The annual Grace Hopper Celebration took place last week. 15,000 women in tech rocking the convention center in Houston (absolutely not a problem, Houston, just the future of tech in your face for three days). The event included inspiring keynotes (Hello U.S. CTO Megan Smith!), technical sessions and career guidance. A well-rounded conference diet of information, networking and let’s face it, having some fun.
There is an interesting “tension” when it comes to gathering women together. Do we focus on the business and just the business ma’am or do we dive into the “chick shit” (as I affectionately refer to it). Frankly, there’s a time and place for everything, and the decision on what you need, want or desire from a networking opportunity (like a conference) entirely depends on where you’re at in your career / life / ambition. It’s personal. Figure out what your career goal needs to push it forward, then find the people — be it a massive event like #GHC16 or mastermind group or accelerator program — to help you reach it.
Back to Houston for a moment. I was working remotely with my friends from Capital One during #GHC16 and these quotes from Capital One employees attending #GHC16, really stuck out. With any celebratory conference targeting women, we can’t underestimate the power of peers to silence internal doubts on our ability to reach higher.
I came back this year to GHC both to inspire other women and be inspired — no other conference I go to can “fill my heart and soul” as this one!! — Lakshmi Seetharaman Director, Software Engineering
I get empowered and re-energized by seeing that I’m not the only gen Y, black women in tech striving to change things and grow my career.— Tia J. White, Sr. Tech Leader
The Grace Hopper Celebration reminds me that I am not alone as a women in tech and that diversity progress is not only possible, but inevitable. — Kaylyn Gibilterra. Software Engineer
A lasting reminder that as women technologists, we are not alone in confronting the hardships we face nor are we alone in celebrating the triumphs of our accomplishments. — Jiaqi Liu, Data Scientist