Today, I had the opportunity to attend Hillsborough County’s Women in Tech Event at the Seminole Heights Library. Overall, it was an interesting afternoon and very well organized! Kudos to the whole team of planners and speakers! You can read about all the presenters and sessions through the link above. What I want to do here is share some observations about this event and events like it. FYI – these are GENERAL comments on women’s events, not this one, in particular. I thought today was really excellent!
- Women in Tech Events need more men. I like men. I like them to see more than one woman in tech at a time. It’s good to see a big group of them and the variety of people present. Whatever the one woman is like at their company, there are 50 more out there who are different. There were a few men at the event today, so not invisible.
- I love Pecha Kucha presentations. Reminder: Make the last slide your social media contacts in a font big enough and clear enough so the audience can take a picture or read it quickly to write it down. Wrap up on the penultimate slide and say thank you on your final social media slide. Don’t add on a minute of random comments after your last slide. That’s not PK-style. The best part of PK is that it keeps speakers on topic and tight. Hallelujah!
- Women, the next time you say you hate math in front of your kids, or act like operating a television remote control is too difficult for you to figure out, think about the example you’re setting for your kids, girls AND boys. Stop being a victim. Take a class and learn to do something new. Become an expert at something and talk that up rather than talking yourself down. Of course, if you are reading this article, I’m probably not talking about you. You get it.
- Take a page from general-audience tech events regarding families and children. Don’t turn a women’s event into a moms’ event. Plenty of women aren’t moms or wives. Just because an event is for women, don’t add a kids’ activity. Do events with mostly men do that? Good God no. Can you imagine?
- After Party. I love the purely social aspect of the After Party. After you do something serious and are busting your butt networking and listening to heavy discussions, having a cocktail hour afterwards is a great idea. Don’t assume with a women’s event that everyone has to run home, pick up kids, and cook dinner. Of course there will be people who can’t make it, but if someone has already carved out the day/afternoon to attend the event, they will want to maximize that effort and the benefits of such a networking opportunity by continuing it on into an After Party situation. Plus, we all like to party.
- What is the followup to the event? Is everyone expecting an invitation to a monthly gathering or is it an annual thing? Have opportunities in place for people to reconnect after the event.
- Ladies, (and men, too!) please put your picture on your business card. It doesn’t have to be a Glamour Shot(!) or even a studio picture, but if you want me to remember you after the event, put your face on your card. I received just one card today with a picture. Everyone else’s cards are just in a big pile of I’m-not-sure-I-know-who-this-is. It’s way worse when you get a pile of government and tech company cards. Civil servants have seals on their cards and tech workers have cerulean swooshes with made up names on them. Do something to stand out and be remembered. Put your face on it.
- Finally, go to Women in Tech events. If you are a woman or a man, go. Be present. Support each other.