Commentary & Perspectives

#GHC18 Daily Download: Wednesday, September 26

Greetings from Houston! We are here at the 2018 Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC 18), and we couldn’t be more excited. More than 20,000 people from around the world have joined us for three days of networking, learning, and hearing from an incredible lineup of speakers. Check out some of our favorite moments from Day One of GHC, and let us know what your favorite moments were. Tweet us at @AnitaB_org, or use the hashtag #GHC18.

Opening Keynote

Brenda Darden Wilkerson stands on stage and welcomes the audience at the GHC 18 Opening KeynoteA Word from Our CEO

“Nowhere other than GHC can you experience so many women technologists in one place,” beamed Brenda Darden Wilkerson, President and CEO of AnitaB.org, as she welcomed everyone at the Opening Keynote. She also read a letter from President Barack Obama addressing all GHC 18 attendees, encouraging them to “keep aiming high, dreaming big, and working hard.”

Seizing Opportunities

Padmasree Warrior helped us kick off GHC 18 during the Opening Keynote, where she discussed autonomous vehicles and women in leadership. She also gave three pieces of advice on seizing opportunities: Open doors and go through them; keep your eyes on the stars and feet on the ground; and work across boundaries. “You have to learn more than your own discipline… [and] make sure you’re paying attention to being inclusive,” she said.

Jessica O. Matthews, our second main stage speaker, spoke about how she got into the tech industry “by accident.” After creating an energy generating soccer ball for a school science project, she was encouraged to start her own business. Although hesitant, she did, and went on to create an energy generated jump rope (“And yes, I can jump rope in heels,” she boasted as she demonstrated the product on stage). Jessica hopes other women in tech will likewise find the courage to embrace unexpected opportunities. “Just because it’s not your plan doesn’t mean it’s not your destiny.”

Mariana Costa Checa gives a speech while accepting her Change Agent Abie Award at the GHC 18 Opening KeynoteAbie Award Winners

“What are the words that define you — who [do] you really aspire to be? Find those words, then live them and share them.” — Dr. Rebecca Parsons, winner of the Technical Leadership Abie Award

Congratulations to the first three of our 2018 Abie Award winners, who we celebrated on stage today: Dr. Rebecca Parsons, CTO of ThoughtWorks; Mariana Costa Checa, Co-founder and CEO of Laboratoria; and Chiara Amisola, founder of Developers’ Society and Batid. These women are changing the future of tech and impacting the lives of other women in STEM. Do you know someone who has made impressive achievements in her field or who is dedicated to promoting diversity? Nominate her for a 2019 Abie Award.

If you missed the Opening Keynote, don’t worry: You can watch our livestream coverage and see all our keynote speakers, Abie Award winners, and much more!

We’re also streaming our AnitaB.org PitcHER™ competition on YouTube and Facebook. You won’t want to miss it!

Changing the Future… Together!

We Are…

GHC is a great opportunity to support other women in tech and to remind them that they are not alone. We are encouraging our community to do just that by sharing their own “We Are” statements. Make sure to post your own statements using the hashtag #WeAreHere. Send in a video submission, and you might see yourself on screen during our Closing Keynote…

A 2018 Top Companies Top Five is displayed at the GHC 18 ExpoTop Companies

Congratulations to the winners of our 2018 Top Companies for Women Technologists program: ThoughtWorks, Blackbaud, and Bank of America. These companies have taken action to increase diversity within their organizations and create more inclusive environments.

Representatives from these winning companies spoke later in the day during a session on how they are working to increase representation of women technologists. “There is no future for us as a technology company without diversity of thought at the table,” said Mary Beth Westmoreland, CTO of Blackbaud. “It’s our responsibility as women leaders who have felt imposter syndrome throughout our careers to pull people up.”

It’s All Fun and Games Until…

In 2014, a group of people claimed there was a “feminist takeover” of the gaming industry. This “Gamergate” controversy led to women gamers being harassed and receiving threats from trolls who hoped they’d leave the industry. “But it backfired,” said Constance Steinkuehler during her featured session. Gamergate actually led to company leaders acknowledging the issues of sexism in the games industry, and they began to create new policies to address the “bro culture”. Let’s continue to make the game industry — and all industries, for that matter — safe and inclusive of everyone!

Finding Your Career Path

Mentoring Circles

Looking for interview tips? Want to know what your next career move should be? Each year, our Mentoring Circles give participants the chance to speak with multiple mentors about particular topics, from job searching to graduate studies. Thank you to the 70+ mentors who attended this year’s session, and who helped our participants gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence to build a better future for themselves.

SMASH Academy amulnae stand with Brenda Darden Wilkerson and Freada Kapor Klein at the GHC 18 SMASH ReceptionWelcome, SMASH Academy Alumni!

AnitaB.org is always looking for new ways to support students, and this year we are proud to have sponsored GHC registration scholarships for 42 SMASH alumnae, who’ve completed a summer academy at one of seven top-tier universities. During a networking reception, SMASH alums connected with one another and discussed their career aspirations. “I’m really thankful for SMASH,” said Latejah Whittaker, a Cal State Northridge student and SMASH Rising alum. “They added a lot of confidence in how I carry myself in school, and reinforced how smart I am.”

Excitement at the Expo

So Much to Do, So Little Time!

“I’m really looking forward to kickstarting my career after college,” said Chantal Danyluk, a GHC 18 attendee and Poster Presenter. Luckily, the Expo is just the place for jobseekers of all levels and experience. Meet with representatives from our sponsor companies, and learn about their open job opportunities.

You can also check out our new Technology Showcase at the Expo. See the latest and greatest products from our sponsors, and hear about new research and innovative breakthroughs.

And don’t forget to visit the AnitaB.org booth (#7032), where you can learn more about us, connect with our community, get a “We Are Here” shirt. See you there!

A collage of photos and quotes from women technologists is featured at the GHC 18 "Our Time" GalleryGallery: Our Time

Want to learn about some of the greatest women in tech? The “Our Time” gallery includes photos and stories of historic figures like Grace Hopper and Anita Borg, as well as of current technologists, including some of our very own GHC 18 attendees! There’s also mesmerizing hologram interviews with inspirational tech leaders, and a feature wall where you can share your dreams for the future of technology. Visit the gallery in the Expo Hall during Expo hours, and take part in this fun, interactive experience.

Connect with the Community

Join Us at Our Socials

Looking for new ways to connect with other women in tech? We’re hosting plenty of socials and receptions for our various communities, including Systers and AnitaB.org Local Communities. Today, Latinas in Technical Roles held their annual reception, where they heard from a number of fantastic speakers.

“It’s a great feeling to be in a room with so many Latinas,” said Sonia Fajardo during the reception. “It’s about community building,” Carolina Hernandez added. Brenda also joined the festivities: “Communities are the base of the work that we do at AnitaB.org,” she said. Be sure to check out our other socials and receptions in the GHC 18 Mobile App.

Pre-register for Our All-New Membership Program

During the Keynote Session, Brenda announced that AnitaB.org will launch a new Membership program in Spring 2019. Pre-register for AnitaB.org Membership, and receive exclusive resources, including access to our new Mentorship program. It’s a great way to help us in our mission to promote equity in tech, and keep the spirit of GHC alive all year round.

Tweets of the Day

 

We can’t wait to see what’s in store for Day Two! Remember to let us know your favorite moments of today, and be sure to join our AnitaB.org Membership program. See you tomorrow!