This is my first time attending the Grace Hopper Conference. After day one, I am impressed at how well organized the conference is, the people I met, and the talks I attended.
At the opening ceremony and welcome this morning, the presenters discussed about how important it is to network. We were encouraged to talk to people in line while waiting for a panel. They have “topic tables” during lunch which is fantastic for someone who doesn’t know many people at the conference. I sat at random tables for each meal, felt welcomed right away, and was able to talk to women from various companies about what they do and the panels we attended.
I attended the keynote this morning with Sheryl Sandberg in conversation with Maria Clawe and Telle Whitney. I posted my notes earlier today and thought it was such a high note to start the conference. Update: Here’s a video of the talk.
The next talk I went to was called “Be More Strategic! Stories and Tips from Experienced Technical Women.” Karen Catlin, cofounder of Femgineer, moderated a panel on defining strategy and steps to being more strategic. The members of the panel were Ann Mei Chang, Senior Advisor for Women and Technology in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues at the US Department of State; Meena Kaul-Basu, Director of Engineering at Oracle; Mary Fernandez, CEO of MentorNet; and Christine Reimer, Director of Professional and Implementation Services at Intuit. I also posted my notes on this panel earlier today.
I also went tothe panel called “Using Volunteer Opportunities to Drive Forward Your Career.” The moderator was Lisa Schlosser (Thomson Reuters) and the panelists were Erica Christensen (CA Technologies), Josie Gillan (salesforce.com), Audrey Van Belleghem (NetApp). They discussed how to gain experience applicable to your career by volunteering: How to find the right opportunities, starting your own networking group, and how to hone your leadership skills. This was more geared to women who are in management roles or want their careers to move in that direction.
There were a lot of sponsors at the career fair! I had to force myself not to grab any swag since I usually end up throwing it out several weeks later (and then I feel bad for the environment).
I walked through the poster session and there were some pretty cool projects. There was one in particular that I thought was simple yet a great idea and that was the Arduino Dress. It seemed like such a fun way to combine technology with fashion and get into Arduino projects. Btw, you can see a full-res version of the poster on Jessica’s site.