Sheri Dover moved to Portland in 2011, the year Puppet was founded. At that time, the startup scene in Portland was fairly non-existent. However, Sheri was undeterred by the lack of an established scene. She had already fallen in love with technology as a tool for economic empowerment. Her passion for technology, eye for community development, and collaborative leadership style have helped to make the Portland tech scene what it is today.
To grow a tech scene, Sheri believed that Portland needed mentors and space where people were interested in startups. By nurturing an environment that was supportive of tech, Portland would be ready when VCs started to looking for places to invest outside the Bay Area. Sheri jumped into creating a tech-focused, mentor-rich space by organizing StartUP weekend for 5 years as well as by getting involved with TIE Oregon. While she worked with these organizations, Portland developed from a place where a person couldn’t really start a startup, to a place where a person could, to a place that with the opposite problem – thriving startups but a dearth of talent to work in the tech industry.
The talent crisis started in 2012. Companies competing to attract talent were in an arms race to offer the best perks. It was unsustainable. It also had the potential to damage the tech scene because if companies couldn’t attract talent here, they would have to go elsewhere. In speaking with her network of startup enthusiasts, Sheri decided that Portland needed to grow its own talent A friend recommend Sheri start a bootcamp and shortly thereafter PDX Code Guild was born.
Three years later, PDX Code Guild is not an experiment anymore. It is an established developer of tech talent and Sheri is an established CEO. Sheri loves her work. It is the perfect balance of big-picture thinking and impact on the individual. She loves seeing the transformation in people as they go from novice often feeling stuck in a dead-end job to a junior developer with the opportunity for a career. She also loves knowing that she is creating jobs. Like every other project, she has led, PDX Code Guild also provides community space. “Half of our square footage is community space because it is so important. It is part of what gives us soul.” I have every confidence that whatever challenge the Portland tech scene faces next, Sheri will be crafting the communities that address it.