I recently attended a conference and came away inspired. The technical information was helpful, the contacts I made were valuable, and I came home feeling full and thankful for the experience. I was full of knowledge, full of ideas, and full of an overall positive experience from thinking and talking about technology non-stop for 4 days.
The bonus was sitting in the front row of an audience of over 40,000 people and watching talented, technical, business focused women speaking about the future of our industry and using examples of achievements that have already been accomplished.
All of those words are inspiring to a girl geek like me – the technology industry, the future, and real life achievements (not just what could be done, but what has been done). It’s a fantastic and exciting time to be in tech. But the word in the sentence that brings chills to me even as I write about it weeks after I am back home is the word women.
When I started in tech many, many years ago, there were no women in management in the technology team at my company. There was no role model, no sense of my spot at the table to aspire to, and no clear view of whether I would be supported at that time to move into an executive role in technology.
So I sat in that front row – even having that terrific seat was an achievement based on being in a position in technology of making decisions – and listened to women telling stories of accomplishments. Not stories about being a woman in tech, just a leader leading tech innovation. And they did it with strength, and knowledge, and personality. They did it sounding powerful and looking female.
I share two photos. I know they aren’t great quality, my phone camera competing with magnificent stage lighting, but they capture the essence of the moment. Two women owning the stage and inspiring women like me that we are making great progress in this tech field from that moment I started with no women role models above me.
I share to inspire you with their greatness, and challenge all you girl geeks to look up to them as role models. I equally challenge you to look around you once today to find a girl geek you can inspire too. There are young women every day entering the field. Let’s take care of them.
Ginni Rometty, Chair, President, and CEO of IBM
Alice Keung, SVP & Chief Transformation Officer at Economical Insurance