Search & Replace Episode S01E06: Tracey Welson-Rossman

Tracey Welson-Rossman runs marketing for Philadelphia-based technology company Chariot Solutions. Many other folks know her as the founder behind TechGirlz — with a Z — a nonprofit that develops free technology workshops that help inspire middle school aged girls all over the world to explore careers in technology.  She was also a founding member of Philly Startup Leaders — Philadelphia’s largest and most active community of startup entrepreneurs. Tracey’s been exploring the idea of what she calls an “itchy brain,” as she explains on this episode.

For the first time ever, we’re opening up the FULL conversation in a companion show we’re calling Everything We Found.

      Listen to Tracey’s extended interview about her next big idea and why Tori Amos inspires her

More about today’s guests:

Explore these related stories:


Announcer: [00:00:00] Support for the following podcast is provided by the user experience specialist at Johns and Taylor. More information follows this episode. 

Joe Taylor: [00:00:10] We've all had that feeling of wanting to scratch an itch. But what happens when that itch is coming from inside your brain? I'm Joe Taylor, Jr. This is Search and Replace.

Tracey Welson -Rossman runs marketing for Philadelphia based technology company, Chariot Solutions. Many other folks know her as the founder behind TechGirlz- with a Z. That's a nonprofit that develops free technology workshops that help inspire middle school aged girls all over the world to explore careers in technology.

She was also a founding member of Philly Startup Leaders, Philadelphia's largest and most active community of startup entrepreneurs. Tracey has been exploring the idea of what she calls an itch brain and I'll let her explain it. 

Tracey Welson-Rossman: [00:00:58] The best way I can describe my brain being itchy is I have idea or thought that.. it just keeps knocking in my head and I really need to it figure out. As I have been writing more, as I've been gathering different areas and bringing them together. My LinkedIn bio I've put on there dot connector. Bringing these different pieces together sometimes, just, it's a lot and he needs to get that information out. And for me until I scratched that itch. I just need to just get it out. Whether it's on paper, whether it's talking to somebody and it may not be a business idea, it could just be group of pieces that I've seen come together- that I think come together- into a cohesive, sort of, narrative.

Joe Taylor: [00:01:56] Tracey says that one of those itchy brain moments kicked off a five year journey to launching a nonprofit that addressed a significant gap she saw in the boardroom. 

Tracey Welson-Rossman: [00:02:05] TechGirlz came to be because of the work that I do- and this is the dot connecting. The work that I do at Chariot Solutions, one of the early founders, I'm the only woman sitting on the management team.

And I didn't really understand the why- of why was I not seeing more women come into this field? I really didn't understand it. I was working with really smart people. There was variety in what we were doing, the impact, the change that was happening, the flexibility. All these things just seemed to me a place where women would thrive.

I see this problem and I don't know how I can make a change. How I can change this. So in between being part of Chariot Solutions and starting TechGirlz, I was part of the founding of Philly Startup Leaders. That piece allowed me to feel that I could take my chance on starting TechGirlz, because we started an organization from scratch.

If I have something that is bothering me, if I start talking to people about it and laying down the gauntlet for myself that I'm going to try and do something, I wind up finding other people who are interested in the idea and want to be part of the journey. And it also keeps me accountable so that I not just spewing ideas.

And I didn't have the term then, but yeah, it was itching my brain and the way that it came out was TechGirlz. 

Joe Taylor: [00:03:47] Maybe your own brain's getting a little itchy, but you're feeling a little nervous about pursuing those ideas. Tracey's got advice she'd give to her younger self that might apply to you, too. 

Tracey Welson-Rossman: [00:03:58] A lot of times we talk about what would we tell our younger selves?

With the wisdom that we've gained right now. And some many times I hear other people and I say this a lot. Don't be so afraid. And I think that when I let go of fear of failure, that I could become that person who could have that idea and run with it and lead. Now when I talk about fear of failure, I also juxtapose that with the idea of you also have to understand the risks that you're taking so that you're not losing your entire livelihood or wellbeing with not jumping out of a plane without a parachute. But again, when I start thinking about what do I have to lose if I try this, that to me has been really the catalyst for changing who I am. 

Joe Taylor: [00:04:57] And if getting the satisfaction of scratching that mental itch isn't enough. You can think about the impact your idea might make on your community. 

Tracey Welson-Rossman: [00:05:05] This weekend, one of our early moms- I connect with her on LinkedIn, and then she writes this, like, three paragraphs of what I had given to her and her daughter and other people who were impacted by the work. You don't think about that when you're starting something, but when you get to look back and somebody is able to give you that perspective of what you have done, that's what I want to do. 

Joe Taylor: [00:05:39] With a few successful projects already under her belt, Tracey's working on another big idea, 

Tracey Welson-Rossman: [00:05:44] Bringing together the idea of women in music and women in tech, how do those two relate? How can I bring those two audiences together? And that started probably about two years ago, as I was seeing some people who were doing... I have this idea called The Women in Tech and Music tour or festival, which we were going to bring to light during the week Women in Tech Summit. And then of course, this year that went down the tubes because there's no live events. So that may just be the thing that winds up being like, the sensation of something that's itching on my brain. It's almost like, until I can bring it to some sort of end, and it could be failure but, I just want to see it happen in some form or fashion.

Joe Taylor: [00:06:44] That's Tracey Welson- Rossman. And you can follow the link in today's show notes to hear our full conversation, all about Tracy's ideas for connecting musicians to technologists and how Tori Amos has inspired Tracey. That's on our website at I'm Joe Taylor, Jr.

Announcer: [00:07:04] This has been a Podcast Taxi radio production. Support for Search and Replace is provided by Johns and Taylor, user experience specialists serving media and technology companies that want their websites to work. Learn more about how top performing businesses eliminate barriers between customers and their goals at

Joe Taylor Jr. has produced stories about media, technology, entertainment, and personal finance for over 25 years. His work has been featured on NPR, CNBC, Financial Times Television, and ABC News. After launching one of public radio's first successful digital platforms, Joe helped dozens of client companies launch or migrate their online content libraries. Today, Joe serves as a user experience consultant for a variety of Fortune 500 and Inc. 5000 businesses. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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