“What’s better than peace, love, and estrogen? I mean, come on, ladies! Am I right?! Am I right?!”
Last week, I volunteered at the Grace Hopper Global Celebration of Women in Computing Conference. 4,600 women charging the streets of downtown Minneapolis was truly a sight to see, and even after only four days with them, I can honestly say that I have never met more inspiring, witty, and driven women in my life.
I spent my first day volunteering at the main keynote event: Sheryl Sandberg in conversation with Maria Klawe and Telle Whitney. My task was to make sure we filled every seat in the auditorium. As I was directing the sections closest to the front, I turned around to see Sheryl Sandberg herself, standing right behind me! Of course, I had to snap a picture.
I learned so much at the conference, but these two takeaways stood out:
The first was during the workshop with Patty Azzarello. She told the audience to stop trying to get better at things we aren’t naturally good at. Instead, put all of our energy into things that we enjoy and are naturally good at.
The second was during the panel discussion with Etsy, Pinterest, Fusion, and Airbnb. They talked about their scaling strategies and unique techniques for sharding their databases, which I found particularly intriguing.
Being a woman in this industry, tech conferences have always been fun but a little uncomfortable. Sometimes I left feeling insecure and left behind. At Grace Hopper, though, I left every day feeling inspired and empowered to reach for my dreams. I never felt overwhelmed but instead felt proud of where I am and of how far I’ve come since I started programming.
Even more exciting, on the final day of the conference, I was asked to join the list of speakers for next year’s conference in Phoenix, Arizona! I will be speaking on a panel with other women who build software “for good,” and I’ll also be a mentor during the Speed-Mentoring session.
Here’s to embracing who I am and enjoying this journey as a woman in computing! See you next year in Phoenix, Hoppers!
For more images of the conference, go here.