I am so excited to be co-chairing the Communities Committee for the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing again this year, seeing Houston, attending as a team member from a sponsoring company, and interspersing technical conversations with discussions of work/life issues without feeling exposed.
What's the Communities Committee? We're a group of volunteers that ties all of the social media aspects of the conference together. We seek out volunteers to take notes of sessions, write blogs about their experiences, share on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, and even create their own video blogs. We coordinate the hash tags, process incoming volunteer applications, help the volunteers get onto our aggregate sites and retweet and share things like crazy during the conference. This year, our committee has expanded - you'll be hearing from other committee members soon - as we're going to be adding several more exciting interactive elements to the conference itself.
Through the committee, I learn about many new technologies (like the tools we use to collaborate: Google Drive, Trello, Blogger and Slack - plus about the interesting work my colleagues are doing). My co-chair, Charna Parkey, works at a fascinating start up that lets you check your job listings for unintentional bias! They will get you the best applications, then it's up to you to make the sale.
As for Houston - I've only ever spent one night there before a cruise. It'll be hot and humid, I'm sure (though it will be October), and I'll be staying near a giant shopping mall - but I'm sure there'll be more to see! Space stuff - at the very least! Any other suggestions?!
And Oracle is sponsoring the conference again this year! Please do stop by our recruitment booth - we're looking for smart new college grads and experienced folks. Bring your resume!
Finally - last but certainly not least - there is something so refreshing, so recharging about talking about cool technology with other women. Women in tech are a special kind of breed - we've all worked hard to get where we are (even if that's just our senior year in college): overcoming unintentional (and sadly sometimes intentional) bias, constantly having to explain why we are where we are ("why are you studying computer science?" - yep, got that a lot in college), and always working to get over Imposter Syndrome.
Technical women are different - we can be honest with each other when we are frustrated, or do not understand what the other is talking about. We are passionate and still patient. We understand that not everyone is up on the lingo of our profession, and will take a moment to explain things to a "newbie". We empathize with each other on our tough life situations and understand nobody is perfect.
I know I will learn a ton - about security, career and life balance, and how to be a better manager and still keep my engineer brain going.
I will continue my journey to grow as a leader in my community and at work.
It is, after all, "Our Time to Lead".
Will I see you there?
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