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In Person Events

The Grace Hopper 2018 Conference Guide: Get The Most Out Of The Celebration

From what to pack for the Grace Hopper Conference to how to network, pitch yourself to employers, and of course, get to the best parties.


Going to a technical conference like the Grace Hopper Celebration from September 26th - 28th in Houston this year offers huge rewards. By attending you can learn the latest techniques, make professional contacts, and maybe even find a new job. Even better, you'll meet mentors, and friends for life if you optimize your time while at Grace Hopper. But you know all that... that's why you're going! (Btw, if you're stuck at home this year don't despair! The Grace Hopper Conference live stream is up already and you can pre-register for it here.)

What you need is a guide for how to navigate the massive conference - and I'm not talking about the schedule they provide. Last year I went to the Grace Hopper 2017 Conference in Orlando and was overwhelmed by the number of amazing candidates who came to our booth and our event one evening. The best part was that I got to meet a few women who PowerToFly has placed in positions over the years. After all that, I still left feeling like I could have planned my time better... hence why I made a guide for Grace Hopper 2018 where I break down the basics from packing to how to share your conference experience with your boss so they send you again.

Ok... on to the guide...

1. Optimize Your Time - Plan Ahead! 

Many conferences require you to pick a particular track or the sessions you want to go to ahead of time so they have an idea of attendance for their presentations. Some sessions will fill up early, so make sure you work out your schedule as quickly as possible. The team at the Anita Borg Institute put together a great video last year on how to prep for the conference - it's very applicable for the 2018 Grace Hopper Conference so I recommend watching it.

Expo Map

Grace Hopper 2018 is being held in the George R. Brown conference center as well as the Toyota Center. Both massive spaces (and you'll want to also save your energy for walking to the night time events). Here are some photos of the George R. Brown center to give you the lay of the land. You can usually download a map of the expo floor from the Grace Hopper 2018 website - here's the link. Use it to figure out where things are and what companies you want to pitch yourself to.

Picking Sessions

Before the conference, look over the sessions that the Grace Hopper team has provided here. Decide which ones are going to be most useful to you. Don't depend on the title of the session to tell you what it's about! Make sure you read the descriptions so you avoid ending up in sessions that aren't of interest to you.

You may be overwhelmed with the choices available to you, and tempted to juggle lots of different ideas. For your first time out, you might be wiser with a single strategy. Perhaps this time, you look for sessions tackling specific issues you are grappling with at work. Or maybe you focus on particular new skills you've wanted to learn.

This might seem obvious, but you should try to avoid sessions that cover a topic you're already an expert at. While it might be comforting to know the subject, you will most likely find yourself bored.

Schedule Down Time

You don't have to attend every session. If you can't find anything that really interests you and you feel indifferent towards what is available, take that time to visit the expo, sit and meet people, or even take a short power nap.

And lots of conferences are held in interesting locations. If you can build in a little time to get out and enjoy the surrounding area, you should!

2. Getting Ready Before You Go (What To Pack And More For Grace Hopper)

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The last thing you want to do is think about where to find toothpaste when you're at Grace Hopper 2018. So focus on what you're taking now so you don't waste any time when you have a full day of sessions and networking ahead of you.

What to Pack

As you decide what to take, keep in mind that you'll be lugging this stuff around with you all day. Try to pack as lightly as you reasonably can. Pro Tip: Make sure to leave extra room in your bag for expo swag and books you may want to bring home.

Lay out everything you want to take on your bed. Take a close look. Are you sure you need that second pair of headphones and a third lightning charger cable (you'll get free ones at Grace Hopper at the career fair - trust me, the swag is amazing)? Do you really need your laptop, or can you manage everything with your tablet and phone?

Business Cards + LinkedIn + PowerToFly

If you don't have business cards from your job, have some made up for the conference. Make sure one side is not glossy and a light color that can be written on. You'll be leaving cards with recruiters at the career fair (although Grace Hopper does have a way of giving your info to recruiters via your badge).

Moo.com offers great designs and a quick turnaround.

You'll also want to make sure you're LinkedIn is totally refreshed. When you meet a contact, connect with them immediately, and with a note reminding them where and when you met! Then follow up by sending them an email if you have their business card.

Pro Tip: most companies representing at the Grace Hopper Conference are on PowerToFly to engage and recruit more women. Make sure you have an updated PowerToFly profile too.

Clothing

When in doubt, business casual is a safe bet. But most importantly, wear clothes that make you feel confident.

