The month of March offers numerous opportunities to celebrate the progress women are making in the world. This month the U.S. celebrates Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day was March 8th. Despite all of the challenges we’re reading in the media about “Me Too” and diversity in the workplace, there’s also a positive change occurring in the market. Companies across the globe have heightened awareness of the specific challenges women face in the workplace and with breaking into various technology fields. Large technology vendors have created numerous types of diversity and inclusion programs to attract more women into STEM professions. Moreover, these efforts, albeit slowly, are changing the world.
Technology conferences are one area where we see change. Event organizers and technology vendors are creating environments where women can learn from role models on stage, network with peers but also where they can integrate with a wide range of diverse talent. If you’re a woman in tech or inspiring woman in tech, there are three upcoming events where you can take advantage of new networking and development opportunities.
Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference on March 17-19 Want to learn more about the Artificial Intelligence field? Nvidia’s GPU conference offers multiple opportunities for early career women to accelerate their training in deep learning, and for all women to network and learn from each other. The company has a Women in AI program that offers several events specifically tailored to women but also highlights the incredible range of women speaking at GTC. While many companies struggle to find any female speakers, GTC has representatives from industry, academia and their own company. At the event, Nvidia is hosting a Women’s Early Career Accelerator which is a full day of complimentary training for early career women on the fundamentals of computer vision, an opportunity to network with women working in the field, and a free conference pass plus training. The company is also hosting a Women in AI & Deep Learning Breakfast where attendees will learn about the AI ecosystem in the retail and healthcare space. It is the company’s sixth annual Women@GTC event, and I’m personally looking forward to participating in the program. There’s still time to sign up for next week’s GTC event.
Google Next ’19 April 9-11 In April, Google will be hosting the NEXT 19 cloud computing and AI conference. It’s offering a curated diversity and inclusions program with sessions focusing on product inclusion, underrepresentation in technical fields, and inclusive business practices. Industry thought leaders, partners, and customers will provide actionable insights and share personal stories of how they’ve made an impact on inclusivity in their industry. One motivating part of the program is the #IamRemarkable workshops at the event. The workshop goal is to empower women and underrepresented groups to speak openly about their accomplishments in the workplace and beyond. The initiative motivates participants to promote themselves in front of peers and management, thereby breaking gender-related norms and glass ceilings. The Women of Cloud 2.0 session is also sure to be inspiring with a range of role models presenting the latest ideas in cloud computing. Going a step further, Google’s helping parents attend NEXT by offering childcare reimbursement.
Dell Technologies World April 29- May 2 Dell Technologies products span the gamut of IT, so if there are women in tech, they should be at Dell Technologies World. One of the highlights of the program is the Women in Technology luncheon. Last year, I learned about topics such as spotting unconscious biases and how to approach career advancement. Dell also had an impressive group of female employees in significant leadership roles take the stage in 2018. The speakers provided role models in areas such as marketing, channel management, sales CTO and the customer office. I expect this year’s program to offer even more networking opportunities and insights. These are just a few of the events where women can learn more about technology, be inspired and build networks for career advancement. I look forward to seeing you at one of these events.
While the progress has been great, I’d like to leave technology vendors with one word of caution. Diversity programs shouldn’t be a check the box effort. It doesn’t mean providing women (or anyone) a specific role or platform because they fit a demographic category. Diversity means creating a meritocracy with equal pay and equal opportunity for all. Diversity also isn’t limited to gender, race and sexual preference. Diversity and Inclusion programs acknowledge differences in age, religion and political views as well as supporting employees with disabilities. When appropriately executed companies have found that embracing diverse ideas leads to new insight and better business outcomes.