Women in Computing: Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?” is the theme of this year’s Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference #GHC12 on October 3-6, 2012 at the Baltimore Convention.

3,659 women, an increase of about 23% more people, flocked to Baltimore early this month to attend the GHC12. Attendees from 42 countries, 209 companies and about 1,505 are students from 345 academic institutions. The Top 5 colleges that support student participation include Harvey Mudd College, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Purdue University. TechWomen participants from all over the continent include: Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Palestinians, and much more

Nora Denzel opened the Keynote speech, “Women Engineers have the power to change the world!” @ndenzel #GHC12. Here are her top 5 takeaways for the attendees: Have a positive attitude, feel comfortable when you are not, act properly, control your career PR agent, and create your own board of people

– A few great sessions that I’ve had the privileged of attending were Mentoring: Nethope in partnership with Microsoft/Accenture developed Women TechConnect.

-”Sponsors or mentors” panel session: Here are alarming statistics for women on top; Status of women in leadership and barriers that women are still facing include:

  • 3.8% women as CEO’s of Fortune 500 (19 women only)
  • 16.1% women as Board of Directors of Fortune 500
  • 14.1 %women as Corporate Executive of Fortune 500

Challenges women face: unconscious stereotyping, lack of access to influential others, outdated work process and mindsets. What are the solutions and initiatives? Mentoring, leaders in up planning, succession planning, and high potential ID

Intel hosted the women in color: underrepresented women in color. Had a blast attending the luncheon with all of the 200 fabulous women in color in one ballroom.

-In the afternoon, we’ve had Tech entrepreneurs Lab #TEL over 200+ attended the session and workshop. As part of the TEL committees, it was my privilege to help out the jam session. The ladies were paired up in a group of 10’s. The collaborations started 10 on each team. The team was tasked with creating an ideation based on solving the problems of one of the categories provided or choosing their own idea buckets. They were to deliver the pitch in 60 seconds, telling us the how and why: check out my top 5 must haves to pitch-rules of thumb(see photo below). Great ideas across! There is an app that tracks geographic location for students who walk to their car, dormitory, or nearby locations for their destination at night.

Last but not least, our panel discussion on how to optimize job searches was a full house. Ladies and gentlemen of all age groups came to hear the sessions. Take aways: Create an online brand presence for you, Do research on the company that you are meeting, Maximize/strategize your top companies to meet, elevate your elevator pitch, and last but not least, do stand outs from the crowd.

Last but not least: Career fair for students are awesome.  Companies from Expedia, Apple, Yahoo, Thomson Reuters, Microsoft, Bloomberg, Dropbox, Salesforce, and many more. See full list here

Are we there yet? Almost… Let’s keep it going, ladies! To learn more about ABI, check out their site. See you next year in MSP!

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