Event 1: March 2008 at IBM

I wanted to share with you all what a great success the inaugural “Connecting Women in Technology”  event was on Thursday 6th March and thank you to all of you who came along.  Our first event was held at IBM’s offices.  

We had over 170 women from 10 different technology companies and had many senior women in attendance (VP of IBM, directors from Ernst& Young, Oracle, CIO from Lloyds TSB etc).

We decided to structure the day with some presentations, a short film and a panel discussion, allowing plenty of time for networking.

I explained how a chat with another women in IT over a glass of wine sparked the idea and started this snowball rolling.  IBM presented on some amazing work that their women’s group had done in Africa, working with Habitat for Humanity and building 2 houses in the comminity – without the aid of a cement mixer.  Dell presented an excellent session on tips for how to structure your working environment and your home life when you return to work after maternity leave.  There was plenty of time to network with other women, share your thoughts and challenges and discover how women in other companies overcome these issues.  The panel discussion had senior representatives from each company who discussed overcoming challenges like the perception of the glass ceiling. 

The slides from the day can be found here:

1345hrs – Introduction and Welcome

1400 – A glass of wine, an IT survey and the germ of an idea

1430 – Women’s networks – a catalyst for change

1500 – Supporting women returners

1530 – Speed networking and coffee

1630 – Panel discussion

1730 – Informal networking with drinks and nibbles

1900 – Event close

Where to Work have published an article on this event.

 

 

Overall, the feedback has been amazing and we have already started planning the next event which will be held at Cisco’s offices on 7th October.  Microsoft will host the 3rd event in March 09.  I really hope that these events continue to be successful and we can discover that no matter where we work, we’re part of an amazing collective of women in IT. 

 

Feedback:

“Just wanted to drop you a quick note after yesterday’s event to thank you for organising such an inspiring afternoon.  I have not been in the presence of so many women since I was at an all girls school (and that was many moons ago!) and I was awed at the power and energy in the room.” – Director Ernst & Young

 

“You must be so proud as it was a great event and a real testament to your tenacity and leadership skills.

I look forward to working with you on the next one” – Director Cisco

 

“It was the first time I have attended an event and was very impressed with the experience.  I could not fault it (except I did not win the champagne!).   The bags were great and mine has mysteriously disappeared and reappeared in my daughter’s bedroom.“ Senior HR – IBM

 

“Thank you for inviting me to yesterdays event. It was a great afternoon (I think the panel discussion was very successful indeed) and what a turn out! It really does tell us something” – Senior Director – Oracle”

 

“I’ve been to a number of these types of events but have never seen such proactive cross company networking in such a constructive way” – Director – Cisco

Blog posts:

http://dellone2one.com/one2one/archive/2008/03/07/International-Women_2700_s-Day.aspx

http://blogs.technet.com/janelewis/archive/2008/03/07/i-was-part-of-something-special.aspx

http://blogs.technet.com/eileen_brown/archive/2008/03/06/i-ve-started-something.aspx

http://blogs.technet.com/eileen_brown/archive/2008/03/07/all-connected-up-at-ibm.aspx