Does the world really need another tech conference? One dedicated to getting women up to tech speed? I was a TechUpforWomen skeptic.
“Why should tech issues for women be any different than those for men,” I thought.
Then I attended the day-long TechUpforWomen, a show that according to its founder, Dawn Pratt, was created “to take the fear factor out of technology and empower women in every career to surf the technology wave.” I didn’t come out shouting rah-rah for women, but I did come out a lot smarter about technologies that hold the most potential and how women can be uniquely qualified.
Is it the ambiance?
It’s important to note the conference ambiance. As Abigail Posner of Google said to me, “this was not your typical “women who lunch bunch.” Held in the bowels of the Jacob Javits Center, there was nothing fancy, or particularly girly about the conference. No gaudy banners. No special effects. Just some Javits standard turkey sandwiches and chips for lunch. But, women sat with rapt attention for the 8-hour lightning round of talks and information.
The normal rule of the conference-going thumb is that the most beneficial part takes place in the hallways or bathrooms. Not here. In quick bursts of knowledge-transfer, women shared their expertise (ranging from laying undersea cables to trends in AI and 5G) This was sprinkled with coping strategies for workplace journeys and driving inclusivity.