I am producing another unconference this fall. It is for women working in technology called She's Geeky. It is October 22-23 in Mountain View at the Computer History Museum.
I would encourage you all to let women you know in tech know about the event either via e-mail or blogging.
I am working with a great organizing team including Mary Hodder from Dabble, Susan Mernit from Yahoo!, Julia French from Covered Communications, Deb Roby a BlogHer Blogger, Melanie Swan, Heather Vesent from the Purple Tornado and Laurie Rae.
We have three simple goals with the event.
- Exchange skills and learning from women from diverse fields of technology.
- Discuss topics about women and technology.
- Connect the diverse range of women in technology, computing, entrepreneurship, funding, hardware, open source, nonprofit and any other technical geeky fields.
What is the value of coming? It should be a great networking opportunity to meet other interesting women who you or your company might do business with. In this format you will get to learn more then you would just having interesting meetings in a hallway like you do at typical conferences that cost a lot more.
We have aimed to make it affordable and accessible for women costing $125 (until Sept 30). We have some great sponsors so far to help make up the difference Google, The Nonprofit Technology Network, Atlassian, Purple Tornado, Citizen Agency and are actively looking for other sponsors who would like to contribute to the event. Please contact me if you are interested.
It is an event where women can get exposed to new and different skills in industry niches they don't normally work in. The unconference format is a perfect format to build community and relationships across niches. - I talked to a developer yesterday who was one of 12 women developers out of 600 people attending Ruby Conf. It can be lonely in one little niche - reaching out to women who share technical passion but are not in your niche is a needed thing.
I love the Identity Community and have lots of friends here. There are also not that many women in our little field. I have been really lucky to hang out in a few tech niches (Web 2.0, Open Source, NonProfit Tech) I noticed that there was often very little overlap between the people in these communities so part of the goal is to mix between niches and hopefully create some new friendship and business opportunities.
I personally have had very few 'issues' in being a women working in the industry - in fact it has been great. I also have been hanging out on several women in technology mailing lists and I feel really lucky to be in a community with a healthy culture that is welcoming and encouraging. This is not always the case.
With this event we have an opportunity with an all women's space to dive deeper into the issues arising for women working in this field. The timing is opportune on the heals of the O'Reilly Women in Technology series that is running this month. There is a lot of intense commenting following those articles regarding the issues raised. In open space we do the same thing but face-to-face. My article was posted today: Process Geekiness: The Role of Face-to-Face Collaboration in Thriving Tech Communities
There is another fact about women in technology that inspired me to pull this event together. Many women who work in technology do so 'accidently' and therefore don't have formal training in the sector - creating opportunities for next steps to deepen knowledge and skills on a career path is especially important. So the skill sharing is an opportunity for us accidental tech workers to learn something new and broaden horizons for next steps on a career path is another goal for She's Geeky.
You can't just show up and present anywhere - you can at She's Geeky. At regular conferences and the other women in tech programs have formal themes, committees and selection processes. This is a great opportunity to show up and try something out.
If you are a women working in tech please join us if you can.