Meet the GIT PHX Board | Eva Kuehnert
Meet the women behind Girls in Tech Phoenix. Learn more about Eva Kuehnert, Co-Managing Director.
When she’s not busy writing or reading books, running a marathon, riding her motorcycle across the country, managing a product team, or immersing herself in some type of self-improvement or meditation practice, Eva Kuehnert serves as co-managing director of Girls in Tech Phoenix. Alongside co-managing director Neema Uthappa, another tech powerhouse in the valley of the sun, the two women lead the Phoenix chapter of the global non-profit driving initiatives focused on the engagement, education, and empowerment of women in technology in Phoenix and surrounding areas.
We interviewed Eva to learn more about her professional journey, personal interests, passion for advancing women in technology and her vision for the future of Girls in Tech Phoenix. Get to know how being an “empathetic extrovert” and daughter of a logical engineer has helped this native German in her career path and her vision for aspiring women in tech and those already in the field.
Question: What inspired you to join the GIT Board, and why is the organization’s mission important to you?
Eva: I want to reduce the barriers of entry, whether real or perceived for anyone who thinks they cannot work in technology. Having joined the technology sector with a non-technical background, I am passionate about bringing more women and non-technical people into technology. As with anything in this world, the more diverse we get, the more points of views, opinions and experiences can be leveraged in a company or a team, the better. The Girls in Tech organization is a platform to raise awareness for the challenges women are still facing in tech, and to instill in women that tech is for everyone and their experience and skills are needed.
Question: What do you do for work outside of Girls in Tech?
Eva: I’ve been a product manager for over 15 years. I started out working at Google and now I’m the Group Product Manager at Formstack. The headquarters is in Fishers, Indiana, but I work remotely.
Question: What led you to your current career?
Eva: After six years working in a bank, I decided it wasn’t for me. So I went back to school, got my Masters and found Google through a friend who worked there. I liked the culture and the idea that employees are assets, not costs. I found myself troubleshooting for my clients a lot and moved into a product role a year after I started. At first as product specialist in Hamburg, Germany, responsible for Europe, Middle East and Africa and then as Product Manager in Mountain View, CA.
Question: How did your family life or parents influence you professionally?
Eva: I grew up in Germany, my dad was an electrical engineer, and my mom stayed home with me and my brother. We were outside most of the time and generally lived a very protected life. My dad loved to travel, so during every school holiday we packed our Westfalia camper van and traveled all over Western Europe, from southern Spain to northern Scotland. Which was annoying at times but in hindsight, it widened my horizon and trained me to be open to otherness. It’s a wonderful world we live in and every single one of us is different with an interesting story and precious gifts to contribute.
Question: How can women of all ages be best prepared for what’s ahead in tech?
Eva: I found that the product management approach can be applied to pretty much everything in life. I would encourage everyone to start product managing their life. What is your vision for yourself? What is important, what are your values? And then define a strategy to get there, something that is flexible and can be adjusted with new information that you learn. Most importantly, don’t ever let anyone tell you “This cannot be done,” or “You cannot do this.”
Question: What programs would you like Girls in Tech Phoenix to offer in the future?
Eva: I would love to find a way to make access to computers available to more girls and women as well as a community that helps at every step of the way.
Question: How can the business community in Phoenix support the mission of GIT?
Eva: By educating themselves about the challenges women are still facing entering or inside the workplace today, not just in technology. A good rule for us could be that we need to stop stereotyping and instead try to get to know and appreciate each other as we are.
Question: What resources do you recommend to help women stay up to date on the changing technology landscape and women’s related issues?
Eva: I read a lot of fiction books. Fiction increases empathy, creativity and storytelling skills. As for podcasts, Ted Radio Hour is a great way to learn new things and then dive deeper into a given topic through books, more Ted Talks or Podcasts. You can’t go anywhere on the Internet today without finding resources to learn more about technology.
Question: What are you most proud of accomplishing?
Eva: I’m glad that I worked on myself with a coach and realized all my triggers and patterns and found a way out of those to not let my past dictate how I am today. Oh, and that I finished writing a book about my cross country motorcycle trip across the USA.
her job at Google. She rode from San Francisco to the East Coast and Back.
10,000 miles and 17 states on a Ducati Monster. She wrote a book about
it called Maria on Bike, available on Amazon or Apple Books.
Question: Who have been your strongest influences in life?
Eva: It’s a high aspiration, but I would say the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. Particularly when it comes to being able to forgive and living a life full of compassion and joy.
Question: Any last words or things you’d like folks to know?
Eva: Read a lot. Nonfiction AND fiction. Meditate. And do something that scares you or makes you uncomfortable every day, no matter how small. Learn about the inner critic and impostor syndrome and what to do about it. I wish I had learned about it as a child.