The Women In Technology World Series Online Festival is a global festival celebrating the power and resilience shared amongst female tech professionals.
This year we made sure that any of our female colleagues who were keen to attend were given the opportunity to do so. So between the 16th-20th November our colleagues Emily Smakowski, Charlotte Baillie, Irina Ashdown, Erin Shaw, Swapnaja Gholap, and Alexandra Luca all took part in a number of sessions and listened to the inspiring speakers that took the stage.
We asked some of the team if they would be happy to share their favourite anecdotes, their notes on the sessions, and the thoughts that stuck with them after the event so that we could publish them for others to see. Below you’ll find a collection of their highlights from the week.
ERIN SHAW, DIRECTOR – PEOPLE & CULTURE
“I attended many sessions, but one of my favourites was Igniting Inclusion through Intersectionality (Alix Fitzgerald, Senior Product Manager and Mindy Khakra, Technology Manager, Expedia Group). This session on igniting intersectionality (a framework for understanding how aspects of a person’s social identities such as gender, race, sexuality, class, etc combine to create different types of discrimination or disadvantage) was really thought-provoking, and the speakers were really honest about their own experiences of intersectionality.
One point they made that struck me was to recognise that in our personal lives we choose who we surround ourselves with, we choose the people that make us feel safe. In a company and business setting we don’t always get to choose who we surround ourselves with, yet we spend a considerable amount of our time in the work environment – so it’s important to make it a safe space. I am fortunate that both my female and male colleagues at Enigen are really excellent at creating that feeling in the workplace.
My key takeaways were the importance of having these types of conversations at work and the session inspired me to educate myself more as an act of solidarity.”
SWAPNAJA GHOLAP, CX CONSULTANT
“I attended several sessions, but as a Consultant I was naturally drawn to the tech-oriented presentations. I thought all of the presentations I watched were brilliant, they are superstars in their organisation. I might not know a lot about AI or blockchain just yet, but I think it was good to know/hear from the experience of other women.
Conferences like these are a great way to get out of my bubble and immerse myself in the outside world – technology trends, engineering, leadership, and cultural drivers. It really left me feeling inspired to try new things and explore more.”
CHARLOTTE BAILLIE, DIRECTOR – MARKETING & ALLIANCES
“My favourite session was probably one of the Friday Focus workshops; Masterclass: Confident speaking in a virtual environment. The presenter was really engaging and particularly now, when everything is remote, it was very timely.
What I took away from it is how little time and opportunity we have to really engage our audiences via Zoom, Teams etc.
The thing that stuck with me most was that I feel newly confident in making a proposal or request in 30-seconds. It was great to be able to get “hands-on” and it really worked. I definitely feel more confident with remote presenting and feel it will make me a better communicator in the future.”
EMILY SMAKOWSKI, ALLIANCES EXECUTIVE
“The most impactful statement I heard was as follows: ‘None of us are immune from bias, we all have work to do.’ This phrase was spoken by Sophie Edmond (Founder, The Art of Women’s Leadership) whose thought-provoking, research-driven workshop gave me intense clarity in regards to the power of shame-free promotion, and how, as women, it is not only beneficial for our professional advancement to shamelessly self-promote, but essential.
To combat this, a woman must work twice as hard… But as millions of amazing women have demonstrated again, and again, and again… we are not afraid of hard work. Weighed down by centuries of inherent bias, women are expected to be kind, women are expected to be likeable, women are expected to be maternal… And yet, if a woman possesses any one of these traits, she is seen as inherently ineffective in the workplace.
Thank you to all the amazing professional women out there who are not just passive bystanders, but leaders and enablers of change!”