Why Do I Keep Going Back To Grace Hopper?
Below is an article originally written by Stacy Gorelik, Director of Engineering at PowerToFly Partner Flatiron Health, and published on October 5, 2018. Go to Flatiron Health's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
I believe today is an amazing time to be a technologist. I also believe it's an amazing time to be a woman technologist. Yes, sure, there are still plenty of challenges in many workplaces, schools and universities, and yes, young girls (particularly from underprivileged backgrounds) are still largely discouraged from moving into STEM by cultural and socioeconomic influences around them. But the power of the community that women in technology have built over time, despite, or because of, these challenges, makes this moment in time special to be a female in a technical field.
Grace Hopper, ca 1975
Last week, AnitaB.org gathered a record 22,000 women under the roof of the Minute Maid Park in Houston for the annual Grace Hopper Celebration. We learned, we recruited, we taught, we laughed, we bonded and some of us celebrated through the night. For those not familiar with the event: Rear Admiral Grace Hopper was a pioneer of computer programming who invented one of the first compiler-related tools and popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages. The Grace Hopper Celebration, or more commonly referred to as just Grace Hopper or GHC, is the largest gathering of women technologists in the world.
Over the years, Grace Hopper has continued to grow at an unprecedented pace, both in the level of speakers and content presented during the conference, and in the number of companies and people who attend, but it has also enabled to stay relevant and important. Short of writing a 30-page essay, I wanted to document a few highlights of my experience this year to show why I continue to come back to Grace Hopper year after year:
- The excitement leading up to Grace Hopper every year yields a high that's hard to explain: from speaking proposals submitted; to the recruiting strategies developed; to the company-sponsored panels aimed at building excitement specifically for GHC; to the flight full off women taking off from LGA and cheering each other on; to the song on the early morning shuttles to the conference center; to the spontaneous old mentee encounter in line for the coveted machine learning talk…
- At the conference itself, the diversity and inclusion talks have become more meaningful every year, presenting us with tips, studies and solutions. The focus has slowly started to shift from just women in technology to other underrepresented groups, which I believe is not only important but crucial for our industry
- This year, Anita Hill carried a message of hope in a closing keynote. In the midst of the Kavanaugh hearings, she made us look at all the progress that has already been made. She reminded us, "We thankfully now live in a world where corporate CEOs are saying 'I want to live in a better, more inclusive, diverse society'"
- Tenshey's Maggie Chan Jones and Flatiron's Marta Bralic taught us about key decisions and strategies to manage one's career
- My colleague Jenny and I spent a large part of Wednesday in Mentoring Circles, teaching women of all stages in their career on how to boost their internal and external brands: sharing our experience, answering questions, connecting and learning a bit ourselves from the participants
- I yet again met and connected with many incredible women: women who write code, women who run sizable organizations, women who coach others, women who use technology to empower our troops. After-hours events again sparked meaningful conversations, resulting in new connections made, knowledge exchanged, problems resolved
- I was also impressed by the recent influx of mission-driven companies like ours that are now coming to Grace Hopper; there were many new companies at the expo and many participating in various mainstream and hallway track talks
- I loved overhearing our amazing Flatiron crew at our booth in the job fair: after a long day on her feet, Lucy, our machine learning engineer, felt no less inspired to teach every single person who came by our booth about how we combine human experts with automation to extract meaningful medical data from unstructured documents; Alda, our unquestionably most enthusiastic data insights engineer, coached a student on how to approach the recruiter; while another data insights engineer, Sam, high-fived her Twitter followers in the crowds
Thank you to AnitaB.org for yet another high-quality, meaningful event. As cliche as it sounds, it was truly inspiring to be around so many diverse women. The future is in OUR hands, as today we women technologists work for a better tomorrow. I am looking forward to riding on this high for another year, and sharing this experience with more Flatiron women in the years to come.
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She always has, which is why she enjoyed her part-time job working at the IT department of the University of Colorado while she was studying electrical engineering. (She'd started in computer science, but explains that it "wasn't for her" and switched her major.) She helped students and professors with word processors, basic programming, and software checkout, and took a full-time job after graduation as a UNIX system administrator.
