The conference began with founder and president of AnitaB.org, Brenda Darde Wilkerson, welcoming the more than 20 thousand attendees. She expressed the greatness of being in a room with so many women (and men) who share the same interests and passions. She vibrantly made it a point for all women to know that a global community has been created through the Grace Hopper Celebration. A diverse community, that supports encourages and motivates all women in technology.
Padmasree Warrior, CEO and Chief Development Officer NIO U.S., joined the stage next. With her “go-getter” mentality, Padmasree gave multiple advices to the audience. Her first advice, “open doors and go through them” encouraged the audience to take charge of their careers by creating opportunities for themselves and taking risks even if the outcome is uncertain. Next, she gave what she believed to be the most important advice, the impotence of replacing the world balance with integration- “making sure you are integrating across the different boundaries” we set for ourselves. Going forward, Mrs. Warrior encourages women to look further than being a leader, to additionally become influencers in the tech world and movement makers. Padmasree hopes to expand what we know technology as today, and as is her commitment, to increase the number of women in technology.
The lively, Jessica O. Matthews, Founder and CEO of Uncharted Power, spoke with complete honesty and lightened up the air with her great sense of humor. She shared her experience of visiting her families’ country, Nigeria, and the frustration she felt from the lack of power source. Finding an alternative energy infrastructure system became her goal. Fast forward to many years and energy creations, she is the founder of a technological company in Harlem, New York City, where 57% of her staff are women, 43% of them being Black and Hispanics. Ok, can we pause for a second, and give her a round of applause for such an achievement! Jessica ended by saying that “just because it is not your plan doesn’t mean it’s not your destiny”. A very powerful sentence, that reminds us that we have everything we need within us to do what we are called to do.
During the ceremony multiple awards were given to students, professors, business owners, etc., sponsored by Dell and Intel. The very prestigious, Technical Leadership Abby Award was presented to a woman “whose technical achievements make a notable impact, and who is committed to increasing the representation of women in technology”. The recipient of the award, Dr. Rebeca Parsons has had great achievements in architecture development while trying to master the impact of technologists in society. Dr. Parsons is a true definition of the fruits that come from being curious and persistent in life.
Overall, The Grace Hopper Celebration, celebrates, encourages and motivates women to excel in tech fields. This is a a great example of how important it is to encourage our young girls into tech fields and continue opening doors for the next generations to come. As Padmasree Warrior said, “open doors and go through them”. SheTek is committed to the same values, ideas and desires presented in this conference. We are excited for what the future holds and are eager to work together to bridge the gender gap in the tech fields.