Meet Holy, Founder and Editor-In-Chief of UNTOUCHD Magazine - A lifestyle magazine for women inspired by tech. She has a knack for #neverstoplearning, found her way through the front-end world and still explores the many layers of tech. In her spare time you can find her helping others write their first line of code. She is an advocate for community building and support while learning. She previously worked with General Assembly, and volunteered with a Girl Develop It local chapter. She now runs UNTOUCHD Magazine full-time and focuses on promoting balance and wellness in tech through UNTOUCHD and newfound blog @aliveandplants.
LFC: You started Untouchd Magazine as a lifestyle magazine for women inspired by tech. What is your goal with Untouchd?
Holy P.: I have, yes! And one of the reasons I wanted to add lifestyle in our description is because this is something we don’t pay attention to. Sure, most of us are sitting down at our computers for very long hours and then we forget to eat or even take a walk -- (this used to be me! I now wake up at 6AM every morning for a run, and I feel amazing!)! I want to help re-introduce balance in a work day/life with healthy eats, hence the recipes! I want to help break the stereotype that tech means coffee and boys only clubs.
Learning to code wasn’t easy. I came into the field without any background in programming, let alone the meaning of “code” before my studies. But I never lost hope. Okay, I did a few times, tears included, HA! And that’s the thing they don’t tell you, it gets hard. But trust me when I say it gets better - and this is applicable to anything in life.
UNTOUCHD’s goal is to share the balance and passion we all have for tech. While our tagline reads “for women inspired by tech”, this goes for everyone. I am also thankful that men make up a big part of our audience. It’s simple, we all have a story on where we started, how we learned, and where we are going, and this is what makes UNTOUCHD different. It’s like a storytelling book with advice and kickass recipes! Take that for a Sunday’s read!
LFC: Your passion for creating an all inclusive community in the tech world, balanced with health, is truly admirable. What has the response to Untouchd been like?
HP: It’s been overwhelmingly amazing, and positive. I am still shocked! The first issue of UNTOUCHD took 6 months to create, and this is coming from someone who had zero knowledge on how to build a magazine. I took a leap of faith, I had a concept, I tested the idea, and shared it with friends, and visitors. I listened to my Instagram peers - I’ve built a friendship with many of them; it’s been awesome! I learned about their struggles, their worries, and built a product that would help break that fear of learning when it comes to a career in technology. Being able to hear from different people with different backgrounds and cultures has been an eye opener, and extremely reassuring to know that we’re not alone; we’re all in this together. We’ve received some great feedback, recognition, and I simply just want to keep true to our mission as we go - to inspire more women to dive into one of the many layers of tech! I want to say to everyone who has tagged, read, bought, saved, tweeted all things social media about UNTOUCHD, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you more than you’ll ever know.
LFC: Where did your personal interest in tech come from? Was there anyone who encouraged you to pursue it?
HP: It’s funny, it just sort of “happened”. Before I learned to code, I was a vegan food blogger. I curated recipes, shared food reviews, worked with companies on upcoming products, and traveled for the latest food craze, and restaurant opening. I always had a visual eye, and a love for blogging. One morning, I woke up with a burnout, and ended it all. I sent a message to my friends, and fans, and put my blog on hiatus. I looked at my site, and wondered how it was made. The Wordpress theme I was using at the moment was gorgeous, and made everything work for me, but how? And that’s how my curiosity led me to coding. After a Google search, I learned about coding, and signed up to a free online HTML/CSS course, and geeked out. A coding bootcamp in my area came up in the search, I looked it up, attended a few sessions to validate this burning passion to code, and the rest is history… (I am a Graduate of General Assembly’s Front-End Web Development course)
LFC: How do you manage running Untouchd with other professional/personal areas of your life?
HP: Man, I am trying! HAHA! At the moment, UNTOUCHD is all that I am doing (I wear all hats). I previously just quit my job to work full-time on UM and freelance work (including brand marketing and guest tech writing). Has it been challenging? Absolutely! I would be a liar to say it’s perfect and easy. But, I can appreciate the challenges it brings; it only makes me appreciate the road I’ve chosen even more. Everyday comes with a new possibility, and appreciation for the craft I’ve built. It’s important to have a hobby outside of “tech”, and/or your any career you’re in. When I am not working on UM, networking, teaching, or speaking, I am in my kitchen cooking, curating an organic plant-based skincare, and getting things ready for my wellness and recipe blog @aliveandplants, and yes, magazine included - obvs! ;)
LFC: 5% of leadership jobs in technology are held by women. What does this statistic mean to you?
HP: We need more women not afraid to step in and own it, that simple! It is challenging, but what isn’t in life, right?! But, I think this is the right time to confidently make the first step; the resources are here! It’s time to disrupt the industry -- positively, of course!
LFC: Untouchd is available as a free download - do you think this is expected of online publications these days? How do you envision monetising the magazine long term?
HP: I do! I wanted to make UNTOUCHD available to everyone with easy access. I don’t think it would have been a good move on my part to have charged for our first publication right off the bat. We have now released our first three issues online - you can read us via www.untouchd.co | www.issuu.com/untouchdmagazine. You can also own a copy of UNTOUCHD in print form. We are currently using a print-on-demand model but hope to change this in 2018. Quite frankly I was shocked at the demand for print. I didn’t think UNTOUCHD was worthy enough to be printed and kept around (#honesty). But with time and feedback, those doubts have gone away, and I do proudly know that we are valuable enough to be printed and set aside with other magazines.
UNTOUCHD Magazine is different. I am confident today to say that we are different, and the market is open for us, too! We have sponsors who helped keep us running, and we do have a support button on our site! As of now, UNTOUCHD is ad-free, and I wish to keep it this way. If you are company or individual interested to share your story, and help sponsor one of our issues, let me know - firstname.lastname@example.org.
LFC: And lastly, we’d like to end it on an LFC note. What does being an #entrefemmeur mean to you?
HP: LOVE the hashtag! Simple! Being an #entrefemmeur means being a woman entrepreneur is attainable. We have the same skill-set, brain power, and confidence as any men. So why shy away from wanting to boss up, and get sh*t done our way? It’s time we confidently walk the walk, and do what we want. We are an empowering bunch, and I strongly want us -- woman to woman, to continue to lift each other up, and not compete!
To learn more about Holy, you can visit her Instagram.