Friday, October 5, 2012

Third day at the Grace Hopper Conference

Winding down the Grace Hopper Conference

It's the 3rd day at Grace Hopper in Baltimore and I have had more time to immerse myself in the conference.Unfortunately I missed yesterday's keynote by Nora Denzel's but I was told by several people that it is a must see. Luckily, if you too missed it, it is available online

I'm finding more sessions that apply to a mid or upper-level tech woman.  I still walked into a couple of sessions to find that they were slanted toward students. How can we fix that?  There are woman who are mid-to-upper career who want support and have questions. The hallway track was the best today.  I met some great women who are more like me and not just starting out in their careers. It was wonderful to connect with other women.  I had a great time people watching. I was amazed at the number of extroverts. I don't know if it was because it was a mostly-women event (there were a few men, but not many) or because we were told to meet each other...

Things I would have liked to do better:
  • Find other women in system administration. I saw the table topics but I didn't figure out how they worked until today. It didn't seem like 3600 women were doing the table-topic thing so could I really reach the attendees by hand-writing "sysadmin meetup" on the backside of the table topics board?  Someone suggested emailing Systers but of the 3600, only 300 Systers were in attendance. Plus, after seeing the Systers statistics from the survey tonight, sysadmin is not one of the primary careers represented on Systers.
  • Let me add that I'm hiring. I don't have a corporate booth with bling to hand out, but I do have a legitimate tech job. I was hoping there would be a jobs board or some way for an attendee to advertise a job without committing to a booth. I didn't see a way so I left with my lonely job opening.  I can post it to the Systers list, but again only 300 of the 3600 attendees are on Systers.
  • Talk to even more people. There were a few times I missed getting into a session so I sat in the hallway and did work. Work would be happy to know that I did that, but I missed out on some opportunities to talk to more attendees.
Dinner was super!  After the Systers meetup, our table decided to hike to dinner together. We started talking about how much of the conference was aimed at students. All of us were beyond that stage and most of us were well into our careers.  Our group conspired to organize a track for mid-to-upper-level technical women for next year.  We'll see if it comes to fruition. We all ponied up our contact info so... it may actually happen. Thanks to Laura, Anne Marie, Terri, Lugene, Nicole for a lovely dinner and Miche for speed-walking to dinner with me. Sorry you couldn't eat with us but we understand you had to get to the 25th anniversary celebration ON TIME!

And Lugene did lead everyone out to the dancing with bling! I knew it!

There is still one more day. If you're a coder, then Saturday is for you. It's Open Source day. As I'm more a user of Open Source and not really a coder, today was my last day. It was sad to see it end but boy am I wiped out!

Would I go again?  Yeah, probably, but I'd look more closely at the sessions and map out what I would want to attend before I booked the flight.

Next year is supposedly in Minneapolis so it is an event that makes itself attainable to women all over the US.

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