Sunday, October 7, 2012

TechWomen in Baltimore - Grace Hopper!

It has been so much fun to be at Grace Hopper this year with 41 women from the 2012 TechWomen class, four returning members of the 2011 TechWomen class (who did a fantastic panel... see my other blog:  Technical Women in the Arab Region: Challenges vs. Aspirations) and quite a few of the program mentors. Running session to session I saw participants everywhere - engaging at all levels, together, separate, checking out booths, in sessions, sitting at our TechWomen tables. TechWomen is an initiative of the US Department of State which brings highly qualified technical women from the Middle East and North Africa to the San Francisco Bay Area for a mentorship with a local professional technical woman (industry or academia) and this year all the participants came to Grace Hopper, a wonderful opportunity for all involved.

The Emerging Leaders were honored at the Thursday plenary, which is wonderful. Many excellent sessions followed - I particularly enjoyed being with the Emerging Leaders at a session on mobile phone apps in developing nations, and the "Women and Innovation" session where mentor Francine Gordon moderated and 2011 mentor Rahima Mohammed (Intel) was one of the panelists. There was one great moment Thursday night, when two of the Emerging Leaders and I were watching the dance floor from up above. I said "this is what a mosh pit of technical women might look like?" and we just all kept saying "technical women mosh pit!" and laughing - because it was so inspiring and fierce and fun. But even better was watching the Emerging Leaders participate in the community of technical women - each with her own unique voice.

Saturday morning the delegation from TechWomen moved on to Washington DC for another phase of our program... and as the bus pulled out, I felt sad, because, I've come to love Hopper so much...  here's to next year. 

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