Friday, October 9, 2015

Your Event Guide to Grace Hopper 2015

I know, less than a week, AAAHH! I'm so excited too, and the more I see your reactions, even more excited I get! Another thing that increases inversely proportional to the time till #GHC15 is, the number of events!

The GHC schedule is amazing, technically and socially mesmerizing, but it seems more awesomeness is on the way like previous years. Some companies, universities and special interest groups organize their own events and parties! So... I will try to be your party guide, girls!

Note: The events listed here are all unofficial ones, please check the conference schedule for the official events.

Let's start with a brief summary of last year. We have been to so many events that I apologize from the start that I'll only mention my top three unofficial parties. To start with, third place goes to Amazon (and Kiva), with their refreshing Amazonian cocktail:) Second place (unfortunately) goes to Pandora, unfortunately because that was one of the best conference parties I've been to. They closed a roof-top bar, turned it into an open-air disco, with awesome Pandora music. They also had delicious food and so useful swags that I still use (like little Pandora power stations!). Oh, and they also invented their special pinkish cocktail  (Pandora mist? I don't remember its name), And the first place, goes to: Pinterest. The most creative party I've ever seen! We've done our first dream-catchers, near "a mountain of cheese", with unlimited alcohol. There was also a photo-booth, swag, more food, and everything you can and cannot think to turn a regular place into an incredible party!

Ok, enough with the last year, let's start this years list! Click on the company names to access the event details.

    1. Pixar:  Curious about Pixar or how woman in tech side of Pixar is producing your favorite animations? Well, join us then:) (Yes, I highly recommend this one. And no, I'm not biased..:p) 
    2. Pinterest: I bet it will again be an awesome party, I highly recommend having a look at "A Night with Pinterest" :)
    3. Women TechMakers: It seems like something fantastic is coming up. Stay tuned! 
    4. Facebook: Instead of one big event, Facebook divided the teams into Research, DevOps, and others; and meeting in breakfasts, brunches, and lunches.
    5. Uber: LadyEng in Uber await you for games, food and networking! 
    6. Twitter: WomEng team of Twitter invites you to a panel followed by a Twitter party (following the special cocktail tradition that I mentioned before). 
    7. Github: A creative event comes from Github! Meet at Patchwork Houston for a workshop to learn and dig into Git! 
    8. Pandora: Not sure if it will be as heart-warming as last year, but give it a try.
    9. Instacart: Come, socialize and party with Instacart!  
    10. LinkedIn: WomenConnect at LinkedIn invites you to another networking event. 
    11. Square: This time you're invited to a breakfast! You'll be having coffee, breakfast, swag and fun time with Sarah Friar (CTO). 
    12. CMU: Carnegie Mellon University calls you for desserts!
    13. Axon & TASER: Interestingly, scholars, food and party time! 
    14. Cisco: Cisco also has a networking dinner. 
    15. Pros: Another networking reception by BLAZE at Pros.  
    16. Women in Technology: Houston: Another panel accompanied with food and surprises, that aim to strengthen our connection. 
    17. Salesforce: GirlyGeeks is organizing a wine event at a roof top, sounds like an awesome atmosphere to socialize:) 
    18. Mastercard: Another reception to enjoy, this time by Mastercard. 
    19. Career Incubator: A night of Martinis&Mentors, sounds interesting! 
    20. iOS: Are you an ios developer? Then join the crowd and make apps come true!

    As a last note, I would suggest to register for the events from the links. But don't worry if it's closed, or full, or invite-only. You never know who you'll meet with or where you'll be going to, in #ghc15 :) If there is an event or a party of your dream place, go to their booths to ask about it, or just learn the address and go! Remember that all those efforts are for you, just for you:) I'll keep updating the list as soon as I hear about more events. If you know of an event, leave it in the comments with the link, so that I'll add it to the list.

    Hope to dance with you all girls! I'll end this very informal post with a photo from last year's official party, thanks to Google:) Have fun!

    Ilke Demir

    Post syndicated from Over The Heels and Far Far Away.

    Introducing Black Women in Computing

    A special thing happens when bright minds come together. Things work. New relationships are forged. Deals are made. The needle moves. This is the power of community—the power of Systers’ Affinities Communities.

