Highlights of Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing 2015

I’m writing this on the last day of the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. I truly wanted to attend my co-worker Lilit Yenokyan’s talk today, A Fine Line: Balancing Motherhood and Career, but instead I’m actually making good on that advice and heading home a day early because I haven’t been home all week.

I cannot express how inspiring it is to have spent the week with 12,000 women in technology. In a field that is still horribly underrepresented by women, it’s absolutely critical to bring together this critical mass to visualize those who are in the field. Maybe a picture will help …

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Also at the conference, Netflix sponsored a Professional Development Leadership Workshop focusing on Showcasing your Work, specifically giving your first lightning talk. I had the privilege of introducing the topic, which is near and dear to my heart. I have both attended and presented lightning talks and I think that they are a great way to get people interested in something you’re passionate about. Getting more women to showcase their ideas and to get on stage is one of the motivations for the conference, and I’m glad that Netflix was able to participate in this way.

There were many great talks and keynotes, but the highlight of my week was Sheryl Sandberg’s keynote. I can only describe it as amazing, inspiring, and thoughtful conversation. The interview that followed with the incredibly talented and funny Nora Denzel was insightful and fun.

In both, Sheryl offered 3 pieces of advice to the audience:

I’ve done the “Three Things” on and off, and I think it’s definitely worth trying.  I suspect one of my coworkers from Netflix has already created a circle (can’t wait to get back to see!), and, of course, I agree with her advice to stay in tech. I’ll mirror what Sheryl said: Our jobs are impactful, well-paid, and flexible.

And men, here’s a call to action for you. If you’re in tech, I hope that you will encourage your wives, sisters, daughters, nieces and friends to go into computer science or stay in the industry. There are more of you, so the numbers game says that your involvement will increase our numbers faster. I hope you’ll help.

 

 

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