Busy Bee Meets Boss Babes Part 10. Amber Manry

Hi busy bees,

I'm back with another boss babe on the blog! Meet 

Amber Manry! 

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Amber and I connected through the RVA boss babes network and as an educator, I just HAD to feature her amazing business, Bitcubs. 

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Bitcubs is "a company dedicated to introducing kids, ages 3-14, to code.  We use a play-based approach to teach basic coding concepts.  At the elementary school age, children are exposed to the most rudimentary concepts through physical play.  Ironically, we believe that children absorb these concepts better when they are first taught off-screen.  Similarly, if children learn about the zoo in the classroom and then visit the zoo, they retain more information than going straight to the zoo.  We've known this for decades, but for some reason, the same rationale is not always applied to computer science. At the early ages of 3-10, children in our program are not expected to type code onto a computer.  They are building the fundamentals to better prepare them for taking more advanced programming classes.  Children can be taught about loops, functions, and conditional statements by relating these concepts to material that they already know." 

Isn't that amazing? 

Let's get started!

Meet Amber: 

Hi folks! I’m Amber Manry, and I originally hail from Va. Beach. I studied Systems Engineering at UVa and then moved to the DC area. I worked as a software developer and technical architect for about 17 years before moving to Richmond.

On June 1, 2017, I launched my company bitcubs which is dedicated to exposing kids to code at an early age. We use a play-based approach to teaching and emphasize methods of teaching off-screen. I first got this idea back in 2013 when I volunteered for my daughter’s preschool. As the years went by, I found that I couldn’t juggle a demanding IT career and teach my children about code. I have known my whole life that I wanted to start my own business and I’ve dreamed of having a second career teaching in some capacity. After 20 years working as a computer programmer, I knew I had the tools, knowledge, and passion to launch my own venture.

Tell us about your responsibilities as a boss babe!  

I have all the same responsibilities that any other entrepreneur has from marketing, recruiting, advertising, website management, payroll, etc. The responsibility that weighs on my shoulders the most is the ability to make an impact on children.

As a female role model in a field notorious for sexism and a terrible gender wage gap, I feel a duty to give back to females interested pursuing a career in IT.

What routines do you have to keep you on task, and productive? 

I start every day with breakfast with the family and loads of coffee. I try to set aside set specific hours for checking email and social media so I don’t waste too much time procrastinating. On busy days, I make sure my cell phone isn’t in the same room as me so I’m not constantly scanning it for emails, etc. I use a tool called Trello to keep track of all my tasks for the day. Each day, I look at the list and figure out what I’m going to try an accomplish.
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What keeps you motivated?

I usually talk to my husband or a good friend. My husband has been analyzing companies his entire career, so he’s a good sounding board for me. I have a friend that is a great at marketing and sales and talking to her gives me a great perspective. They both have no technical background, so I like to get their viewpoint. After talking to them, I usually get some more ideas on how to reach my potential customers. Usually, when I have a day when I feel down, something miraculous happens the next day and things turn around. It is truly an emotional roller coaster.

My family means the world to me. My husband and I have been married for 10 years, and we have 2 spunky daughters that keep us on our toes. Three years ago, my bought our dream home when we moved to Richmond. We look forward to watching our girls grow up in our neighborhood.
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What are your favorite tools to stay productive and organized?

I have so many. Here’s my short list:
1) Mom’s Family Calendar by Sandra Boynton
2) Dymo Label Maker
3) Trello - Task List
4) Dropbox
5) MixMax - Chrome Plug-in for gmail that allows me to schedule meetings very quickly.
6) Grammarly - Chrome Plug-in that checks all my grammar for me.

What do you say to people who look at you and think, "I just don't know how she does it all!" 
How do you maintain a positive work/life balance?!

I don’t always have a positive work/life balance! My house is often messy. My kids fight all the time. At the end of the day, I love what I do so it doesn’t feel like “work”. I am extremely grateful to have a supportive husband. I’m not sure I could have taken the leap to start my own business without him.

What advice do you have for other female entrepreneurs? 

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I saw this graphic of a juggler the other day and it reminded me of being an entrepreneur. For every success, we have had hundreds of failures that preceded.

Isn't Amber amazing? I had so many goosebumps while reading her responses and creating this blog post. Her WHY is so strong, and the love she has for her family is so evident. 

As an educator, I am continuing to work on building up my students, especially in Math and Science. I am making more of an effort to prioritize technology skills and we do a week of code in the spring, where students learn these concepts. Computer Science is our future and I am so excited about what bitcubs is doing for children. 

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Amber, thank you for being part of this series! Your mission and work is so inspiring and you are a total rockstar. 

You can follow Amber at:

Website: www.bitcubs.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bitcubs/

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