    Here at the Black Women in Computing virtual offices, we’re laying the building blocks for what we hope will be the best GHC experience to date! Every day leading up to the 2015 GHC, we’ve been sparking our own imaginations about what is possible this year. From our original founder to our committee members to our newest members, all ideas have been on deck. And it has been that way since the beginning.

    BWiC was born at the GHC 2010 Women of Color luncheon entitled, “Building Our Community: Moving Vision into Reality.” With the help of the Anita Borg Institute, the group grew some legs in 2011. We held our official kick-off event for our BWiC online community at the 2011 GHC Birds of a Feather session entitled, “Black Women in Computing: Increasing Numbers Through Networking.”

    Since then, we’ve been working towards impacting change by “supporting each other, leveraging our knowledge in the industry and passing it on to others.” Our core goals to increase:
    • BWiC Presence
    • Recruitment and Retention
    • Online Resources
    • Support System (National & Local)
    • Outreach into black and under-served communities, including Hispanic and Native American communities.
    If you haven’t linked up with Black Women in Computing yet, here are a few events where you can get a good feel for the community. You must be a registered conference attendee to attend events on Oct. 14-16, 2015.
    • Saturday, October 10, 2015:
      • HBCU Tech Inclusion Workshop | 8 a.m.– 6 p.m. | Texas Southern University Science Center @ Eagle and Ennis Streets | Sponsored by Facebook, CMD-IT, Microsoft 
        • Find out more at:
    • Wednesday, October 14, 2015:
      • BWiC Reception | 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. | Sponsored by Google
      • BWiC Community Booths | 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. | @ Community Fair
    • Thursday, October 15, 2015:
      • UWiC Panel: U-turns, Detours and Roadblocks | 10:30 – 11:30 p.m.
      • Women of Color Lunch | 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. | Sponsored by Facebook
      • UWiC Speed Mentoring Sessions | Session 1| 2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. | Session 2 | 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
      • BWiC Community Booths | 10:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. | @ Community Fair
    • Friday, October 16, 2015:
      • Black Women in Technical Roles Lunch | Keynote: Debora Plunkett, National Security Agency and Speaker: Jennifer Jackson, CapitalOne | 1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
      • UWiC Panel: Bringing Your Whole Self to Work as Underrepresented Women in Computing | 10:30 – 11:30 p.m.
    • Saturday, October 17, 2015:
      • BWiC Gaming Workshop | 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Prairie View A&M University Northwest Campus, 9440 Grant Rd. | Sponsored by Intel
    Year-round, you can join our online community on Twitter @BWiComputing and follow our Wordpress at For more information on getting involved, email Danielle Cummings (DanielleNCummings at

    See you there!

    Wednesday, October 7, 2015

    Introducing the Vietnamese Women in Computing

    One of our most recent additions to the Systers' Affinity Communities, Vietnamese Women in Computing will make their first appearance as an affinity group at this year's Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing next week!

    Started by Sophia Ngo and Anh Tu Quach, when Sophia was inspired by the work of other infinity groups at GHC14.  Sophia had heard about Anh, and kept trying to meet her in person, but alas, as is typical of any GHC - their schedules were so booked they couldn't find a moment to meet.  Not letting that hold them back, they worked together virtually over the last year to bring VietWiC into existence!

    Sophia had long ago wanted to be an engineer, but fell off of the technical path and instead got a degree in psychology, with a minor in information systems. After seeing the inspirational Duy-Loan Le at the GHC10 keynote - Sophia knew her path was set! Now she is currently enrolled in a master's program at San Jose State, and is moving full steam ahead in a technical career.

    Anh, who works at Lawrence Livermore National Lab, earned her B.S.C.S from the University of the Pacific, then several years later her M.B.A. from CSU Stanislaus while working fulltime and raising two children under the age of six. In 2012, Anh embraced the challenge of becoming a manager while pregnant with her third child. She has learned much for these challenges and is ready to share her experiences with others - and excited to learn more herself!

    Did you know why Duy-Loan Le is such an inspiration? Duy-Loan is a Houston native and the only female Texas Instrument Senior Fellow? She was a GHC10 keynote ( Duy-Loan was ABI's Women of Vision 2007 Leadership award recipient and part of the Notable Women in Computing Card Deck. Duy-Loan has rock star status among Vietnamese women, especially if they've had a chance to meet her in person.

