At the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI), 2009 has been an inspiring year as we grew in organizational size, in program participation, in online community participation, as well as increasing our impact on the community we serve. Here are some of our results from 2009.
Showcase Technical Women
Some of the most important work we do at ABI is showcasing amazing women. There is a lot of research about how role models can influence a person’s career and life decision. I know how important hearing from women who I admired was to me as I began my technology journey. Here are a few videos of women who today, are changing the face of technology.
In October we released a video called I am a Technical Women that has become viral. Each and every time I watch this three-minute video, I am inspired.
The 2009 Women of Vision event featured an inspiring talk from the CTO of Cisco, Padmasree Warrior. I’ve included links to the talk on YouTube (for reasons that I don’t fully understand, the YouTube videos are fixed size, so there are three links). What is hard to describe in words is her visible impact on the students, industry women, and other attendees, who lined up to speak to her at the end of the event. She waited to speak to each and every one of them, complete with hugs.
The three Women of Vision winners
Innovation – Yuqing Gao
Leadership – Mitchell Baker
Social Impact – Jan Cuny
The Grace Hopper Conference site features video’s of extraordinary women.
In particular, the Ed & Ashley videos are interviews with women speaking on topics like community and how to get a job. Here is one of my favorite short videos with Rebecca Norlander from Microsoft, discussing how to be a person of influence.
Develop Technical Leadership
For technical women, developing leadership skills such as asking for what you want or understanding how to influence, is important to understanding how to be a leader. This last year, we featured a well attended and well received workshop by Jo Miller on how to become a person of influence.
I know that I have referenced my notes from this workshop many times since I attended, to better understand how to achieve my desired results.
At the 2009 Grace Hopper Conference, 1571 people attended from Industry, Academia and Government. To understand how the conference impact the attendees leadership, it makes sense to hear from them
…. Learning about how to publish, listening from successful women
about their valuable experiences of the struggles and tips to develop and improve themselves, and dancing with all great women scientists and fostering the common thought that we can do better and contribute impact to the society.
Getting advice on launching my career from people who have “been there, done that”.
The enthusiasm and energy of both the attendees and organizers/presenters of the conference, the fun and excitement to be a part of an organized conference dedicated to the advancement of technology.
Through comments and suggestions at various technical sessions, as well as simply being surrounded by so many women who are working to succeed, and looking to me for inspiration, I felt a renewed hope for and plans for myself, as well as garnered some suggestions on how to break my “stalemate”.
Before the conference, bloggers posted advice on how to make the most of the exhibits and recruiters, on what to pack, on networking. The blog allows for sharing of personal perspective, and bloggers shared why they feel GHC is so important, how GHC has affected their life, and what they hope to get out of the conference. Organizers also blogged to share some of the behind the scenes work done at the conference
I really enjoyed the Jo Miller session on Becoming a Person of Influence.
In the evaluation, many attendees expressed the lessons they took back to their lives and their organizations. Many discussed how attending the conference in previous years has impacted their current role as a technical leader.
Change the Culture of Technology
This year, ABI once again held the Technical Executive Forum, where 61 senior technical executives convened to learn from our research, and from each other.
The results of this Seminar, can be found in the report on the 2009 Technical Executive Forum, The Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement of Technical Women: Breaking Barriers to Cultural Change in Corporations, found on our research page
As always, the inspiration and learnings comes from the stories of the individuals who attend. One male executive told me afterwards that for the first time he understood the importance of developing unbiased metrics for evaluating the success of their high potential technical leaders, especially the women. He had been very ambivalent about attending this workshop, but had been asked to attend by his leadership. His entire attitude had changed.
As we reach the end of 2009, I am proud of the impact ABI has had on the world, and on the technical communities we serve. I look forward to next year, and the promise of a future where women are seated at the table, creating the technology that will change our lives.
Happy Holidays to all of you!!