A Note About Shoes (Important!)

Maybe you've already thought about it, but you'll be on your feet for hours. Grace Hopper 2018 is in a massive expo center and you'll have to walk from one end to the other multiple times to get to your sessions or any conference-related events outside of the building. Make sure your shoes are comfortable!

Your Packing List

Here's a list of things you should think about bringing:

Must-Bring Items

  • Comfortable bag to carry your conference gear
  • Weather-appropriate clothing - check Google!
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Toiletries
  • Necessary technology (laptop, tablet, phone)
  • Charging cords
  • Any conference paperwork
  • Cash, credit cards
    • Business cards - for recruiters at booths
    • Resumes if you're job hunting - again, for recruiters at booths
    • Breath mints - yup
    • Notebook and pen - your phone could die
    • External cell battery
    • Lip balm - the air is dry in the Grace Hopper expo hall!
    • Travel-size medicines

Should-bring items

  • Business cards
  • Resumes if you're job hunting
  • Breath mints
  • Notebook and pen
  • External cell battery
  • Lip balm
  • Travel-size medicine
  • Band-aids

And even more items to consider

  • Good quality coffee to make in your room
  • Energy bars - onsite food is expensive!!!
  • Water bottle
  • Earplugs
  • Eye mask
  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitizer

3. Devise Networking Strategies 

Practice your networking skills ahead of time by reviewing who you want to talk to.

Pro tip: study the Grace Hopper 2018 schedule and who will be at the career fair. Rehearse what you'll say to start conversations (I like to practice using a mirror!).

Elevator Pitch

Come up with a sentence or two that tells the listener who you are and what you hope to get out of the conference. Your pitch should be to the point, shorter than 30 seconds, and include:

  • Your name
  • What you do
  • Why you are at this particular conference

Having this pitch will make networking so much easier. It's an ice-breaker that gives the listener something to grab onto and discuss with you.

And stand in your circle of power - need a refresher? Watch Amy Cuddy's video above!


shyrandom.png

Pre-Networking + Research

Other Strategies

  • Before you go, practice asking people around you questions that are open-ended rather than ones that allow for a yes/no answer.
  • Monitor and engage with the #GHCI18 Twitter hashtag.
  • Look up other people you know, even slightly, who may be going. While it's not good to cling to the people you already know, it may help break the ice early on at the conference.

4. Getting The Most Out Of The Grace Hopper 2018 Sessions

It seems obvious, but try to sit in the front so that you can clearly see and hear the presentations at Grace Hopper. Being up front will also give you a better chance to be noticed if you want to ask the speaker a question.

Pro Tip: try to make eye contact with speakers. As a speaker at conferences myself, I love it when people are nodding along with me. I remember them!

Make sure you have some way of taking notes, but don't take so many that you forget to listen!

The Hallway Track

Everyone at Grace Hopper 2018 is interested in the same OS, platform, or language you are, so lots of the side conversations around you will be interesting. Even though the scheduled sessions are important, some of the best conversations happen in the hallways between the conference rooms.

In hallways you can talk one-on-one with other people who care about the same things you do, or are working on the same problems.

All you have to do is pull out your elevator pitch you should have prepared and use it. End with a friendly question about their goals in being at Grace Hopper, or what kind of things they're working on.

Networking Tips

Between hallway and random mealtime conversations, parties, social media meetups, and various vendor events, you'll have many chances to connect with fellow conference-goers.


Talk to The Presenters

strikeconvo.png

After most presentations, a small crowd of people will gather around the presenters at Grace Hopper. It can be intimidating to stand around, especially if you are wondering what to say. If you're not sure how to start a conversation, you can say hello and make a quick comment on what you especially enjoyed about the presentation. Grace Hopper presenters are there to meet you too - they didn't travel all the way to Houston to speak into the void!


Tips for Parties At Grace Hopper

There's not much time during Grace Hopper to have full conversations with people. At the very least you'll be able to trade contact information so you can follow up after the conference.

Pro tip: Keep in mind that you don't have to stay and talk with anyone who is wasting your time or making you feel uncomfortable. Your time is too precious. And scroll down to see register for PowerToFly's part with Audible (we'll let you know if you're a match after your register).

Take a break

Grace Hopper can be exhausting! Don't feel that you have to constantly network. Realize when you've had enough and be willing to give yourself a break. Don't feel you have to make new connections. If you've had enough, give yourself permission to leave and enjoy some peace and quiet.