    Sophia and Anh want to share their inspiration with others, particularly young girls still living in Vietnam.

    You can connect with them on Twitter, @VietWiC, and in their new Facebook Group.

    If you'll be at GHC15, you can also connect with them:
    • Wednesday October 14:
    • Thursday October 15: 
      • 1:00-2:30PM Lunch Time Table Topic
      •  2:30-3:30PM Maternity Leave Survival Guide (Anh is facilitator) #GHCmoms
    • Friday October 16:
      •  2:00-2:30PM Anh will be at NIST/LLNL booth #126
      • 5:30-6:30PM ABI Communities Meet Up
    Hope you all have a chance to connect at the conference! Be sure to follow @VietWic on twitter for any last minute changes or meetups!

    Monday, October 5, 2015

    GHC15: My first time at Grace Hopper!

    Hello!!! My name is Chinaemere Ike. I am a sophomore Computer Science major at Texas A&M University! I am SUPER PUMPED to attend the Grace Hopper Conference once again this fall. Last year, I went as one of few freshman from my school which, I must say, was overwhelming yet exciting interchangeably.

    I remember landing in Phoenix, nervous as ever, waiting for our shuttle to take us to our hotel. The only thought running through my mind was "Am I good enough to be here?" At the time, I was brand new to the field of Computer Science and was worried that my peers and recruiters wouldn't give me the time of day; Boy was I WRONG! Our shuttle came, we checked into the hotel, freshened up and then made our way to the convention center. When we arrived, it was such an amazing feeling to see thousands of other women in tech mingling amongst each other.

    Grace Hopper is an amazing way to meet amazing women in the tech industry. I will forever thank and appreciate my university for allowing me to attend GHC. If it's your first time, no worries! There's nothing to be nervous about because everyone at the conference is there to support one another. I will suggest a few things though:

    1. Don't pack too much but if you do, bring a bigger luggage because you will end up taking home more than you came with. (SO MUCH FREEE SWAAAAG; I promise you I looked crazy on the plane heading home to some folks because of all my SWAG.)

    2. Make sure you have your resumes ready and if not, I'm sure the hotel you're staying in or the convention center will have some sort of printing station nearby (business cards are cool, too).

    3. Network, make friends! There's no such thing as being "awkward" at GHC. I can't tell you how many friends/connections I made at GHC just by simply saying "Hi" to the person next to me.

    4. Attend as many sessions as you can. It's fun to learn about new things and topics in the tech field. It's also a cool way to meet new people :)

    5. Last but not least, HAVE FUN!!! Grace Hopper Conference is at the top of my "Favorite Events" list because it is just THAT AWESOME! Make sure you attend the Friday Night Celebration if you can! It was so much fun being a hall, filled with women, jamming out to Beyonce and Taylor Swift. Definitely one of my most memorable memories! Can't wait to rock out this year as well!

    Remember to enjoy yourself and make the most of your time in Houston! I know I did last year in Phoenix and I'm excited for another adventure this year! :)

    PS: Don't be afraid to say hi to me if you see me! I'm nice and I love making new friends :D

    Friday, October 2, 2015

    Introducing Turkish Women in Computing

    Probably most of you have already heard about Systers, our community, and some related activities. But have you met our other communities for women in computing, such as NaWiC, LatinasIC, or TWiC? Let's meet with Turkish Women in Computing today!

    Turkish Women in Computing is a volunteer based community, which constructs a bridge between Turkish women in the field and Systers everywhere, working within Anita Borg Institute of Women and Technology. It is a community that aims to unite women with STEM degrees from Turkey, to share their experiences, by supporting each other to overcome the differences. The community acts as a mentor to educate newcomers about the cultural differences, with an honest and straightforward voice that only another trusted member from the same culture can have. Another motivation for TWiCs is to publicize the presence of Turkish women in computing, because they are everywhere in every continent! Even when our number as women in computing was not bright in US, there were Turkish women in computing who were shining upon their fields, whether it be academia or industry. Their presence in GHC also proves that the community is already achieving their goals to hold us altogether.

