Saturday October 10 was the inaugural Girls in Tech Managing Directors Retreat. The retreat was held at the University Center on the campus of UCSC. Seana Norvell planned and executed the retreat with the grace and efficiency of a seasoned event coordinator. From the casual mixer at Cafe Mare the evening before to the little bags of saltwater taffys and mini steno pads for note taking at our seats, Seana manged to make each participant feel welcome and included.
The speakers and workshops were excellent and the highlight of the day was resoundingly the public speaking course taught by Kristin Schaefer and Bronwyn Saglimbeni. Another fave was the VP of New Business Development at Google and General Manager of Google.Org Megan Smith, Megan gave an inspiring talk surrounding the web, interconnectedness and online activism. I was pleased to have the opportunity to catch Megan afterward for some one on one time in which we shared our passion for helping people and discovered a common influence – our activist mothers. Not least was the fireside chat with the newly annointed VP of Innovation for Plantronics Joyce Shimizu and Priya Ganapati of WIRED. I have a soft spot for Plantronics as they are both a local Santa Cruz company and a former client of mine. I really enjoyed listening to Joyce discourse on motherhood, product launches and successfully navaigating a 26 year long career in a tech related field. Her secret? A short priority list consisting of work, health and family. I could indeed learn a lot from her.
I really enjoyed meeting all of the managing directors from other chapters as well as the founder Adriana Gascoigne. One take away that I had is that GIT needs more women who are building the tech to get involved.
So here’s a challenge to my super geeky girlfriends: Show the world that girls build cool things and are innovators to society’s needs by becoming active in a group that promotes women in non traditional fields such as GIT.
What do you have to lose? Perhaps only the impression that girls simply like to play with tech, rather than create it.