2015 NGLCC Conference

By Jodie Riccelli

August 10, 2015

About a year ago, YIKES attended an IBA event, where through networking, we learned more about becoming a NGLCC certified LGBTBE business. Since we had just completed our renewal of our WBENC certification, the process seemed similar yet more straight forward. A few weeks later we received our certificate officially declaring us a certified Gay and Lesbian owned business enterprise. It was a good day at YIKES.

NGLCC-Cert-YIKESNext week Mia, Tracy, and I are heading to the annual NGLCC National Business and Leadership Conference. This year it is being held in Fort Lauderdale. I’m not thrilled about the heat in Florida but I couldn’t be more excited about meeting with so many other like minded business who support diversity. This year’s annual conference boasts numerous sessions to engage and empower businesses.

The highlight however may be the key note speaker. When they revealed that Suze Orman was going to grace us with her presence at the conference, Tracy literally screamed from the back of our office. To be honest, I was super happy, too. There are two people that can tell me to do just about anything, Suze Orman and Coach Taylor. They just have that way about them. I expect to come back feeling inspired with great financial investments on deck.

Tracy is going to be on one of the panels at this years conference. The panel will take place on Wednesday, August 12 at 3:30pm and is called “Optimize Your Opportunities: Doing Business with Fellow LGBTBEs“.

Some of the other sessions we plan on attending:

  • Breakfast
  • B2B Boot Camp for Certified and Registered LGBT-Owned Businesses
  • Big Time Marketing on a Lean Budget
  • Global Focus: Equality Across Borders and Economic Development
  • and of course the Walk and Talks!

We want to thank the Independence Business Alliance, Greg DeShields from PHL Diversity, and all the folks at the NGLCC for championing diversity. We can’t wait to network in Florida!

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Making Your Office or Home Greener

By Melanie Chongolola-Nestor

August 5, 2015

Hello, Melanie here. I’m the account and office manager for Yikes, Inc. and one of my responsibilities is making sure that in our day-to-day operations our behaviors reflect the office’s shared beliefs of environmental altruism and sustainability.  (This is the first in a 3 part series on making your office greener.)

The YIKES office is located in a Platinum LEED certified building and is powered by 100% Renewable electricity through The Energy Cooperative. YIKES recycles, composts office waste and prints on recycled paper with soy ink. The YIKES office uses green cleaning and paper products. YIKES is also a 100% replanted office.

Your office or home may not be LEED certified, but you can still be just as green in both places. There are many levels of behavioral change that anybody can make to decrease their carbon footprint and create less waste. AND all of these behaviors can help you save money; so Mother Earth and your bottom line both get a boost.

Easiest changes

  1. Side by side trash and recycling. – recycling is a ‘matter of convenience’ for a lot of people. If there is a recyclable bottle in their hand but the only receptacle available is a trash can; guess where the bottle is going to end up? Put a recycling bin next to every trash can you have, and you will see an almost instant increase in recyclable waste and a decrease in the amount of waste headed to the landfill. In Philadelphia you can co-mingle all of your recyclables, meaning everything can go in one bin. Find out what the rules are for your city and start recycling.
  2. LED Lightbulbs – When your next lightbulb burns out, instead of using another halogen or standard bulb begin replacing them with LED bulbs. LED Lights are energy efficient, cost effective, durable, energy efficient, have a long lifespan.
    A standard 50W halogen lamp turns 90% of electricity used into heat with only 10% into light. The benefit of LED Lights are that they use only 15% of the energy a standard halogen uses, provide up to 85% of the light output and create less heat making them so cool to touch.
  3. Control the thermostat – if it’s July and the people around you are wearing sweaters, the air-conditioning temperature is set too low. If it’s December and you have people sweating in tee-shirts, then your heat is too high. Keeping your AC set to 78 degrees in the summer will keep your space cool without exerting too much demand on your system. Keeping the temp at 70 degrees in the winter will keep your place comfortable in the chilly months.The easiest option is to a programmable thermostat and set it for an ambient temperature that’s appropriate for the season.  One can program the thermostat to cycle the system off when there is nobody occupying the building.
  4. Natural light – unless you work in a location where the public has constant access to the inside of your building, open the blinds and turn off a few of the overhead lights during the day. This will lower your electric bill and help with your natural circadian rhythm.

