Kaley Credle, a project manager at Sci-Med Solutions, attended the Women in Tech Summit on Friday with a goal of learning more about the future of technology. She learned much more.
“I am really interested in learning about new trends in technology and building new technical skills,” she said.
Thanks to the summit, Credle also learned how to look at networking in a new way after attending a fireside chat with keynote speaker Kelly Hoey.
Hoey, the author of “Build Your Dream Network,” encouraged attendees to think of networking differently.
“Networking is everything you do,” said Hoey. “Ask yourself. How are you choosing to engage with the world?”
Hoey’s advice resonated with Credle.
“What she said was counterintuitive to what I thought about networking. By breaking down the definition of networking, she encouraged me to start thinking about how my daily interactions are a part of building a strong network,” she added.
And that, says Women in Tech Summit Co-founder and Operations Director Gloria Bell, is the point.
“One of our goals is to ensure women on the technical side are networking with women who are in business roles,” she said.
Workshops and more
More than 200 women gathered at The Frontier in Research Triangle Park for the Summit. The sold-out event combined hands-on workshops and discussions on industry trends with career development tips and networking opportunities.
College students, project managers, programmers and human resource managers chose from more than 15 sessions, which included a workshop on editing Wikipedia for women in history, a discussion on how to identify funding opportunities and a hands-on session titled “Building a (Virtual) Sandbox.”
At one Tech Trends workshop, “From Fountain Pen to Cloud: MetLife’s 149-year Partnership with Technology,” Metlife Principle Engineer Julie Burkett walked attendees through a recent case study.
“Our goal for the presentation was to walk attendees through how we did what we did, and, through the process, cut costs and identified efficiencies to make the project stronger,” said Gaja Gosh, a Metlife project manager. Metlife was also an event sponsor.
Bringing together women
Bell says the idea for the summit series came when she and some of her peers realized that women in the tech industry were not showing up at meetups and conferences. To solve this problem, Bell and her friends decided to develop a conference focused on women in technology.
“We knew women in tech were out there and wanted to bring them together for what was intended to be a one-time event,” said Bell.
That was in 2012 in Philadelphia. This year, in addition to Raleigh, summits were held In Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Denver. Next year, organizers will also launch events in Chicago and New Orleans.
All profits from the events support the non-profit TechGirlz.org. The non-profit seeks to encourage girls to embrace technology as a possible career path. TechGirlz shares its free workshop curriculum with companies, organizations, schools and community groups so they can inspire girls around the world.