This year I had the pleasure of attending The Grace Hopper Conference (http://gracehopper.anitaborg.org/), and I would like to share my notes and takeaways with you.
This is indeed a conference for women in computing, but there is much value in everyone's involvement in this conversation. Promoting diversity (gender, race, etc.) is a change that involves everyone, not just the minority groups. Furthermore, there are lots of great insights around the industry, success as a team, and personal career growth, so I hope you walk away with something that helps you in your current situations.
As for the central theme of promoting women in tech, my main takeaway from the conference was this: The way to make progress is to support each other and celebrate your successes; only then can we create an environment that empowers women to enter the industry and find opportunities that allow for a long, successful career while remaining active in the industry.
Keynote: Hilary Mason, Founder and CEO at Fast Forward Labs
- What it means to be a computer engineer is changing
- It’s hard to plan your career because you don’t know what the world will look like in the future. So rather than telling yourself “I want to be x when I grow up”, think “I want to head in this direction, because this creates the world I want to live in”.
- Think about what you believe the industry will look like in 5-10 years and ask yourself where do you want to be in it? What role do you want to play?
Professional Development Workshop: Communicating for Impact and Influence
Denise Brosseau (http://www.thoughtleadershiplab.com/AboutDenise)
- Effective communication let’s us feel, think, or act differently
- Need to quit things in order to make space for things you want to do
- Biggest mistake we all make - "We believe that a quitter never wins and a winner never quits. In truth, knowing what to quit, when to quit, how to quit, and why you are quitting are the hallmarks of an authentic, youthful life.” - Mary LoVerde
- Stop doing:
- Trauma Sharing: “Can you believe..”, “He never..”, “She always.."
- Pining: “If only.."
- Whining: “How come I never.."
- Talking about how busy you are
- In simulation, when women negotiated for themselves, they asked for an average of $7,000 less than men. But when they negotiated on behalf of a friend, they asked for just as much as men.
- Stop thinking of negotiation as “adversarial putting on the armor, getting ready to do battle.” Instead, think of it as solving a problem.
- Exercise: Amplify.
- Always amplify others
Professional Development Workshop: Build your brand as an emerging leader or technical expert
Jo Miller (http://www.beleaderly.com/ghc15/)
- Figure out your “brand” - what you want to be known for and what to focus on as you take charge of your career trajectory
- What’s your career superpower? Combination of:
- What are you passionate about
- What are your skills & talents
- What does your industry/company need and value? Note this will constantly be changing
- Consider what form your brand will take in your next step in your career
- Make your brand visible by:
- working less
- communicating it to others
- working hard on the right projects
- promoting your accomplishments
Afternoon Plenary: Transforming the Culture of Tech
Clara Shih, Blake Irving, Megan Smith
- Own what makes you different
- Incorporating consciousness of diversity efforts in every organizational decision allows for the trend to grow and continue
- Cyber-bullying is a digital manifestation of an analog problem. We need to educate and speak up about this issue
Keynote: Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube. Hadi Partovi, CEO code.org
- Only 26% women in tech jobs is both a pipeline issue AND a retention issue
- Misconceptions that prevent women from entering tech:
- It’s boring
- I’ll be bad at it
- Don’t want to be caught dead w a CS nerd
- “Men don’t have special skills to better run tech companies; there’s just more of them, and they’re more aggressive"
- When Google went to 18 weeks paid maternity leave, retention went up 50%
- US is the only country besides Papua New Guinea that doesn’t have paid maternity leave
- We need to start requiring teaching code in schools
Mindbugs: Solving Implicit Bias in Gender and STEM
- McGurk Effect
- Once first impression is made, it takes more time and effort to revisit and reset
- Baby reactions to jack in the box. When participants were told the baby was female, the word most used to describe the baby’s reaction was “afraid”; when told the baby was male, baby’s reaction was “angry"
- Stronger association of “science” with “female” not only promotes engagement in career, but also performance.
- Showing implicit bias != endorsements.
- College Calculus course with female instructors showed female students with less bias against “science” and “female”, and better performance.
Retain and Advance Your Top Talented Women Technologists
Lauren Antonoff, Molly Gantz, Christine Goldberg
- 56% women leave industry at mid-level
- 2x women leave industry as men
- Having women in leadership roles promotes more women at all levels of the organization. Organizations need advancement programs
- “you can’t advance women you don’t retain"
- Lauren Antonoff while at GoDaddy:
- Found herself looking to hire managers and ended up not hiring any women, and wanted to explore how to help this.
- Goal: Increase # women in manager of managers role
- Set up program with :
- Monthly meetings
- Homework for participants around self-development
- Coaching. Have conversations about “Would I hire this person, if not why”. Promotes visibility. Helps coach understand how they can help.
- If you find things you want to change, find specific metrics, come up with a plan, and execute.
Fixing the Leaky Pipeline: Unleashing the Power of Community
Chelsea Clinton, Maxine Williams, Jack Dorsey
- Pipeline problems start at 4th grade for many reasons including media representation of women
- Over 70% of team at Square rolls up to 3 women executives
- Should we revisit referral bonuses? Does it promote an already existing bias to hire people like you?
- “Culture fit” is a lazy way of saying they’re not like you
- Policies need to change, and attitudes too. Leaders with platforms need to be able to talk openly about things like breastfeeding.
- Next year bring a male colleague to the Grace Hopper Conference
Plenary w Sheryl Sandberg
- Be ambitious
- Pure support. lean in circles
- Stay in tech
- Say “I need this not only for myself, but because it’s fair, for all women"
Full presentations from the conference can be found here