How AllWomen Creates Access and Affordability to Tech Careers For Women Across the Globe
Disco’s Customer Stories highlights the world-changing impact customers are making with their respective learning communities.
allWomen is shaping the global future of tech leadership from Barcelona. They offer cohort-based as well as on-demand courses in a number of tech career paths like data science and UX design, plus career development resources and a thriving, female-empowered community to boot.
We sat down with three of allWomen’s nine core team members: Laura Fernández Giménez, Founder and CEO, Daniela Pardo, Program Experience Lead, and Daniela Savalli, Program Experience to get a better glimpse into the allWomen community and their plan to unlock access to tech education and careers for all women, everywhere — plus, how they’re using Disco to make it happen.
We’d love to hear where the idea for allWomen originated from. How did it come to life?
We started allWomen four years ago. The co-founders were at a tech event and there were no female speakers there. Not a single one. It got us thinking about how we need to close the gender gap for women in tech while also helping young people find jobs.
“At the time, there was a huge economic crisis happening in Spain and a lot of the younger generation was facing unemployment, so we were thinking about the skills gap — especially in data science.”
We took that and ran with it, creating our first data science course. At the time, it was full-time and in-person. We added courses in product management and UX/UI design after that, noting that there was a lot of opportunity in that space. After some time, we realized a full-time option wasn’t conducive for the women in our community.
“They didn’t have the same disposal of time, the way society is built around us (as women), so we designed part-time courses that would allow women to balance work and take care of other parts of their lives while learning these new skills.”
How did the pandemic affect those in-person courses?
We had to adapt to what was happening around us, of course. At that time, we were offering our courses in person in a classroom in the center of Barcelona. Our students wanted us to keep offering these courses online, so Dani Pardo, Program Experience Lead, put it together in 24 hours. We just kept looking for ways to improve the experience. It was interesting to hear from students taking these remote courses just how flexible and practical it could be, especially to draw in an international crowd, like a student in Germany or Paris.
It added a lot of richness to our classes at this time, knowing that learning could be brought into the digital era and people could learn from their own homes or offices. It helped allWomen accelerate and reach more women on a bigger, global scale.
When did you decide to begin offering a self-paced, on-demand course option for these career tracks?
We had a full-time, in-person course. We had a part-time, in-person course. Then, we began offering remote classes, and we quickly learned that an on-demand course should also be an option for these women. Sometimes the specific time and date of a live course doesn’t work for people. We need to have flexibility around us, so we created asynchronous courses this year. There’s still a human component, but you can do it on your own time. Before that, we realized we were missing out on a lot of people.
“These asynchronous courses allow us to be more accessible, right? More women can have access to our courses and the tech skills they need to thrive.”
So how many courses does allWomen offer members today?
Four remote courses:
- Data Science
- Data Analytics
- UX/UI Design
- Product Management
Four on-demand courses:
- Data Analytics Foundation
- Essential Product Management
- UX Research Foundation
- UI Foundation
Plus, corporate training for B2B clients who want internal content for upskilling their staff.
allWomen has grown so fast so quickly. It’s really amazing. What are your members looking for when they seek out your community? What are their goals?
A lot of women come from tech backgrounds or have some tech skills, but they’re looking to get trained in a new job within the tech field in order to really fight imposter syndrome. They know the training is out there, but they don’t have the soft and hard skills they need necessarily to find the career path they want.
Our members are super committed to learning, and a lot of them are seeking on-demand courses they can complete on their own time more affordably because they may lack time or money that could help them reach their goal.
Members who seek us out tend to be between 25-32 years old. They didn’t study software engineering or math or anything tech-related in college, so a lot of them are taking that first step with us. Some really want to change careers, so they’re looking for more of a bootcamp-style course with deep mentorship. Others are upskillers who have a job they love, but they need to integrate these tech skills in order to keep moving up. Finally, we have a lot of mothers who are on maternity leave and want to learn new skills prior to going back onto the job. Some ladies are just curious! They want to learn something new and get a glimpse into tech.
How many people are on the team and what are their roles?
Our core team is an international team. We have all different nationalities! There are nine people on the core team.
Our marketing team has a designer and a content marketing expert. Our admissions team admits people to our courses.
Our network of instructors for our bootcamps or our on-demand courses, that’s at least 50 people deep. Many of them are part-time, working a 9-5 job in addition to teaching with us.
When did you make that first hire to the core team? Who were they?
It wasn’t in the first year, but after that, we hired someone to coordinate the courses and the admissions — a lot of multi-tasking. Then, Dani (Pardo) joined our team to take over the product side so that person could take care of the admissions side. Our third hire was a full-time data structure person who worked internally.
You always have to wear a lot of hats that first year. Now with a team in place, what is your business model? How have you monetized the community or your courses?
We don’t monetize the community, per se. We charge by the course. Once you complete a course, you’re granted access to the alumni community for life, and there’s no cost to access that community.
Right now, we are transitioning and scaling the business with our on-demand courses. So far, the community aspect of allWomen happens very naturally, but we’re always pushing content and community interaction. We host live events and networking opportunities, too. For example: When someone graduates, you can be a teacher assistant in the next course or you can be a mentor. It comes full circle.
