Home Featured Events Get A Glimpse Of This Summer’s Inaugural We RISE Women In Tech Conference

Get A Glimpse Of This Summer’s Inaugural We RISE Women In Tech Conference

by Angela King

Women Who Code Atlanta, one of ten largest WWCode chapters of this global organization, will host its inaugural conference with the aim to grow and showcase women in technology. June 23 and 24, catch panel discussions and keynotes from women and allies doing amazing work from all over the world.

The conference will feature 40-minute talks in four different areas: career development and leadership, emerging tech, web & mobile. Who will you hear from? Hype caught up with just a few of these dynamic technologists, creatives and leaders for a teaser of the action.

Melanie Crissey, Product Marketer, FullStory

Why did you decide to enter a technical field?

When I was an offered a chance to join the tech support team at Pardot, I jumped in with both feet. Some super nice colleagues taught me how to code and I fell in love with it. That’s when I decided that I wanted to continue to pursue a career in technology.

How do you translate technical concepts into non-technical terms for those who aren’t experts?

When translating technology, it’s important to avoid jargon, use simile, and speak to the outcomes. For example, I could tell you that “I deploy global, automated, multi-step Selenium scripts for QA’ing web performance.”

Or we could start a conversation, “Do you ever wonder how fast your website loads for visitors in New York, the UK, or Hong Kong? Imagine that instead of asking a bunch of strangers whether your website is fast, a team of little robots could visit your site every 5 minutes from different places all over the globe, and constantly capture data about how fast your website loads. I write instructions for those little robots, so you can learn how to make your site faster.”

Marcellus Haynes, Founder, Technologists of Color

Why did you decide to enter a technical field?

In some sense I entered the tech field as a child.  I have programmed and tinkered with computers since I was in grade school.  I had both the “Commodore Vic-20” and “Commodore 64” as well as custom-built IBM-based computers all before I went to college to get a Computer Engineering degree.

What do you believe is the most important thing those who are concerned with diversity in tech must do to support each other?

They should connect and stay connected. They should share ideas, opportunities and knowledge.  Most importantly they should continue to achieve and challenge the ideas and constructs that suggest they don’t belong.

Wendy Wise, Technical Director Emerging Technologies, CNN/Turner

What is the biggest challenge right now for women in tech?

I think the biggest challenge facing women trying to get into tech is gender bias. Most of the time I think it is subconscious – I don’t think most people are aware of their bias, they just want to hire people ‘like them’.  I ask recruiters and vendors to make sure there is at least one female and one minority resume in every five they give me.  I’m not giving them preferential treatment or bumping them to the top of my resume stack, I’m simply ensuring they have a chance.  If I don’t see their resumes, I can’t evaluate them and I can’t hire them.

Chelsea Bullock, UX Researcher, The Weather Company

Why did you decide to enter a technical field?

I was a career-changer, and I chose technology because of two things I felt pretty sure were true: 1) the field is growing and would continually offer challenges, opportunities, and career advancement; and 2) the tech industry is home to lots of conversations I wanted to join that influence not only how we build our future, but how we imagine it.

What must women in tech do to support each other?

The biggest challenge for women in technology is retention or staying power. Too many companies mistakenly conflate hours of work per week with the dedication or grit that creates success. Expecting someone’s hours worked per week to increase as her career advances is unsustainable and one of the key reasons women leave tech just as they advance into senior roles. We must continually advocate for a new understanding of “grit” and a more equitable definition of success that is rooted in influence and production instead of hours clocked.

We must amplify each other’s contributions, strengths, and successes. This can be as simple as connecting a woman you know with an opportunity or as strategic as practicing “amplification” in meetings to ensure women’s ideas get heard.

REGISTRATION: Purchase Regular Registration tickets here. Use the code hypepotamus20 for 20% off!

VOLUNTEERS: Interested in being a conference volunteer? Email the team on their meetup page.

STAY SOCIAL: Get updates on Twitter @WeRiseTech and on Instagram @werisetech.

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