Moderate changes

  1. Using Recycled products – Recycling all those things as your first step was easy, right? Now give the products with new life a second spin in your home or office. Nature thanks you
  2. Water filtration system – a water filtration cooler is a fixed-cost alternative to bottled water. You can have a cooler installed directly into an existing cold water supply. This will ensure that your household of business has a continuous supply of clean, refreshing water at a single set price. Almost all of the popular water cooler companies offer this option.
  3. Going paperless – this is pretty self-explanatory. Unless it is federal law that you have to keep physical copies of your paperwork turn to electronic copies for all of your needs. PDF and email invoices, pay your bills and people through your bank account and keep all of your correspondence in your email. Though people find reassurance in the old school way of tactile paper management, streaming lining to all electronic paperwork makes it easier to find documents and payment receipts with keyword searches.
  4. Cleaning chemicals and bathroom supplies – There are so many reasons why you should cut back on our chemical exposure in life, and the best place to start is you cleaning supply bucket. Here are my top reasons why you should make the switch to a natural product next time your bleach spray or bottle of ‘The Works’ runs out.
    • Healthier Home – Studies have shown that using a household cleaning spray, even as little as once a week, raises the risk of developing asthma. Snow says that using green cleaning products can reduce the chances of developing asthma, which “today is the most common chronic illness and the leading cause of school absences due to chronic illness across the country.”
    • Purer Environment – Changing to greener methods, “helps reduce pollution to our waterways and the air and it minimizes your impact on ozone depletion and global climate change with fewer smog-producing chemicals,” advises Snow. Many green products also use recyclable packaging which minimizes waste.
    • Safer Products – Conventional cleaning products pose risks such as chemical burns to the cleaner’s skin and eyes. Green cleaners aren’t corrosive and meet strict standards regarding inhalation toxicity, combustibility and skin absorption.
    • Less Expensive (I’m noticing a theme here…) – For home cleaning, vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, etc. can do the trick for pennies on the dollar, compared to buying conventional cleaning products,” Snow says. Why go out and buy products when you can use things you already have in your pantry?
    • Less Antibacterial exposure – We’re now told by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that washing with antibacterial soaps isn’t any better than regular soaps, and the American Medical Association says that the frequent use of antibacterial ingredients can promote bacterial resistance to antibiotics,” Snow says. Most green or environmentally friendly cleaning products don’t contain antibacterial agents.”

Big changes

  1. Electronic waste recycling – Old hard drives, printers and LCD screens collecting dust in your storage space. Don’t throw them out with the trash. They will not degrade over time, and will sit forever in a landfill. Instead recycle them through an electronic recycling program. Yikes, Inc. uses greendisk.com. In this service we receive a box to fill up at our own pace with anything technology related that has run its course. If you feel like you don’t have enough electronic waste. search your local listings for a community shredding event.
  2. Potted Plants – this is only as difficult as you perceive your green thumb to be. Plants offer pretty decoration and improve the air quality in your home or office. Here’s a list of 24 of the easiest plants to grow and another of the 7 best houseplants for beginners. Find one and introduce some more life into world.
  3. Composting – you don’t have to have a farm to compost. If you live in an Urban Area check out your local community gardens and see if they collect compost. You can also subscribe to a service, where it is picked up from your home. By returning your natural foodstuff byproducts to the earth, you can help create a Humus that will improve the pH and moisture level in the soil. This will create more bountiful harvest, and who doesn’t like more food.
  4. Rain Barrels – you can collect the rain runoff from your gutters and reuse it at a later date to water your garden, flower boxes or grass. It’s a perfect solution to keeping your water bill low and lilies blossomed in the thick of summer. The City of Philadelphia has a (FREE!) rain barrel program for homeowners. If you’re not a Philadelphia resident check with your municipal programs for either a rain barrel program, or reimbursements for installing one. Rain barrels help keep the sewer system from getting overwhelmed during flash storms, so it’s in every city’s interest to support this effort.

