Women to Watch: Vanessa Shaw of Human Side of Tech

The month of March marks Women’s History month and International Women’s Day on March 8th. Here at The Port Workspaces, we wanted to highlight women entrepreneurs as they share with us their victories, their struggles and the snippets in between.

In this third portion of the Women to Watch series we are glad to introduce Vanessa Shaw, Founder of Human Side of Tech. She works with organizations to improve team culture through design thinking workshops partnering with HR and talent leaders. The goal of these workshops is to unlock people’s creativity and give them the tools to implement changes in their organizations.

Before starting the company, unlocking creativity was a challenge for Vanessa herself: “Somebody told me I was too creative for my previous roles in companies, that it was like being stuck in a box”, she says, “for some reason that message really hit me and made me commit full time to go all in on my business”.

Even though Vanessa was determined to follow the entrepreneurial path, that didn’t happen overnight. She faced a lot of “false starts” before finding the sweet spot where she could really make an impact. “It took many trial & errors to find a client that really understood me and how I was adding value”, she shares, “once I found that one client that got it, I knew I was onto something and it was just finding more of those people”.

With the support from a client and being “a little bit of a rebel”, Vanessa was able to write her own rules. Her “secret sauce” in this path is to always speak the truth, not being afraid to ask difficult questions or be pretty blunt about her opinions:

“Have you ever felt like there’s a lot of bullshit at work? What I love to do is to just slay the bullshit out of business by speaking honestly and truthfully, speaking about my history personally and vulnerably, creating space for an honest conversation. I just want everyone to bring their badass self to work.”