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Attending Grace Hopper for the first time this year?

So am I, and I could not be more excited for this experience!

Let me start this blog post off with my strongest motivator for attending GHC14: I want to change the world. Cliché? Perhaps, but GHC is a prime opportunity on the journey to achieving this goal in the tech industry for everyone attending. I’m a 24 year old software engineer with a passion in the mobile industry. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and I’m currently working at Microsoft in Redmond on the Windows Phone. I’ve been at the company for about a year now, and have previously worked at Electronic Arts, Research in Motion (now known as Blackberry) and the Network Management and Artificial Intelligence Lab at Carleton University.

I found out about the Grace Hopper Celebration from chatting with my female engineering friends at Microsoft. Last year, over 4,500 participants and 350 companies were represented from over 53 countries. This year, Grace Hopper will open its doors to 8,000 attendees! Talk about networking opportunities, collaboration and girl power celebrated at its finest.

Initially I had no idea how to navigate through the busy three-day schedule.

Along with the first-time jitters, the adrenaline of realizing the size of the conference, and the excitement of learning new skills and developing existing ones, I wanted to get involved in a unique way to make the most out of this celebration. That’s when I was introduced to the Grace Hopper Volunteer Committee. The committee takes care of overseeing the event and connecting with women worldwide through blog posts, wiki posts, and social media (including Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook). If you can’t attend the conference this year, have no fear! The lectures will be noted and blogged from our amazing team of volunteers, led by these wonderful ladies: Gail Carmichael, Valerie Anne Fenwick, Charna Parkey and Rosario Robinson.

I’m hungry to connect and collaborate on a variety of topics and fresh ideas. Interested in becoming a manager in the future and leading a team? Improving on your leadership skills with high impact? Building your professional network? Discussions on reverse engineering, security, gaming, or cloud computing? Deciding if working at a start-up is the right career decision for you? All of these topics and PLENTY more will be discussed over the three days, with a link to the full schedule here.

Your passion is contagious! As GHC14 approaches, I can’t help but think, “The Phoenix Convention Center will have its roof blown off with the amount of energy these women are going to bring!” The opportunity to meet all of you, who share the same passion as I do for technology and engineering, is the top reason why I think the conference is so beneficial as a part of any woman’s career growth and personal growth.

Your story as to how you found yourselves in the tech industry serves as an inspiration to the thousands of girls who are about to take or are already taking the steps in advancing their careers. As Bill Gates said, “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” All 8,000 of you leaders are empowering women all over the world to embrace the field of technology, make a difference and truly change the world. This is the revolutionary tone that Grace Hopper has been setting for the last 13 years and will continue to set for years to come.

What are you most excited about for #ghc14? How will you #changetheworld? Connect with me at Twitter with your story!

See you there superwomen!
Vivian