Lena Levine shares insight on her company, her career challenges, and her passion to help others
This past week I had the chance to sit down with Lena Levine, Creative Director and Owner of Lena Levine Studio and the founder of Girl Develop it Buffalo! Lena has years of experience in web design and development and has now applied her skills and talents to helping others with things like web design, mobile app development, building online stores, and much more! I asked Lena all about her experiences and work in the digital world:
How did you get started in the digital world?
“I was always the geeky kid growing up and I always had a special interest in technology. I got into coding when I was 12. My first coding language was Microsoft basic. From there I took my passion for coding and went to University for computer science. After University I became really interested and web development and started learning a lot of it on my own. That is how I got into my current career path in web development and design which took me to where I am now.”
Can you speak a little bit about Lena Levine Studio and Girl Develop it Buffalo?
“I started my web design studio a few years ago. We are a digital agency so we offer a variety of services such as graphic and UX/UI design, web development, mobile app development, and we are also currently tapping into blockchain as well. The way I see it, we are essentially in the business of problem-solving. People will come to us with different challenges they have on their plate and we use our services to help solve them.
Girl Develop it Buffalo is a chapter of a national nonprofit organization. We are one of 63 chapters and currently, we have almost 900 members! The goal of the organization is to create the space for anyone who is interested in learning coding. Our primary focus is on women and we want to help get women excited about coding and bridge the gender gap in technology. We offer these coding classes anywhere from entry level all the way to advanced.”
What made you want to help others to learn to code?
“When I first moved to Buffalo in 2009 I was looking to connect and meet like-minded people in the Buffalo tech community. Around 2010/11 I started going to different meetups and I remember there were about three different meetups in Buffalo at the time. I wanted to create something where I could connect with developers in the early levels of their careers. That is what made me want to get more involved in the community and was the reason why I started Girl Develop It Buffalo. I really saw it as a great way to give back and have fun at the same time.”
What was the biggest challenge you faced thus far in your career?
“There have definitely been a lot of challenges across the span of my career. I would say the biggest challenge was moving to the US from another country and starting from zero without knowing anybody. I always thought of myself as someone who would work within a big company for someone else, but dealing with some of these challenges helped me to become really entrepreneurial and apply the skills I have learned to my career now.”
Best book/blog/podcast that has helped you along your career?
“I read a lot of different books. My philosophy is that it is necessary to keep reading and to keep learning to better yourself. Lately, I have been reading a lot about sales and leadership from different industries. I even recently read a few books about the real estate industry and it is really interesting to learn about the different principles and ways they attain business. One of the books I read that was really great is called the The Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Gary Keller. It was really interesting to have a glance into a completely different industry. A lot of times we are so focused on our own niche that we forget to take a look at different and better ways that things can be done.”
Advice for someone who wants to get into the world of technology?
“If they want to get into tech, I think step one is to get involved in the community. Go to events, go meet local leaders and build connections. Having those connections can be really helpful when the right opportunity arises. The second step is to be proactive and if you do not have enough experience go out and intern or reach out to local companies expressing your eagerness to learn. Companies really appreciate people who want to learn and grow.”
What does your future hold?
“My current focus is on growing my studio and building more custom products and mobile solutions. We have also added a strategic marketing component in the last year and that is one of the things I have noticed that can really help companies to take their business to the next level. We really just want to keep focusing on how to create more value for our customers and the best way to deliver those results to grow their business. And of course, continuing to have fun!”
A huge thank you to Lena for taking the time to share some information about her career! If you want to check out some more of Lena’s work head over to www.lenalevinestudio.com!