it in my spare time. By the time I got to college, I wanted to pursue a career that enabled me to support my family and I thought a business or finance degree was the only thing that could make that happen. I went to NYU for economics and worked in finance until last year before I transitioned into technology.

I was sitting around with my roommate one day coming up with ideas about technology products we wished existed, and we talked about apps that we would want to build in the nightlife space. Even though that app didn’t make it to market, it made me want to learn more about the technology behind products. I had no idea how to actually code an app and it was about time I learned! I went to a General Assembly coding boot camp where I learned front-end web development and Javascript programming. Even though the students in boot camp weren't engineers, most had experience in other technology skills while it was a new field for me. At the time, I didn't read tech news and knew nothing about startups which meant that I had to learn coding and tech culture simultaneously. My schedule was packed with a full-time job and then class afterward which meant that for a while I wasn’t getting any sleep. I was determined to make the most out of my courses and powered through that phase of my life. It was helpful to go to meetups and talk to other students in the same boat as me.

 I am now a Product Manager at iFundWomen and the founder of Coffee & Coded where I help teach women how to code. Being an entrepreneur means I struggle with the feeling of not doing enough. Sometimes I feel like I don't give enough time to my family or friends and other times I feel like I am behind on work. On top of that, I have a difficult time being a delegator and allowing other people to help me. I am working hard to change that about myself because I realize how easy it is to burn out if you try to do everything by yourself. I hope to leave a path for women to feel empowered to do anything without having the fear of repercussions or imposter syndrome. The generation before us did a lot to pave the way for us, and I want to push that further.