Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What Can Global Tech Women Do For You?

A conference like The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) is a fantastic experience. Having attended many times I can vouch for the fact that there is nothing (nothing) like being surrounded by a couple thousand other professional technical women. You don't realize until you experience it just how different the technical world, our world, would be if there were more technical women around. I can't describe the experience other than to say it is mind blowing, empowering and life changing.

However, most technical women around the globe don't have access to the GHC or one of it's sister conferences. They don't have access to the resources and connections available to those relative few who can physically attend a conference for women in computing. What to do?

Global Tech Women, introduced in my last post, intends to bridge the gap between globally dispersed technical women and the equally dispersed resources and like minded others. That means bringing resources for personal and professional growth to technical women on a local level. In their communities and homes. That also means providing technical women access to content and a network on a global scale. Global Tech Women (GTW) is employing both a bottom up and top down approach to supporting and connecting often isolated technical women.

"Women Talk Tech" Webinars. Information and expertise coming to you.

On September 21st Global Tech Women founder Deanna Kosaraju spoke in some depth about the organization: its vision, mission, goals, and plans.  What is going on as well as opportunities for you to get involved. This 30 minute webinar contains far more information than can easily fit in a blog post. Or even several blog posts. Deanna also hints at some nifty technology in the wings. If you want the full scoop on Global Tech Women, you can access the webinar and slides here.

Then there was the second webinar on October 12th which featured Caroline Simard getting into specifics about how to identify a work culture that is (or is not) actively supportive of technical women. I thought I knew a lot already about this topic yet I walked away with things to ponder and act upon. A particularly nice feature of this webinar was the active discussion from women across the career spectrum. Curious? The webinar and slides are archived here (scroll down the page).

The next webinar is ... Friday. It looks like we are going to hear about disruptive innovation. You can still sign up here. If you miss it, don't worry - like all the other webinars it will be archived.

"Voices" - an International Women's Day Conference. We return to the challenge facing technical women who would like to attend a conference geared toward their personal and professional goals.

Voices will be held on International Women's Day of course.  March 8th, 2013. What is truly innovative about this conference is that you don't have to go anywhere to participate. The conference comes to you. As described in detail in the first webinar video, Voices will take place over a 24 hour period, following the sun as it circles the globe. Not only can you attend the conference but you can participate in the planning and execution. In other words, if you want to hear about something, share about something, if you know about something worth sharing at the conference, you are encouraged to contact the organization to discuss how to make it happen. The agenda is not going to be decided by "someone out there".

A Customizable Open Source Platform with resources and connections geared towards your profile.

If every social media savvy marketing organization can target you with ads based upon what they creep around snooping out about you (yuck), doesn't it make sense to turn things on their head and *ask* technical women what they want to help them achieve their personal and professional goals and then deliver it? Sometime soon, the GTW website will provide you the ability to create a goal driven profile which will be used to connect you with resources, ideas, activities and people that fit where you are in your life and career.

The platform will likely require an entire blog post of its own sometime down the road. Meanwhile, in order to eventually provide oodles of bloggable material about how this platform serves your needs, you can contribute to its architecture and development. This is yet another example of Global Tech Women walking the talk - they want to involve technical women in the creation and direction of this platform.

It dawns on me, on this, the waning week prior to our incredibly close national election here in the US, that just as I hope all of you in this country get out and voice your opinions by VOTING (this is no time to be apathetic or too busy to register your opinion), I hope that all technical women reading this, wherever you are in the globe, take the opportunity to take part in the participatory democracy presented to you by Global Tech Women. In whatever way works for you.

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