Celebrating International Women’s Day: meet some of the women building and supporting Patreon

March 8, 2023

Celebrating the women across Patreon's teams.

Angela Raiford, chief of staff

Angela supports Patreon’s Operations and Marketing teams working to drive organizational excellence and foster team engagement through a dynamic operating cadence. She also leads the Represent ERG for people of color at Patreon.

Headshot of Angela with curly, Black hair in a yellow sweater smiling, against a dark backdrop

What’s most rewarding about working at Patreon?
In my spare time, I love tackling new handcrafts, so it's a fun experience discovering new creators and watching them develop, thanks to their usage of membership. We're working on services that have improved creators' lives and have inspired millions of patrons. That's incredible.

What’s the best piece of advice you would share with someone who is joining the Patreon team?
Find the tailwinds. That's the secret to success anywhere. Continuous shows of value and progress will enable both your career progression and value creation for creators and patrons.

Ellen Satterwhite, US policy lead

Ellen works on Communications and Policy at Patreon.

Headshot of Ellen in a brown blouse, with shoulder length brown hair sitting outside

Our core values help bring our mission to life. Which of Patreon’s core values stands out to you most?
One of our core values is “Put Creators First.” That resonates for me because I believe in making tech work for people, not the other way around. That’s what is so exciting to me about what Patreon is doing; helping creators take advantage of the technological advances of the last several decades to pursue their passions and build these amazing communities. And helping people be compensated fairly and with dignity for their work is inspiring and not just another job.

What’s most rewarding about working at Patreon?
We’re creating something entirely new with some of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with. That’s motivating, exciting, and an interesting puzzle to solve.

Zoë Gordin, software engineer

Zoë is part of our Creator Tools team, building software to enable creators to understand, manage, and grow their business on Patreon. As a backend engineer, she works on designing and building the data models and APIs that power these features.

Zoe is in a black shirt, and glasses, with her hair pulled back. A building towers behind her.

What excited you about Patreon and ultimately led you to join?
I’ve been a Patreon user since 2017 when one of my favorite podcasts started posting an extra episode every week on the platform. Many other podcasts I’m a fan of have followed, and I’ve loved seeing how creating on Patreon has allowed podcast hosts and many other creators to flourish, create content they love, and build community with their fans. I jumped at the opportunity to join Patreon and build software to help creators succeed.

Which of Patreon’s core values stands out to you most?
I love that our core value, Build With Craft turns all of us into creators. I’ve never considered myself as being very creative, but working at Patreon has taught me that my work is my craft — building the best tools and features for creators requires cross-functional teamwork, quick decision making, and meeting high standards of excellence. Focusing on building with craft has both helped me grow as an engineer and helped my team to deliver the best work possible to creators.

Ngoc Sotelo, director, design

Ngoc leads our Growth Product Design team, focused on helping creators get started and grow on Patreon. She also leads UX Content Design, a discipline within Design that uses the power of words to craft clear and compelling user experiences.

Ngoc wears an olive green long-sleeve shirt and covers her face from the sun with her hand.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?
As a naturally quiet person, I faced some imposter syndrome early in my management career. I saw leaders as the outspoken, loud voice in the room. My manager at the time encouraged me to lean into my own strengths and style, and I've come to love that I can be an example of soft-spoken and effective leadership. Do it your way, for you — don't measure success against someone else's idea of success.

What’s most rewarding about working at Patreon?
It's an exciting time to be building for creators, and you can feel it in the air, in every conversation, and in every document. Not only are we all laser-focused on making the world better for creators, but we're also having fun and building meaningful relationships along the way.

Sarah Penna, senior manager, creator partnerships

Sarah leads our Creator Partnerships team. She’s also a co-lead for our Sprouts ERG, which supports parents at Patreon.

Sarah has long brown hair and is wearing a green jumpsuit, while leaning against a white wall, smiling.

What challenges have you been most excited to tackle since joining?
The Creator Economy is really heating up to the idea of membership, and my team is front lines in helping to educate the marketplace on why membership is a must-have vs. a nice-to-have for creators. I love coming to work every day to work with some of the smartest, most collaborative people to tackle this challenge.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?
Uplift others and hire people smarter than you in skillsets you don’t have. I find that people’s egos can get in the way when they’re in leadership positions — they can be scared of having folks who are smarter than them in the room or default to thinking they need to be the loudest or take credit for others’ ideas. I strive to cultivate a leadership style that empowers and supports my colleagues while acknowledging my own knowledge gaps. This philosophy has yielded positive results for me, and I've observed many like-minded leaders at Patreon take a similar approach.

Vertika Srivastava, software engineer

Vertika is currently working on Patreon’s experimentation framework and processes to enable better and faster A/B testing. She also spends time mentoring and on Diversity and Inclusion initiatives.

Vertika has short black hair. She is wearing a blue jean shirt, and standing with crossed arms

What first interested you in the Creator Economy?
Creating and experiencing art, especially dance, music, and writing, has always been a significant part of my life. I love knowing that the work I’m doing helps build a more sustainable financial path for creators.

"Building a company of intensely curious people who are all driven to make a difference in the world — one that revolves around helping people build communities where they are embraced, accepted, and celebrated — that’s really special."

