Prepping For Grace Hopper Celebration 2016? Add These Items To Your Conference Checklist #GHC16

Where are the women in technology? This week approximately 15,000 of them will be in Houston, Texas for the annual Grace Hopper Celebration (and even more of us will be joining them online, using the hashtag #GHC16 and watching the keynotes via LiveStream). For those who don’t know, GHC is a three-day conference bringing together women in computing to discuss research and career interests, offering attendees a wide choice of presentations, professional development activities, an open source day and a whole-lot peer (and industry) networking. GHC clearly addresses a need: the conference has been sold out since August.

Prepping For Grace Hopper Celebration 2016? Add These Items To Your Conference Checklist #GHC16

If like me, you’re planning to participate in #GHC16 from your computer or mobile device:
· Reserve 9:00 am to 11:30 am on Wednesday, October 19 to watch the opening keynotes “Women and the Future of Tech” via LiveStream and featuring Anna Patterson, Latanya Sweeney, Ginni Rometty and Alyssia Jovellanos.

· Allocate 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm on Friday, October 21 to hear closing keynotes Marc Benioff and Megan Smith.

· Use the hashtag #GHC16 to engage in the conference conversation.

· Participate in the numerous presentations by following attendees and presenters. To get you started, here’s who is topping my list to follow:

1. software engineer @cindymwang_

2. product manager @EmmaSagan

3. engineer and women in tech advocate @MK_Mayer

4. content strategist @steph_hay

5. product manager / digital design manager @akoklysplummer

6. software engineer @mld719

7. engineer @poornima (who is also the founder of @Femgineer)

8. Millennial career expert, writer and speaker @MaxieMcCoy

9. U.S. Chief Technology Officer @USCTO

10. Salesforce’s CEO @Benioff

11. the conference account @ghc ; and

12. the leading organization for women transforming technology @anitaborg_org .

Prepping For Grace Hopper Celebration 2016? Add These Items To Your Conference Checklist #GHC16

If you’re one of the lucky 15,000 attending #GHC16, here’s a few suggestions:
· Pack your business cards! Yes, it’s a tech conference however, the exchange of business cards is not dead yet! A card may be the fastest way to connect with and remain connected with a busy presenter, speaker or fellow #GHC16 attendee.

· At the end of each day, take a few minutes to connect with each of the people you’ve met via LinkedIn. Send a personalized note such as “Nice to sit with you for Ginni Rometty’s keynote and thanks for the suggestion to check out the session “Present! A Techie’s Guide to Public Speaking”. You, like the recipient of your note, will be meeting a lot of people over the 3-days of #GHC16. A customized request to connect makes it easier to remember who you met (and how they met you).

· Pack an extension cord. It is not only helpful when there are few conveniently located electrical outlets in conference venues (as well as hotel rooms), it can be a way of meeting people who are in need of a power boost too!

· Search #GHC16 to locate and connect with other attendees before the conference. I did this before a hackathon and have made lifelong friends (and collaborators) in tech as a result. Use #GHC16 to locate find meetups and events focused on your industry expertise or interests / background. Yes, there are many minds just like yours gathering in Houston.

· If you have the time and desire to do more than simply attend the conference, volunteer for the #GHC16 open source day or other advertised mentoring opportunities. Volunteering at a conference is a great way to meet a lot of people (and if you’re the type to avoid networking, keeping your hands busy with an activity eases those networking jitters).

Prepping For Grace Hopper Celebration 2016? Add These Items To Your Conference Checklist #GHC16

Thanks to Capital One @CapitalOne for their continuing commitment to diversity and inclusion in technology, and for sponsoring #GHC16 (and this post).