How My Time at PowerToFly Turned Me onto Tech
It's my last day as an intern at PowerToFly, and as I sit at my desk on the 41st floor of Hearst Towers in Midtown Manhattan, with an employee badge and coffee in hand, I can't help but pretend I'm an adult. But in reality, I'm just a 16-year-old girl who seems to be the only person whose ears pop in the express elevator –– or at least the only person who actively pops them by pinching my nose––and the only person who stands at the dessert table in the cafeteria for five straight minutes, overjoyed by the various forms of sugar to choose from. It's at these moments when I remember I'm just a kid.
My experience at PowerToFly has been eye-opening. The team is passionate, the work is engaging and the events have allowed me to meet female CEOs and COOS of huge companies like Dow Jones. The coolest part about working for PowerToFly is that every single thing you do –– even the simplest email –– is part of a bigger movement to bring equity for women to the workplace. Best of all, I have been able to witness that change first-hand as more diverse candidates enter the workforce creating a more productive and inclusive work environment. The PowerToFly team, made of mostly women, works crazy hard, and it has been so rewarding to learn from them and work alongside them.
Ever since I could speak, I've been bombarded with the question: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I found the question pointless because my three-year-old self had no idea and frankly no interest in deciding. 'I mean really, Aunt Linda. I just want to play Legos, chill.' I changed my answer all the time: a vet, a designer, a novelist, a doctor, a baker, an actor, a birdwatcher… yeah, definitely not pursuing the last one. But I never once thought about pursuing a career in the technology industry. I don't know why –– maybe I was scared, maybe I didn't think I was qualified, maybe it didn't sound fun.
Recently, I've become interested in journalism. I am an editor for my school paper, and I love the community I've gained, the assertiveness it has instilled in me, and the satisfaction of writing something I feel passionate about that will touch the whole school (well, okay, the ten people that actually read the school paper). For years, my mother has pushed me to learn to code. She argued that it was as important as learning to write. I dismissed her advice as tiger-momming. After all, I go to a progressive high school where the emphasis is on ideas, not pre-professional skills. But during the last few weeks at PowerToFly, I've confronted the truth that my mom was right after all (this happens a lot).
This realization occurred at the Time Inc. headquarters when I witnessed interviews by Katharine Zaleski, cofounder and president of PowerToFly, with female software engineers at Time Inc. for a video promoting their job opportunities. I sat there, blown away. These women are badasses. One of them made an electric guitar for her nephew. Nothing can stop them from creating, building and innovating. I want to be like them.
Now, I don't know if I am going to be a software engineer when I grow up. I don't even know if I'll end up in journalism. But I do know that the tech industry is a field everyone––regardless of gender––should consider. And, if I do become a journalist, it will be crucial to know how to code to be able to work with the tech team who develops the apps and websites to make words come to life. Technology is taking over everything we do, everywhere we go. Even if I don't end up taking the tech road, I should at least be exposed to it, and realize I have the right and potential to enter the field.
But, for now I'm still just a kid. And thanks to PowerToFly, a kid with broader horizons and a better understanding of what it takes to get ahead. Maybe I'll finally be an adult when my ears stop popping in the elevator. I'll let you know when that happens.
Growing Your Career in Technical Support: 4 Tips for Getting Hired at Elastic from Support Director Heidi Sager
Heidi Sager loves math, but she also loves working with people.
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.
Working at Relativity—the global tech company that equips legal and compliance professionals with a powerful data-organizing and discovery platform—looked different in 2020. The highly collaborative environment of their Chicago headquarters transitioned to a virtual setting, and just like companies around the country, Relativity adapted their goals and major projects to a completely remote environment.
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>
A Conversation with Vouch's Lead Designer Carrie Phillips