Get to know Google’s Rachel Wilkins Patel
How can you turn your personal experience into work that ripples through generations?
Cleveland-area technologist Rachel Wilkins Patel grew up in rural Ohio and had no role models in computer science but fell in love with IT at a young age anyway.
“Learning to write my own code and make my own media was like learning to ride a bike for the first time, it meant freedom to go and create anything anywhere,” Rachel says.
After hosting a web development workshop for about 50 girls, she saw the opportunity to start changing lives and threw herself into founding HER Ideas in Motion, the Midwest’s first girl-serving nonprofit to pair female tech leaders with girls who want to be mentored in technology.
While still working as a developer for Progressive Insurance, she was recognized for her nonprofit passion by Fortune Magazine, which named her one of their “Heroes of the 500.” In 2014, Rachel was one of only 38 grantees around the world to receive a Google Rise Award, which goes to organizations to increase equity in computer science education focused on girls, underrepresented minorities and youth from low-income communities.
Earlier this year, HER Ideas in Motion was acquired by Center for Arts Inspired Learning — a couple months after Rachel joined Google as a Webmaster Outreach Project Manager. She remains involved with HER Ideas in Motion, which has now trained over 800 girls, helping improve gender diversity in coding, filmmaking and video game design.
A developer relations strategist and community builder, Rachel is currently applying her experience from Progressive, Keybank and Case Western to help the IoT Expedition at CMU better reach developer communities with their open source platform.
She has been featured in Fortune, Crain’s Cleveland, Ashoka Changemakers, the Plain Dealer and Freshwater Cleveland, among others, and she has partnered with Rosetta, LeanDog Software, NetApp and Keybank. Few people you meet can match the passion, insight and depth of experience that Rachel brings to Flight.