She’s Geeky: Reflections on an (un)conference

So, we’re not having what’s been the usual Friday am S he’s Geeky planning call this week.
Reason: The conference happened this past Monday and Tuesday.
Emails and notes are still coming to me, but I definitely want to share some of what I learned and observed.
First off, lessons about the women in tech community based on this conference experience:

  • There is a huge age diversity–Two retired women who were coders/programmers in the late 60’s/early 70’s came to the conference to see what women in tech were like today. There were women still in school, and just out of college, along with the twenty-thirty-forty-and fifty somethings.
  • Race and class and gender identity contribute to the mix–I saw more diversity around race and gender identity than at many conferences.
  • Feminism lives–especially in that third wave of younger women.
  • The impulse/need to connect is powerful–and there is some real pent-up demand to get outside one’s usual circles.
  • There is a spirit of sharing, acceptance, curiosity–but no bullshit, please, we’re time-deprived.
  • There’s definitely momentum to do this conference again–and again–in more locations as well as in the Bay area.

Observations about women at conference in aggregate:

  • Many people want mentoring–help and support from those further along the twisty path
  • Many want leadership and personal development–I think 40+ people came to the session I facilitated on “Owning Your Power” and the room was filled at the session the next day with Liza and Adina on Leadership development.
  • People are becoming self-employed and entrepreneurial at younger ages–and want support and guidance for uncharted paths.
  • Community really does matter.

Finally, I have to say that, as much as I beat myself up 100 times about my viability as a fund-raiser, or consistency as a planner, working with Kaliya and the organizing team was amazing. In many ways, while it took real solid work and time, this was one of the least stressful events I have ever worked on–the levels of communication and concensus were just so high among the team–and Kaliya and Laurie did amazing work in the background.