5. What To Do After The Grace Hopper Conference Ends (Pro-Tip: Share What You Learned)

Once you're home again, it's time to take advantage of the new skills, inspiration, and connections you've gotten from the Grace Hopper Conference.

Create a Grace Hopper Conference Report

Use the notes you took during sessions and write up a report about what you learned at the conference, new ideas, and the names of your new contacts and where you met.

Pro Tip: Your boss will especially appreciate if you present it to her or him.

It's a good practice for several reasons. First, if you know ahead of time that you'll be creating this report, you'll take better notes and pay more attention to what's going on around you. Creating this report will also reinforce the what you've learned. And the report can also help you remember your new contacts.

Stay in Touch

No doubt you made lots of great connections! Don't forget to stay in touch. Connected on LinkedIn and social media outlets. Drop them a message about how nice it was to meet and reminding them of the context. You'll stand out from all those other new connections. A little politeness can go a long way.

Share Your Knowledge

Make a point of sharing your new skills with your coworkers. Consider giving a presentation at work. This will be great practice for you to get ready to present at a real conference.

And Finally... Join PowerToFly and Audible At Grace Hopper 2018!

Ok, so if you enjoyed this guide, then come tell me in person! We're having a party for Grace Hopper conference attendees and locals (you don't need a badge to get in) so let us know if you want an invite by registering below! We'll let you know if you're a good match for the event in a follow up email. There are so many things to do at the Grace Hopper Conference, so the last thing we want is to waste your time with another party that's not a good match for your skill set!

REGISTER FOR THE EVENT TODAY!

Ok, Really Finally... Watch This Video Intuit Did Around The Grace Hopper Conference.

It cracked us up - you should tell them you saw it at Grace Hopper! They're also a PowerToFly hiring partner. So follow Intuit!



See you at Grace Hopper 2018!

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Talent

PowerToFly Holiday Gift Guide: Our Must-Have Work-From-Home Items

What To Buy For Your Favorite Remote Worker (Or Yourself!)

My friends were pretty jealous when I told them I'd found a remote job. They pictured me choosing my hours, working from the comfort of my bed, and rocking pajamas 24/7. All great things... in moderation.

Just a little over a month into my role at PowerToFly, I've already experienced many of the pros and cons of working from home. I know I'm not alone in this - the remote workforce is only growing (9 million people in the U.S. alone worked from home at least half of the time in 2017).

The beauty of remote work is that it lets you decide what kind of environment you'll be most productive in… but the downside is that if you don't build that environment for yourself, you might find you've got a lot of back pain (turns out, working from bed isn't so comfortable after all) and not much energy.

So in the spirit of the holidays, I asked my more experienced remote coworkers to share their must-have work-from-home items - the little things that keep them sane and smiling during their daily grind.

Whether you already work from home, are looking to do so in the future, or are shopping for someone who does (cough cough, Mom), this holiday gift guide is for you.


1. Blue light glasses to protect your eyes from long hours looking at the computer (and to keep you looking sharp at the same time).


Get them from Amazon for $21.99

Our Senior Marketing & Community Manager Lauren says: "I've never worn glasses EVER, but when I started working remotely my eyes got so tired. I've seen a huge difference after I started wearing blue light glasses, and no headaches!"


2. A bullet journal to help you stay on top of your goals. So you know you're being productive even when your boss can't literally pat you on the back.

Get it on Amazon for $9.06

Our Customer Success Associate Brinley says: "I use it for everything – hand-drawn calendar, to-do lists, and even personal stuff like budget planning and weekly goals."


3. A laptop tray so you can be productive from wherever you're most comfortable. (You haven't really worked from home until you've worked from your bed.)


Get it from Barnes & Noble for $39.95

Our Recruiting Manager Amy says: "I love my laptop tray!!! you can fit your planner, your laptop and most importantly, your coffee."


4. A productivity planner to help you become more intrinsically motivated. (Ideal for those lacking the artistic talents required for bullet journaling.)

Get it on Intelligent Change for $24.95

Our President and Cofounder Katharine says: "It helps me manage and protect my time so that when I have creative work that requires a lot of focus, I can break it down into short, intense chunks and be more efficient."


5. A stylish stone diffuser that brings your favorite scent to wherever you're working.

Get it from Vitruvi for $119

Our Senior Account Executive Anastasia says: "Right now I'm working in a room that smells like a forest after a light rain." I've definitely never heard anyone say that about their cubicle.


