A coder, a crafter and a serial entrepreneur, Ventura Rangel, 28, of Overland Park, has developed two apps — they’re not out yet — started five businesses and, three years ago, helped bring programming hackathons to Kansas City.
Now she holds two titles — events chairwoman and secretary — with Kansas City Women in Technology, a collective that aims to grow the number of women in technology careers in Kansas City. Rangel coordinates their monthly TechTalks networking events.
But her search for creative outlets continues.
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She met her husband at Pittsburg State. “I changed majors at least eight times the first three semesters. Nothing sounded like anything I wanted to do forever,” she said.
Rangel’s love of technology is relatively new. A mother of two, Rangel started coding after seeing her husband’s fervor for it a few years ago. “He said, ‘There’s a women’s group. Go and see what they’re about.’ ” She began coordinating networking events for Kansas City Women in Technology after running several programming hackathons.
“I don’t have a degree right now, but I feel like I’m doing what I want to do.”
And that’s business ventures, coding, event coordinating and crafting.
The eternal entrepreneur
Rangel’s business acumen started her sophomore year in high school. She wanted to go on two class trips — one to Washington, D.C., for then-President George W. Bush’s second-term inauguration, and the other a band trip to Chicago.
“It was nothing crazy, but the price tag for that was something my parents couldn’t handle on their own.”
So she started making purses out of Capri Sun packages.
“I thought, ‘Juice pouch purses. We drink a lot of those at home. I’ll turn them into something instead of throwing them out.’
“I made a total of $10,000 over the summer,” Rangel said. Her most expensive purse sold for $50.
In addition to her juice pouch purses venture, Rangel’s created four other businesses: babysitting for a large network of family friends, creating a summer program for kids, selling made-to-order crafts and now developing her apps.
Crafts and codes
Rangel has developed two apps — one that teaches people how to count in the language most common to their geographic location, and one that helps you find the closest farmers market to your ZIP code.
And she is just as passionate about crafting as she is about coding.
She taught herself to crochet and sew seven years ago while pregnant with her daughter.
“It was a complicated pregnancy, and I was on bed rest most of the time,” she said. “So I found something to do. I wanted it to be productive, something for the new baby on the way.”
Some might find it strange that a 20-something crochets and codes, but she says it’s not such an unlikely pairing.
“A lot of people I know in tech tend to have very analog hobbies — things they have to use their hands to do.”
“It looks like they’re very different but when you get down to it, for me, the tech industry and crafting are one in the same: ways for me to express myself creatively and get my ideas out there for others to share.”
Kansas City Women in Technology’s TechTalks are every third Wednesday of the month and cover a range of technology-related topics, include professional speakers and are open to everybody — men and women.
For more information, visit KCWomenInTech.org.
February Coding & Cupcakes, Feb. 11, 1 to 4 p.m., 1712 Main St., No.100. $25
Coding & Cocktails February: Introduction to CSS, Feb. 11, 5 to 9 p.m., 250 N.W. Richards Road. $25
February TechTalk, Feb. 15, 6 to 8 p.m., 1814 Westport Road. Free