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My Top 5 Tech Meetups in Philadelphia

By Jodie Riccelli

July 27, 2015

My top 5 tech Meetups in Philadelphia for networking and learning (in no particular order):

1. #techinColor

Two years ago a group of like minded individuals got together to discuss promoting diversity in the tech community. What evolved from that meeting was an Official Philly Tech Week networking event attended by more that 100 people. During that first year, a brain mapping exercise was done to see what attendees would like to get out of #techinColor overall. The results led us to this past years Philly Tech Week speed networking event. Speed networking turned out to be incredibly beneficial to the attendees and the mentors.

2. Girl Develop It
If you are a female (or male) looking to learn about tech in any capacity, you have to check out Girl Develop It. Girl Develop It can be found in many cities throughout the country. Their website states is perfectly, “Girl Develop It is a nonprofit organization that exists to provide affordable and judgment-free opportunities for women interested in learning web and software development. Through in-person classes and community support, Girl Develop It helps women of diverse backgrounds achieve their technology goals and build confidence in their careers and their every day lives.”

3. WordPress Philly
The Philadelphia WordPress Meetup Group is a group of WordPress enthusiasts in and around the Philadelphia area. I have had the pleasure of working with the organizers of this Meetup for WordCamp Philly. I can tell you that this is a devoted group of individuals who aim to provide education content in an exciting and mindful way.

4. Philly Burbs WordPress Meetup
I haven’t had the chance to venture out to burbs for a Meetup yet but other folks at YIKES have. The organizers of this group are some of the kindest and smartest folks I have encountered. Sessions cover everything from “Creating a Beer Fest Site with WordPress” to Web Accessibility.

5. Tech in Motion
The Tech in Motion group was a sponsor for a recent #techinColor event. They provide great Meetups to foster relationships within the tech community. Session include topics like “Reality, Musicality and Beyond: Drinks & Demos.”

I know there are so many more out there. I am anxious to spend the next half of this year discovering new Meetups in the Philadelphia area and meeting more people in our amazing tech community. I would love to hear about some of your favorite meetups or networking events. Feel free to leave a message in the comments below!

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Our WordPress Monitoring Service Just Got Better

By Mia Levesque

July 9, 2015

Previously, our WordPress Monitoring Service included WordPress Core updates within 24-48 hours of release and once per month plugin updates. As of July 1, 2015 both WordPress Core and Plugin updates will be made within 24 hours of release. Also, if an update causes an issue for a monitored site, we will fix it.

Our YIKES WordPress Monitoring plugin, only available to our Monitoring clients, notifies us on Slack (our real-time communication tool) the minute a plugin needs updating on a site.

As WordPress experts, we keep tabs on and immediately address security issues.

Here are some examples of security issues we took care of while our monitoring clients relaxed.

  • Object Injection Vulnerability in WooCommerce
  • Critical Persistent XSS 0day in WordPress
  • File upload Vulnerability in Gravity Forms
  • Persistent XSS in WP-Super-Cache
  • Blind SQL Injection Vulnerability in Yoast SEO

If a plugin or WordPress itself has a critical security patch, we will know and will apply it immediately.


$50/month per site or $500/year ($100 discount) per site.

If you’re not already on our monitoring plan, contact us to see if your site qualifies

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WordCamp Philly 2015

By Mia Levesque

June 13, 2015

volunteering WordCamp Philly 2015After a busy month of organizing this year’s WordCamp Philly (and building the website), the whole YIKES team is enjoying the sold-out conference this weekend. We are volunteering, teaching and learning.

If you are attending, share your experience on Twitter using #wcphilly
@WordCampPhily and @yikesinc.

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#techInColor wrap up

By Mia Levesque

April 29, 2015

Our Event Partner – Girl Develop It

This year during Philly Tech Week, YIKES was proud to sponsor and help organize #techInColor for the second year in a row. This year’s event was held at First Round Capital on Thursday, April 23, 2015. Over 100 people attended, and the outcome was more than expected. Each mentor had 6 – 10 minute sessions with attendees throughout the course of the evening. Our mentor list included folks in web development, science, startups, and more. Additionally, we had small group sessions with group leaders who shared their expertise in various fields. Thank you to all the group leaders and mentors. Stay tuned for more #techInColor events happening this year, and be sure to join our MeetUp!