6. A gym/workout class membership to keep you active (and sane) during the week - because exercise makes you happy and being happy makes you more productive! And a little bit of human interaction doesn't hurt, either.

Our Mid-Market Account Executive Deveshe says: "It's important for me to get out, shake a leg and jump around. Otherwise I wouldn't step out through the week."


7. A Peloton stationary bike so you can get in a great workout even when it's too cold to leave the house. (And once you invest this much money, you know damn well you'll actually use it, or lose ten pounds from gnawing guilt alone. Win-win.)

Get it from Peloton for $2,245

Our Operations Manager Gina says: "It allows me to stay fit no matter how busy I am…I can exercise during my lunch hour or in between meetings if need be."


8. A backpack with a dedicated fleece-lined laptop compartment to keep all of your equipment protected and organized, whether you're traveling across the world or walking across the street to your favorite cafe.

Get this one from North Face for $73.99

Our Director of Customer Success Cristina says: "Love it for packing my laptop and tech items as it has tons of pockets Including fleece lined ones for tech."


9. Bluetooth headphones with immersive sound so you'll never miss a word your boss says.

Get these Bose SoundLink On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones with Microphone on Amazon for $159

Our Director of Business Development Amanda says: "I can get up and move around the house while I'm on calls."


10. A battery case for your phone so you can work wherever you want, without running out of juice.

Get it on Amazon for $108.99

Our Production Lead Rob says: "When traveling, I have to have my iPhone charging case."


11. A speaker to listen to your favorite music/podcasts when the sound of silence is just too much.

Get the Sonos Play:1 from Google Express for 149.99

Our Production Lead Rob says: "Working from home can get lonely sometimes so I love to play WNYC or podcasts when I feel like I need some company. I'm also a big vinyl collector and I have a turntable that can play wirelessly to a Sonos so even though my record player is in my living room, I can listen to it in my office."


12. An adjustable laptop stand that your wrists and your wallet (it's definitely cheaper than carpel tunnel surgery in the U.S.) will thank you for. Plus, this one doubles as a standing desk.

Get it on Amazon for $59.99

Our Customer Success Manager Lola says: "I'm using a box right now, but you definitely need something to elevate your computer."


13. A mate gourd and yerba mate, a.k.a the perfect workmates. Get the jolt you need without the jitters and gain your South American friends' approval at the same time.

Get the gourd and bombilla (straw) on Amazon for $23.99 And the Yerba for $13.95 (or make a trip to Argentina and buy it for $2)

Our DevOps Lead Emiliano says: "Very Argentinean, but definitely something that cannot be missing from my desk."


14. A foot massager to reward yourself for a job well done. Who says your home office can't double as a home spa? Work hard, relax hard.

Buy it on Amazon for $59.98

Our Product Designer Jedidah says: "Sitting in one spot can get strenuous on muscles in my leg, but with my foot massager I get to improve blood flow in that area, and enjoy a great foot massage which eases stress."


----

My coworker Anastasia said it best:

I love that working from home you get to take charge of your surroundings - I'm never cold like I am in offices (the male vs. female divide there ha). And I like me some good ambiance which is obviously subjective too so I appreciate being able to control it alllll myself.

So take charge of your surroundings and make 2019 your most productive - and comfortable - year yet!

#treatyourself

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Salary Negotiation Tips For Women: 10 Expert Tactics

Why Asking Matters and How To Do It The Right Way

"How much do you want?" can feel like a trick question when you're negotiating salary.

The first time I was asked this question, I had no idea what to say. I just knew that what I'd been offered wasn't enough. Having relocated from the U.S. to Argentina just a month prior, I was still learning the market and was worried about having my offer rescinded if I asked for too much. Knowledge is power in a negotiation, and in my ignorance of local norms and rates, I found myself feeling powerless and frustrated.

The hiring manager seized on my silence and asked me another question: "What's the minimum you'd accept?" Not knowing how to stall for more time, I blurted out my actual minimum. He flashed a toothy grin and said, "Done." I knew then and there that I'd gone way too low - his smile said it all.

I broke two cardinal rules of negotiation that day:

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Better Companies

A Look at Our Evening with Four Fast-Growing San Francisco Startups

On November 15th, PowerToFly returned to ConnectionsSF in downtown San Francisco for our second event.