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Diversity Reboot 2021: The One Hundred Day Kickoff<p><strong>When</strong>: February 1-5, 2021</p><p><strong>Where</strong>: Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Free!</p><p><strong>Where to register: </strong><a href="https://summit.powertofly.com/" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>We had to include our own Diversity Reboot on our list of the best diversity and inclusion events to attend in 2021 because we know firsthand how the quality of 100+ expert speakers, the enthusiasm of 10,000 participants, and the cutting-edge tech that enables meaningful virtual networking and job fairs combine to create a truly epic five-day experience. This year, the theme 100 Day Kickoff harnesses the energy of the new government's first 100 days in office to help jump-start personal and professional plans to build more diverse and inclusive workplaces. </p><p>Following the February summit, we'll have a monthly series of smaller virtual summits on topics spanning everything from returnships to LGBTQ+ advocacy, so be sure to stay tuned for updates!<br></p>
The Future of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 2021<p><strong>When</strong>: February 3-4, 2021</p><p><strong>Where</strong>: Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Free</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://www.hr.com/en/webcasts_events/virtual_events/upcoming_virtual_events/the-future-of-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-2021_kcxf8glq.html#detail" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>This virtual conference put on by HR.com focuses on how social movements like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter have pushed DEI at work beyond legal compliance and into a major factor of any company or brand's culture, employee engagement, and performance. Topics include how to uncover and resolve pay gaps across your team and hire top-level diverse talent.</p>
Workplace Revolution: From Talk to Collective Action<p><strong>When</strong>: March 8-12, 2021</p><p><strong>Where</strong>: Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register: </strong>$820</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://cvent.me/ZQ4BbE" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>The Forum on Workplace Inclusion's 33rd annual conference includes 12 session tracks, from DEI Strategy to Social Responsibility, along with 59 workshops and daily networking sessions. This year's theme focuses on one question: "What will it take to start a workplace revolution that moves us from talk to action?"</p>
Diversity: How Employers Can Match Words With Deeds<p><strong>When</strong><strong>: </strong>May 19, 2021</p><p><strong>Where:</strong> Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register</strong><strong>: </strong>Early bird registration is $49 and general admission is $149</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://hopin.com/events/may-virtual-conference-diversity-how-employers-can-match-words-with-deeds" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Here</a></p><p>From Day One is hosting monthly conferences in 2021 focused on different ways for companies to foster strong relationships with their customers, communities, and employees. May's half-day virtual event is focused specifically on how companies can make diversity promises that don't fall flat and features workshops, panels, and a fireside chat.</p>
Hire with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion<p><strong>When:</strong> August 18, 2021</p><p><strong>Where: </strong>Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register: </strong>$195</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://www.hci.org/conferences/2021-virtual-conference-hire-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-august-18-2021" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>This conference put on by the Human Capital Institute is one of 12 virtual conferences that HCI has planned for 2021. This one focuses on fair and inclusive talent acquisition, including how to attract diverse talent, implement inclusive hiring practices, and addressing bias in employee selection. Other conferences will focus on optimizing talent strategy, engaging employees, and developing your workforce.</p>
Virtual Grace Hopper Celebration 2021<p><strong>When:</strong> September 26-29, 2021</p><p><strong>Where:</strong> Virtual, broadcast from Chicago, Illinois</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Was $799 for regular access to the virtual conference in 2020; 2021 pricing hasn't yet been announced</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://ghc.anitab.org/attend/registration/" target="_blank">Here</a>, though 2021 registration wasn't live at the time of writing</p><p>Grace Hopper might be the best-known conference for women in tech. Through keynote presentations, networking sessions, job fairs, and community-building activities, vGHC reached over 30,000 women for their 2020 conference and are expecting even more in 2021! While not a conference focused exclusively on diversity and inclusion, many speakers plan to focus their talks on creating environments for women to thrive in the male-dominated tech field.</p>
Inclusion 2021<p><strong>When:</strong> October 25-27, 2021</p><p><strong>Where:</strong> Virtual and in person in Austin, Texas as of now</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Hasn't yet been announced</p><p><strong>Where to register: </strong><a href="https://conferences.shrm.org/inclusion" target="_blank">Here</a>, though 2021 registration wasn't live at the time of writing</p><p>The Society for Human Resource Management's biggest conference of the year saw 1,200 DEI leaders participate last year; SHRM hopes to see even more come to learn, be inspired, and to walk away with a playbook of implementable strategies to create truly inclusive workplace cultures.</p>
AfroTech 2021<p><strong></strong><strong>When:</strong> November 8-13, 2021</p><p><strong>Where:</strong> Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Early bird pricing is $149 for individuals and $249 for corporate attendees; regular pricing hasn't yet been announced</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://experience.afrotech.com/" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>AfroTech is a conference hosted by Blavity, a tech media platform for Black millennials. It focuses on emerging tech trends, connecting Black talent with top tech recruiters, and providing networking and educational opportunities, with an overall goal of building a strong Black tech community. Over 10,000 people participated in 2020. While the conference isn't focused specifically on DEI, its main audience of Black tech talent is an important one to understand and to engage at work and beyond, and several speakers plan to focus on issues of race and inclusion at work. </p>
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