24th Annual Women in Technology Summit
GET CONNECTED, COACHED, INSPIRED
The good folks at the WITI (Women In Technology International) organization invited me to their annual 3-day Summit in the heart of Silicon Valley, and my employer supported me going to the event, so I was in!!
If you're not acquainted, the WITI mission statement is incredibly inspiring:
WITI's mission is to empower women worldwide to achieve unimagined possibilities and transformations through technology, leadership and economic prosperity. WITI website
WOW! Such a beautiful mission. I was so excited to head up to San Jose because I used to really enjoy going to music industry conferences. And it had been awhile since I surrounded myself with the kind of intentional energy that emits from professional gatherings like this. I had eventually ended up speaking on panels a few times which was neat, too. But for these few days in San Jose, I was prepared to be an active listener at the Women in Technology Summit. And below is my recap!
My Favorite Sessions from the Women in Technology Summit 2018
Before I jump into my faves, a simple nod to all the OG Women in Technology. It was really, really incredible to see so many women of all ages at this event. There was a hardcore engineering vibe present and trying to imagine the kind of crap those women had to put up with for so many years makes me feel really proud to even be in the same room as a lot of these bright beings. It was not trendy or "cool" to be in technology when some of these women started out. Major props!
Alright, alright... on to a few highlights!
- MARY JANES: THE WOMEN OF WEED: This documentary was part of WITI's Cannabis Business and Technology Symposium. Let's just stop for a second on the fact that there WAS a Cannabis & Technology Symposium for starters. A glorious fact highlighted in this film is that women make up 36% of senior leadership in the cannabis industry. WOW!! Aside from the actual medicinal benefits, the opportunity to level the overall gender disparity in business is massive in the cannabis industry. Salute to WITI for including this symposium at its Summit. Check out this trailer to catch a glimpse of this inspiring documentary:
- MEET THE 2018 WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY HALL OF FAME HONOREES: At each WITI Summit after their first, there is a banquet celebrating extraordinary women in technology. I was absolutely blown away and moved to tears so many times during this event. My favorite honoree was a woman who played a pivotal role in the revolutionary network that would eventually become "The Internet". Born in West Virginia in 1931, this spirit is a great reminder that ANYONE from ANYWHERE can make a difference in the world. Massive gratitude to Elizabeth "Jake" Feinler for sharing such a monumental contribution to society!!
- LEAD WITH COMPASSION: FIND YOUR OWN LEADERSHIP STYLE: Next favorite was a panel I was so delighted to read even existed, as the word "compassion" is not normally folded into business conversations. Raejenne Skillern (VP, GM Cloud Service Provider business of Intel) gracefully and boldly shared her approach of, "I am me consistently and without compromise," with her captive audience. Isn't that a brave way to be in business?
- SPEAK LIKE A LEADER BOOTCAMP: I got such great value from John Bates presentations, but the piece that resonated the most for me was a Snoop Dogg quote John shared, "Don't be nervous, be at their service." I mean, c'mon. Does it get more simple than that?!! When I reflect back on presentations that went very well or those that did not, the noticeable difference from one extreme to the other is whether I'm present or whether I'm in my head. When I'm present to the value I'm bringing to clients or teams, communicating is usually smooth. If I need to convince myself or I'm not clear on my/our value, I'm an open book & my nerves take over!
My biggest single takeaway from the entire WITI event was INSPIRATION. I was not familiar with WITI at all until a dear friend introduced me to their team in October 2017. I am so grateful to WITI's commitment to my particular demographic. It's just so humbling to know people that want to help and support me and others just like me. Powerful.
And a deep bow to WITI for connecting me with my current employer, Left Field Labs. LFL is an experienced design company that connects people, products, and brands in powerful ways. Our small but growing team of designers, developers, producers, strategists, and content creators is based in Venice and Mountain View, California. We believe in the power of storytelling, human-centric design, and the intersection of creativity with code to further humanity's relationship with technology.
Being on the LFL team is a unique opportunity to demonstrate and hone my creative services knowledge with clients like Google (and their myriad of talented teams), Toyota Research Institute, BLOCKv, and more. Our LFL team is filled with people who care about our professional and creative output and I am honored to support and be supported in our efforts there!