  • Josh Angotti – Ask me anything about: Product management.
  • Jeffrey Becker – Ask me anything about: .NET development, agile software development, and how to level up as a jr. developer.
  • Ann Burton – Ask me anything about: Interviewing, resumes, and career development.
  • Ingrid Geronimo – Ask me anything about: Requirements gathering, testing & quality assurance, and how to build your technical confidence.
  • Shanice Graham – Ask me anything about: Digital Marketing Strategy, Online Marketing, and Analytics.
  • Ian Leibovici – Ask me anything about: Digital marketing strategy, UX/UI Design, Information architecture and Design Processes.
  • Tracy Levesque – Ask me anything about: WordPress, web design and development, B Corps, Green Building and running a triple bottom line business.
  • Amelia Longo – Ask me anything about: Being a non-technical person in tech, authentic networking, targeted outreach for diverse audiences, or gender and the workplace.
  • Brian Lyttle – Ask me anything about: Python and .NET, working remotely, consulting, or working with large companies.
  • Erin (Cricket) Reichenberger – Ask Me Anything About: Microbiome, metagenomics, bioinformatics​, and programming.
  • Michael Riley – Ask me anything about: Growing a successful business/startup.
  • Zoe Rooney – Ask me anything about: Building websites, WordPress, Shopify, or running a small web development business.
  • Tiffanie Stanard – Ask me anything about: Owning multiple companies, technology skills for various industries, product marketing campaigns, branding yourself and your company, developing corporate partnerships, becoming an expert in your field.
  • Colby Tecklin – Ask me anything about: Videophones, video communication, general networking, communication tools, and customer service.
  • Corinne Warnshuis – Ask me anything about: Getting involved in the community and/or Leveling up your skills
  • Carlos Zuniga – Ask me anything about: WordPress Development, PHP Development, Internet Security.

Group Discussion Leaders

  • Sarah Gray – My Expertise: Hunting for software development jobs, community resources, open source software development with Python and and web development with Rails.
  • TJ Nicolaides – My Expertise: Front end development / Javascript / teaching programming / CakePHP
  • Michelle Rogers – My Expertise: Healthcare informatics – the intersection of health, people and information.
  • Kevin Taylor – My Expertise: Project management, group collaboration, and workplace learning and performance improvement.
  • Ani Vemprala – My Expertise: Launching a startup in Philly, building a tech/engineering team, interviewing at startups, your data & analytics challenges.
  • Elise Wei – My Expertise: Changing careers into software dev, SaaS, hiring, managing a team, being a new parent, getting involved in the community.

Platinum Sponsors


Gold Sponsors


Silver Sponsors


Zero-Waste Event made possible by:


Event catered by:


Drinks provided by:


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YIKES Makes Annual Best in the World for Workers List

By Mia Levesque

April 21, 2015

YIKES has been recognized as a great place to work with a spot on the third annual Best in the World for Workers list. See our score and learn more about the other honorees; we are in great company.

A business is more than a building, a service, or a product. A business is made up of people, and treating those people right is a crucial part of doing business the right way. That’s why we are proud to lead our fellow B Corps in working to create a better life for our employees as a 2015 Best for Workers honoree.

How are we Best for the Environment? We earned a worker impact score in the top 10% of all Certified B Corporations on the B Impact Assessment, a comprehensive assessment of a company’s impact on workers, the community and the environment. Every day, along with our fellow honorees, we are taking the lead in providing comprehensive benefits and wellness programs, paying living wages, and creating opportunities for employee ownership.

We take pride in smart, effective, creative web solutions, but that pride would be misplaced if we weren’t first and foremost focusing on the people who make it possible: our team. That’s one of the reasons we became a B Corp in the first place.

As a B Corp, we’re leading a global movement to redefine success in business so one day all companies compete to be not only the best in the world, but best for the world. We join over 1,200 other companies committed to using business as a force for good.

Check them all out at bcorporation.net.