Emily Lakin, head of creator community

Emily leads the Community pillar of our Creator Development team, where we provide the resources and peer connections to help creators feel less isolated in their journey and supported to achieve their goals.

Emily has curly brown, shoulder-length hair, wearing a salmon top with a jean jacket, and blue and white polka dot scarf around her neck

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?
“Know what fulfills you in your work and the legacy you want to leave in your job.” For me, the most fulfilling part of my work is creating experiences that bring people together while helping them cultivate a greater understanding of themselves and their connection to the larger world.

I’m fortunate to work with talented and passionate people who care about the role creativity plays in our society. When I began running community programs at Patreon, I developed A. Club (peer accountability clubs), which has connected creators for meaningful conversations across 70 countries to date. Now that I’m leading a team, I’m building on this legacy to help more of our creator community find and support each other through the work of our Creator Development team.

Hayley Rosenblum, head of online community

Hayley oversees the Official Patreon Creator Community Discord server, where creators can connect, support, collaborate, and grow with one another online. Hayley is also co-chair of Patreon’s Intersections Employee Resource Group, whose mission is to support, connect and promote allyship for underrepresented genders at Patreon.

Haley, with shoulder length brown hair, smiles in front of a white background, in a plaid shirt, wearing blue glasses.

Which of Patreon’s core values stands out to you most?
I am a huge believer and practitioner of Patreon’s core value Put Creators First. Prior to joining Patreon, I spent many years as an integral part of musician Amanda Palmer’s independent management and label team, where I managed her fan community and Patreon page. This gives me a unique perspective in representing Patreon’s creator community as I advocate to internal teams so that creators' needs, ideas, and perspectives can be incorporated into our work. Creators are the “why” behind everything we do at Patreon, and I appreciate that it’s deeply ingrained into our culture and company mission through this core value.

Melissa Montgomery, senior director of accounting

Melissa’s team runs our internal day-to-day accounting and financial operations, which spans from getting vendors paid to producing our monthly financial results.

Melissa has blonde hair pulled back into a bun and wears a floral top, smiles at camera.

What excited you about Patreon and ultimately led you to join?
Patreon is in the midst of changing the way people make a living on a much larger scale. The opportunities Patreon provides to creators are opening doors that they never imagined. We are inspiring younger generations to completely rethink what it means to have a career as a creator. For all of those reasons, I wanted to be part of a company that is truly evolving our culture and moving us forward.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?
A mentor of mine once cautioned me on how people in their careers may assume their career steps should fit perfectly like pieces of a puzzle. It stuck with me because a career is a journey, and you can’t always force it. Sometimes opportunities fall into place, sometimes they don’t. But, every opportunity I have ever had is something I have learned from — good or bad — and we learn or change from it. This small piece of advice helped me to focus on what I am learning and growing from and to be patient on the journey.

Val Booth, software engineer

Val is part of our Frontend Platform team, writing code for Patreon.com. She’s building frameworks that help her coworkers write features; think tooling to enable better Typescript checking or the part of the tech stack that ensures you receive Patreon from the internet quickly.

Val wears a teal beanie and black jacket, in front of a city landscape

What’s different about building for creators?
I’m learning about new creators we support all the time, and our creators are much more diverse than only the top YouTubers or podcasters I expected to encounter when I joined. Patreon had Rock M Sakura host a drag bingo at the office, we have a growing group of 3D miniature file artists, and one of my teammates supports a creator who teaches her woodworking.

What excited you about Patreon and ultimately led you to join?
While I was interviewing with Patreon, a creator I support, Brian David Gilbert shared his thoughts about his first year being independent on Patreon, which resonated with me. Thanks to the support from his patrons, he could make wacky niche content, be picky about ad deals, and pay collaborators. Now that I work at Patreon, I have a second way to support him and other awesome creators like The Free Black Women’s Library and the Cat Man of West Oakland.

Molly Hayden, senior executive assistant

Molly supports executives in our Finance, Operations, and Marketing teams. She’s also the co-lead for Intersections, ERG for minority and underrepresented genders.

What’s most rewarding about working at Patreon?
Supporting creators and putting them first in every single decision we make. Without them, there is no us. I’m thankful to come to a job that I love with incredibly talented people every day.

Lindsey Sanford, senior director of employee experience

Lindsey works on creating an engaging employee experience and building connections in the business between our workplace experience, IT, internal communications, and our D&I strategy. What this means is tackling difficult problems like inclusion, our diversity efforts, and the future of work.

Lindsey has mid-length blone hair, wears a floral shirt, and stands against a natural background.

What first interested you in the Creator Economy?
As I started researching the opportunity at Patreon, it ignited a fire inside of me. That sounds cliche, but there’s something uniquely special about finding your community — it makes you feel included and makes you feel at home. Building a company of intensely curious people who are all driven to make a difference in the world — one that revolves around helping people build communities where they are embraced, accepted, and celebrated — that’s really special.

What’s it like working at Patreon?
Patreon has a lot of hurdles ahead of us — but you’re running a race with a group of incredibly talented people who want to make a difference in the world. You’re going to hit blockers and immense challenges in an environment that is hungry to make a change. That means the pace is fast, and you might not always have all the information you want, all the answers to the questions — but it’s that frenetic pace and energy that keeps me coming back to my desk day after day.