This year I'm working with some wonderful people on the Grace Hopper Communities Committee, and it's got me thinking about why I enjoyed GHC so much in the past and what my favorite memory might be. GHC is such a multifaceted experience; you are challenged technically as you attend a myriad of fascinating talks and sessions, you are inspired as you listen to female pioneers and Computing giants like Fran Allen and Barbara Liskov, and you are supported as you network with top go-getters at all career stages, from academia to industry and nearly any field of Computing you can think of. It's a whirlwind of lunches, panels, and great conversations! As you can imagine, anyone who attends would have a hard time finding the one memory that epitomizes their time at GHC. Nevertheless, I'm going to try.
In 2007 I attended GHC with a few girls I knew from school and through the GHC Facebook group. We didn't know each other very well at the time, but attending the conference created a bond between us and we have since maintained our friendship, even though we are now scattered across the world. We talk to each other frequently about our careers, issues facing women in technology, and life in general, and support each other through all our ups and downs. In 2008 we took it a step further by getting even more girls to come from our school and a few more from around the world. It was thrilling to be able to introduce the new girls to GHC and watch them experience it for the first time, as we had previously - the icing on the cake! So given all this, what's my favorite memory of GHC? Dancing with all of them - and 1500 other women in technology - at the final celebration (I don't think I'd been in the same room with more than 15 technical women prior to that, let alone 1500!), and being one of this gigantic group yelling at the top of our lungs: "I am a technical woman"!
If you've been to GHC before, what's your favorite memory of GHC? If you haven't been, what are you most looking forward to? Feel free to share in the comments below and on our Facebook group, where I've cross-posted this!
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6 months ago