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ColdFusion Summit 2014

By Pearson Barlow

November 12, 2014

Going to Las Vegas for the ColdFusion Summit always gets me giddy.  Why?  It’s the circus-like environment that surrounds the very essence of application programming.  Whether you are a seasoned ColdFusion developer or just diving into the language for the first time, this summit has something for everyone, and this year Adobe certainly didn’t hold back.  Spring boarding into the sessions on Day 1, Adobe brought in Mark Sanborn straight out of his idea studio to give us a Keynote speech to remember.  How to reach true potential?  Check. Strategy for team building? Check.  Defining what true craftsmanship is, check and check.  You didn’t have to be a programmer to walk away with an “ah-ha” moment listening to Mark, which set the tempo for the days to come.

I tend to lean towards the security discussions.  You simply cannot have enough knowledge in terms of what is attacking your site, and how and why.  Constructing ways to defend such attacks is priority in these sessions.

  • Security 101: Safeguard and steer off cyber attacks at the application scope before anything else.  CF11 has some pretty neat features built in to assist. Thanks Adobe.
  • ColdFusion variables need to live outside of CSS and HTML tags, otherwise get your encode on!
  • What are the top 5 things are that hinder scalability. Learn it. Know it. Live it.
  • WebSockets are snazzy; yeah, I said it.
  • Legacy code exists and it haunts the dreams of most programmers.  Bring it into this century and at the same time how not to invest huge man hours and money in doing so.

All in all, the ColdFusion Summit gave tremendous knowledge and motivation to take back home, perfect ingredients for better coding.

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YIKES’s Adventure at WordCamp San Francisco

By Tracy Levesque

November 11, 2014

This past October YIKES was fortunate to have team members attend, sponsor and speak at WordCamp San Francisco, the biggest WordPress conference in the World.

Tracy, Carlos and Evan report back on their experience:


Tracy Speaking

Last year when I attended WCSF13 I was by myself and I barely knew anyone. After more than a year of seriously contributing to WordPress, going to WCSF14 was like going to a week-long camp with all my friends. I loved having Carlos and Evan with me representing YIKES and Philly.

I was honored to be selected to speak at WCSF for the second year in a row. This time it was a 5-minute lightening talk. This proved to be much more challenging than I imagined, but I had a great time doing it.

I was also fortunate to be able to attend the Community Summit following WordCamp. I co-lead the Training Project, and we were able to get a lot of work done. It was great to see old friends and meet new folks as well. I’m already looking forward to next year.



It was quite eye opening how cooperative and welcoming the WordPress community is. I found people using WordPress in creative and unique ways. Some of these applications of WordPress, I look forward to duplicating in our own projects.

The widespread use of WordPress in different countries and using different languages is an important issue. The Polyglot team, comprised of volunteers (as well as other volunteer translators in other open-source communities), is an integral part of democratizing publishing using tools like WordPress. I look forward to investing time in the Polyglot team as a translator as a way to contribute to the community.


Evan and Matt

I gained valuable insight into the WordPress community and the direction the entire platform is headed moving forward. I was quite surprised to hear that this was the first year non-English installations surpassed English installations.

WordCamp San Francisco re-ignited my excitement for the REST API coming to 4.1, and I’m really looking forward to utilizing that in some of our future client projects and plugins.

Sticking to plugin development, I was extremely excited to hear all about the future plans for language packs in WordPress core (including plugins!). And, of course, networking with people from all around the world who use WordPress in so many different ways was a huge bonus.

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WordCamp San Francisco

By Tracy Levesque

October 21, 2014

WordCamp San Francisco is the unofficial official and biggest WordPress conference in the World.

This year three members of the YIKES team will be at WCSF — Tracy, Carlos and Evan. Tracy will be giving a 5-minute lightening talk on Teaching People to WordPress.

YIKES is also proud to be a sponsor this year! If you’re there, find us and say “hi!” We’ll be giving away some swag and we’ll have a few t-shirts to hand out as well. 🙂

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YIKES Philabundance Food Drive 2014

By Jodie Riccelli

October 21, 2014

Join us for our 2014 Philabundance Food Drive and help fight against hunger.

Join YIKES, Inc. again in collecting donations for the Philabundance food drive. Help us beat our record of almost 300 pounds!

