Have you ever seen almost 15000 women in a single place? You should have been at the Toyota Center this morning. The excitement was palpable in the huge auditorium while waiting for the opening keynote of the 16th annual Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) to begin. Music DJ Roonie DJ entertained us with popular numbers while we waited.
Telle Whitney, the CEO and President of AnitaB.org opened the session welcoming the attendees and talking about the progress this event has made since its inception in 1994. They had about 500 attendees then and today it has grown to over 15000 attendees from across 83 countries (also includes 1000 men attendees) and the keynotes are being livestreamed as well. Women, it seems, are ready to drive change on a global scale.
Latanya Sweeney(https://ghc.anitab.org/2016-speakers-honorees/2016-speakers/latanya-sweeney-2/), Professor at Harvard, is an impressive lady. She is the pioneer in Data Privacy as we know it. Her main message was that as computer science engineers, we should not just be concerned with developing new technology but also be mindful of the consequences of these technologies and adjust for them either in the design phase or study them after and fix them. Her call to action is that we should train/help the policy regulators help formulate the data policies in a rapidly changing technocracy we are living in.
Anna Patterson(https://ghc.anitab.org/2016-speakers-honorees/2016-honorees/anna-patterson/) , this year’s AnitaB.org technical AnitaB.org award winner for 2016, is the most humble person I’ve seen in a while.
Thoughtworks won the The Top Companies for women technologists AnitaB.org award this year.
Ginny Rometty (https://ghc.anitab.org/2016-speakers-honorees/2016-speakers/ginni-rometty/), the CEO of IBM , was next to speak. So down-to-earth! Loved her 3 mantras for success – never let someone else define who you are, growth and comfort never go together and work on something bigger than you are. She also had a mini-panel where she pulled in 3 of IBM’s best innovators/engineers and had them speak about their speciality – agile, user-centric design, Watson-based genomics and reforming search.
The keynote finished with a talk from an inspiring and cool 19-year old Alyssia Jovellanos (http://anitab.org/profiles/abie-award-winners/student-of-vision/alyssia-jovellanos/) who is the 2016 AnitaB.org Student of Vision award winner. She talked how a chat with a single software engineer changed her course of study. It was cool to know we computer science engineers can influence the next generation.
Overall, it was a very inspiring talk.
Editing in progress.