For this evening of networking, product demos and panel discussion, we gathered women tech leaders from four fast-growing startups to tell us more about their latest innovations and to dive a bit deeper into their own career journeys. Our speakers for the evening included Dun Wang, VP of Product and Growth at Calm; Lisa Retief, Director of Engineering at Cloudflare; Jessica Venticinque, Engineer at Forward and Laura Dechant, Head of Customer Success & Ops at Philo.

READ MORE Show less

A Look at Our Event with American Express

On November 14, 2018 American Express partnered with PowerToFly to present our third networking event together. After sold-out events in Florida and Arizona, it was amazing to host an evening at American Express' New York office and the night did not disappoint.

As our guests came in from the cold (there would be a huge snowstorm in NYC the next day), they were invited to receive a complimentary headshot photo (a must when looking for new opportunities) before helping themselves to an impressive buffet spread.

PowerToFly's CoFounder & CEO Milena Berry kicked off the night by officially welcoming everyone and introducing Katrina Roberts, SVP of Technology and Unit CIO at American Express. "This is my second family," explained Katrina, a twenty-seven year veteran of the company. "We work together to achieve amazing outcomes and it does feel like a true team. So that's one of the reasons I've stayed. The second is the challenges are endless. I never stop learning. I'm still learning all the time and I'm always given the opportunity to develop."

When Katrina wrapped her moving keynote address, the audience was treated to a pair of product demos highlighting innovative American Express technology. First up, Shek Lee, American Express Engineering Director spoke about the American Express Chat Bot and the role machine learning plays to help the company deliver customized customer experiences. As Shek explained, "the digital concierge learns your preferences over time and then provides personalized recommendations to help you book your travel."

The next product demo began with a hilarious television commercial starring Tina Fey and featuring Amex's "Pay It, Plan It" tool. American Express Vice President Anna Knizhnik broke down this great feature that allows Card Members to pay for small purchases right away, or make a plan to pay for larger purchases over time.. "People love Pay it, people love Plan it," Anna said. "They can manage their balances and manage their large purchases in a very responsible way. That is one example of the powerful backing of American Express."

Milena then brought back Katrina for a panel discussion where they were joined by American Express technology Vice Presidents John Ahn, Urvashi Tyagi and Divyangi Anchan. After Milena asked the panel some questions, we had a few minutes to open the floor to some very perceptive audience questions. Katrina, who serves as the Global Sponsor for American Express' employee network WIT (Women in Technology) shared how diversity and equality is part of Amex's DNA: "It's about creating safety, comfort, sharing common challenges and creating a sense that we can change things, not just from senior leadership down, but across the organization."

Once the panel wrapped up, our attendees still had plenty of time to network with the American Express team and to ask some more follow up questions. As our guests departed into the soon to be snowy air, they walked away with gift bags and memories of a great night.

American Express is hiring! Follow Amex on PowerToFly to learn more about open opportunities.

PowerToFly's CEO Milena Berry welcomed our attendees.

Katrina Roberts, a twenty-seven year veteran of American Express provided the evening's keynote address.

Shek Lee, American Express Engineering Director, lead a product demo about ChatBot

American Express Vice President Anna Knizhnik discussed the "Pay It, Plan It" feature.

Our panel discussion featuring from American Express: Katrina Roberts, Divyangi Anchan, Urvashi Tyagi and John Ahn.

Divyangi Anchan and Urvashi Tyagi

John Ahn and moderator Milena Berry

Katrina Roberts answers an audience member's question.

Our amazing panel.

Attendees had plenty of time to network.

Attendees had the chance to not only meet members of the American Express team but their peers as well.

Career and Interview Tips

“What are Your Salary Expectations?” - The Best Answers

Level Up 90 Founder Anica John Shares Her Tips (And Scripts) For Getting It Right

When I'm interviewing for a job, there are very few questions that trip me up. Hit me with, "Tell me about a time that you failed at work," or, "If you were a fruit what fruit would you be," and I'm dynamite. (I'd be an avocado, in case you were wondering.)

But ask me, "What are your salary expectations?" and my head starts to spin, equal parts anxious and annoyed.

The anxiety:

  • "What if I ask for too little? Or too much? Or seem too 'difficult' if I refuse to answer? What if I say the wrong thing and they reject me before they've even gotten to know me as a candidate?"

The annoyance:

  • "Surely they know what fair compensation in this role would look like. What should my expectations have to do with it? Why can't they just pay me what I'm worth?!"
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