    Turkish Women in Computing was founded during a Grace Hopper Conference in 2011. Three women with PhD degrees from Turkey realized that there were many TWiCs scattered all around the world with similar goals, aspirations and perceptions about women in computing. They observed that STEM degrees are considered well-desired where they came from, in Turkey; but where were the other women in US? Why didn't women in US feel the same way about computing the way they did? Why there was a negative publicity about women in technology here? Why didn't girls choose their paths toward computing? What was inherent in their culture that changes their perspective about computer science? Keeping these questions in mind, the group was founded to network Turkish women with computer science background to guide them about networking, career path, office culture and also to increase the visibility of their accomplishments. Today, their Facebook group in connection with ABI is ever growing!

    With such growing audience, their curiosity  led them to conduct research on why women in Turkey are increasingly attracted to this field in contrast to US, and they presented preliminary results in the Global Voices conference. They are also actively preparing articles about the careers of prominent Turkish women in computing who are well known all over the world. You can access their findings and articles from here.

    Now curious about how to be a part of the community? Well, you have many options. I personally recommend getting on the e-mail list, since all Systers start with one:) You can also join the community using their facebook group, their LinkedIn group, or from twitter. For more information, you can visit their website.

    Finally, you can join them at GHC! There will be a TWiC table in the community pavilion and you can meet our Turkish Systers face to face! Hope to see everyone there, reminding that we're one day closer to GHC15:)

    Ilke Demir

    Post syndicated from Over The Heels and Far Far Away.

    Thursday, October 1, 2015

    GHC15: Speakers - Making the Most For Your Audience

    GHC15 is right around the corner!  If you're speaking, I bet you're like me and rushing to put together your final slides.  You've seen the speaker guidelines and template, but the finishing touches are in your grasp.

    Here are my top ten tips for speakers for doing an excellent talk at GHC15:

    1. Are you doing a panel? As an audience member, I appreciate if you have at least one slide which is critical: one with names, pictures and affiliations of the panelists. It makes it so much easier to keep track of who's who 10 minutes into the panel.  A slide or two to introduce the topic is always appreciated as well. Pro-tip: Sit in the order you're listed on the slide!
    2. Practice your presentation. For many of you, this may be your first presentation at a large conference, and it's tempting to want to squeeze in as many slides as possible - then you'll run out of time or end up speaking so quickly, nobody will understand you.  Plan about 2-4 minutes per slide, practice your timing and cut out extra slides. You can always add them as "backup" material.  As a bonus, when you practice, you'll be less nervous.
    3. Hash tags! Folks in the audience will be sharing their thoughts about your talk while it's happening - help them to connect by including hash tags in the footer of each slide. We've come up with a list, but feel free to include your own.
    4. USE A LARGE FONTThe rooms in the convention center will likely be large. If you  have more than 2-3 bullet points per slide - it's getting too crowded. Whatever you do, don't shrink the font to squeeze more in - people simply won't be able to read it. There are quite a few folks who don't have great far sight - many of us are bookworms, etc, and are quite nearsighted - so, do us a favor and use 36 point font. :-)
    5. Upload your slides to the GHC15 wiki. There's a wiki? You bet! And if you're speaking, you have a slot on the wiki.  Upload your slides there, and folks can more easily follow along - but still use large fonts. :-) Wiki:
    6. Include contact info. This may be in the form of links to your blog or research site, or your twitter handle. You'd be surprised at how many women will want to connect with you after your talk.
    7. Be mindful of people with hearing or sight issues. You'll notice stenographers and others doing sign language.  Again, speak slowly and clearly. Don't rely on too much multi-media that may not be easily accessible. And I'll mention the sight issues - some of the attendees may be blind, or have difficulty seeing. Use large fonts and make sure you upload your slide so they can be referenced later.
    8. Remember, not everyone in your audience is a native English speaker - try to avoid too many colloquialisms and speak clearly and slowly. [Note: I mention this often, as I'm a speed talker!]
    9. Keep it exciting. You're clearly excited about your topic, so be sure to share your enthusiasm. Maybe add a fun picture, or start out with an interesting story on your research. 
    10. Most importantly - have fun!  This is your conference, too!
    Anything else I've forgotten? What else would you suggest?

    Valerie Fenwick, Communities Co-Chair

    GHC Bloggers Latest Updates