Everything happens very rapidly, though. We are all here on a mission — the instructors, the team, and the students. It just happens kind of naturally. We know the names of our graduates, we’re in contact directly with them. They also interact with our instructors and reach out to our alumni to ask them questions, get bits of advice, and find mentoring.
It means a lot to them. So far, allWomen’s community has happened very organically. We are super grateful about that, because we have a mission that is important for everyone involved.
Wow. How big is the community now?
Over 30,000 people. Growth is very consistent. You can join the community, even if you haven’t taken a course, and unlock access to all of our events and networking opportunities. It builds trust first.
Have you had any members join multiple courses?
Yeah, we have students that have done, for example, the UX/UI bootcamp, and then they will take product management, because it's related. We have one student now who was in data science full-time, then she got a job at a big company, and now she's taking product management because she wants to stay at the company.
Tell us how you’re marketing allWomen.
Our acquisition strategy is 50/50 organic and paid.
We find 50% of our customers organically, through channels like:
- Our content, like our weekly newsletter
- Social media, like Instagram
- Organic community efforts, like events and networking opportunities
The other 50% comes from paid acquisition, like:
- Social media ads, like Facebook and Instagram (which we have found to be more efficient than ads on LinkedIn or AdWords).
Do you have a referral program?
We’ve never found the right formula for this. We try different things, but we’ve found if members do refer us, they do so organically because they had a good experience and they’re driven by the mission.
So what’s your plan to scale? Do you want to grow more globally?
Our growth is so organic. We’re very proud of everything we’ve accomplished to date, but our bootcamps haven’t kept up with that growth which is why we’ve really invested in on-demand asynchronous courses in order to be more accessible and flexible. We want women around the globe in any timezone to be able to access these courses.
We’re taking our biggest bet over the next few years by transforming the learning experiences we offer in able to do that — going from 100% live to a fully asynchronous model and lowering our prices to grow bigger with better, more affordable access. Accessibility is huge for us.
Speaking of accessibility, how do you manage global pricing structures?
99% of our students live in western Europe; places like France, Germany, Spain, and Italy, and they’re all on the same pricing structure. That structure may look different to someone in the US versus Africa or Asia or Europe.
It definitely feels very community-oriented. Is that what you see for the future of learning?
Flexibility, accessibility, capacity — this is what I’ve learned over the last four years with allWomen. We need to be learning all the time (for our careers and our lives), so we need to make that more efficient. That gives us the capacity to create the recipe for training for new roles that we don’t even know exist yet.
YSpace is using Disco to democratize entrepreneurship and help underrepresented communities bring their businesses to life. Learn more about their story here.
And we created Disco to enable just that! Let’s talk about your experience with the platform. What challenges were you hoping to solve when you were searching for a new platform?
I think what I liked is that everything is integrated. You can do your teaching experience, you can create your community with all the event integrations, you can integrate your payment platform — I liked it for our on-demand approach.
I remember, at the time, we were looking at Disco for our bootcamp side of the business, as well, but it fit better for the on-demand side. We need those video and communication integrations for on-demand. It’s a super intuitive platform and easy to upload your curriculum and connect everything.
What made you switch from Notion to Disco for those on-demand courses?
We have tons of content — like, 400+ hours of content. It’s heavy stuff. Notion worked for that heavier lifting. Our on-demand courses clocked in at 25-30 hours a piece, and we wanted to start there and see how it worked with all of the integrations.
Would you use Disco to host your 30,000-strong community?
We started using Disco in the summer! We’re trying to bring together our community entirely on Disco. They live in different bubbles — some on Instagram, some on our mailing list, some in our graduate program — they’re all in different places.
So we’re moving members over to Disco, and we have over 1,000 members on there now. We started attracting them by posting events. It’s been really useful to have this community space where they can interact.
Are there Disco features you’re really loving? Something that makes you think ‘Wow. This is really great.’
The reports are super important to us, because we can track what our members are doing and when they’re going to an experience (like our events). Even though we don’t have a ton of our members on Disco yet, we can track important KPIs.
Another feature we love? The integrations that allow us to host all our live sessions and events on Disco. It’s kind of cool, because you don’t have to send a link or an email. It’s all right there, and every member that attends is able to pay with a card on the checkout page.
“From a marketing perspective and an operations perspective, Disco is efficient and super easy for everyone to use.”
Try and quantify what that time-saving looks like, from an operational perspective.
I was uploading our new courses — experiences, as we call them — and to upload all the videos and audio I had from the production team, it took me about a week, which is super fast. Compare that to Notion, where you have to link to everything in, say, Google Drive or a Slack or other folders.
We can see this saving us time over the course of a year, too. We hope with Disco to simply set up the course or curriculum once and iterate only as needed, but you don’t have to change a bunch of things with each new cohort because those who are enrolled are integrated on the same platform that holds the content.
Going back to the future of learning, I think learning experiences are going to be more customized. This is something that was so cool about Disco – even the platform itself is customizable to our needs, and Disco has been super open to feedback and new features we need. This is something we can do back and forth with the platform, rather than working in a fixed system. It lets us customize the experience for our members.
Ultimately, what do your members think?
They love that Disco is super easy to use and really, really intuitive.
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