Would you be surprised if I said I wished we could do a She’s Geeky Bay area either twice a year, or once a quarter? Or that the diversity and the quality of the people at this conference was outstanding, better than so many conferences I attend? Or that the unconference session format–and this capable audience/participant pool–led to many excellent sessions?
This edition of She’s Geeky–ably put on by Kaliya Hamlin, with some assistance from Debra Roby, Laurie Glenn, Mary Hodder, Mary Trigiani. myself and a score of other women–had more than 160 participants, and over 50 sessions. Debra Bowen, California Secretary of State–who says she reads Slash/Dot was among the Saturday attendees; Elisa Camahort of BlogHer, and Christine Herron of First Round Capital were among the Friday crowd.
One thing that struck me about this conference was the diversity of the the women it attracted, The range in ages–from high school to mid-70s was matched by the range in race, sexuality and gender orientation, as well as professions and careers. Women of color, Asian women, queer women, transwomen, women with kids, women without kids–the diversity was impressive–and all too rare
Second impressive thing was a very genuine feeling of community, This was a conference of laughter, discussion and engagement–without out some of the girly frills BlogHer has taken on in the past few years–and whith over 100 people you’d like to have over–regularly–for dinner. Women need opportunities to connectin a genuine way, and SG truly provided that this time around.
Third thing to note: the range of topics discussed. There were over 50 sessions on topics ranging from organic gardening and bee-keeping to Drupal and WordPress to privacy, identity, mentoring, and investment. The sessions I went to–and the ones I led, were pretty well packed, but I saw lively and engaged discussions of three to four people happening as well.
But here’s the basic thing, people–these sessions totally ROCKED! The energy, the ideas, the community–I walked away feeling affirmed and nourished, knowing that I had deepened and affirmed ties with my friends who went–and building new ties and community with people whom I had not met before this conference.
And it was fun!!