High priority items for this year:

  • Jelly, Jam or Preserves
  • Proteins, Miscellaneous Shelf Stable (peanut butter, beans)
  • Breakfast Foods (cereal, bars, oatmeal)
  • Pasta, Rice & Dry Mixes

*Donations will be accepted from now until December 19th, 2014 at our office. We are located at 204 East Girard Avenue in Philadelphia. The office is open Monday-Friday 9am to 5pm.

You can also visit our Virtual Food Drive and donate online!

PHLB Busy Season Community Food Drive toolkit.FY14 --1

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Park(ing) Day Philadelphia 2014

By Mia Levesque

September 19, 2014

We’re celebrating Park(ing) Day Philadelphia 2014!

Parking Day Philadelphia 2014
We’re building a park (and it’s not virtual).

Stop by YIKES today and hang out in our popup park, have a hot pretzel from Center City Pretzels, have a glass of lemon water, and relax on lovely East Girard Ave.

Park(ing) Day Map

See more at Star News.

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Girl Develop IT – 3-Year Anniversary Party

By Mia Levesque

September 3, 2014

YIKES is proud to be a sponsor for Girl Develop It Philly 3 year anniversary party on September 19th!


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Philadelphia Geek Awards 2014

By Tracy Levesque

August 19, 2014

On Saturday, August 16, 2014, the Annual Philadelphia Geek Awards succeeded as one of the best geek/tech events of the year, and it’s only August! A big congratulations to Geekadelphia and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University for hosting an absolutely incredible evening. The afterparty at North Bowl, with late night snacks and opportunities to socialize with presenters and winners,  capped off  a great night. As a proud sponsor this year, YIKES, Inc. Co-Owners, Mia Levesque and Tracy Levesque attended, both for the first time. What did they think?


The Philly Geek Awards offers the best of Philadelphia. Geekadelphia managed to not only bring together a diverse cross section of people from different social, cultural, and technology backgrounds, but also created an event that celebrated all things geeky. This provided attendees a unique opportunity to jump outside their bubble for an evening and plunge into a broader world of Philadelphia Geekdom.

The diversity of attendees, nominees, and winners was impressive and made me proud to be a part of the Philadelphia tech community. The wide range of award categories provided a glimpse at the incredible projects Philadelphians are working on.

Not only an inspirational event but pure fun, I am already looking forward to 2015.


I absolutely loved The Philly Geek Awards. I found myself grinning the entire time.

It was cool to see what folks are doing in areas of geekdom outside of web development. It made me so proud of Philadelphia. I wouldn’t want to own a tech company anywhere else.

I was also thrilled to meet Kid Hazo. I’m a big fan, and we have one of his pieces up in the office. It was great to meet him in person.

YIKES would like to congratulate all the winners, nominees, and organizers. View all the winners at NewsWorks.

Mia and Tracy with Joel Hodgson from MST3K
Mia and Tracy with Joel Hodgson from MST3K

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Saying Goodbye to Linda, Our Summer Unicorn

By Jodie Riccelli

August 7, 2014

It’s a sad time for YIKES. Our summer intern, Linda Gorman, is leaving to go back to college. Linda will be a senior at Syracuse University this fall. Prior to interning at YIKES, Linda studied abroad in Japan for a semester, tackled numerous independent projects, and interned at other reputable businesses.

While at YIKES, she was instrumental in supporting work on a wide range of projects, learning ColdFusion along the way. Her knowledge in a variety of technologies and her keen editing abilities were a great addition to the team. Linda is truly a tech unicorn with the ability to program in different languages, work proficiently with Bootstrap, test UX/UI, develop dashboards, and more.

While at YIKES, she discovered Indian Food, cappuccino potato chips, and Pho. We couldn’t be prouder. We wish her the best of luck in the upcoming school year. It was an honor to have her part of the team this summer.

Luckily we can continue to follow her successes on Twitter and her website!

As one door closes another opens they say. Therefore we are looking for interns! You can get more information on our jobs page.

Tech Unicorn by Phine. Can you spot all 8 technologies plus a bonus YIKES logo icon?
Tech Unicorn by Phine. Can you spot all 8 technologies plus a bonus YIKES logo icon?

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