As a recent transplant to NYC I'm overwhelmed when chosing an event in the city. Luckily a colleague sent my name to an organization hosting a tech event that aims to bring communities together across the tech sector. The layout of the event involved pairing students with professionals to co-facilitate discussion topics regarding diversity, inclusion and bringing under and over represented groups together. This was right up my alley and I couldn't wait to volunteer my time to (a) have an excuse to hang out late on a work night and (b) finally find a tech space for my inner nerd to glow. With over ten years in the tech field, inclusion and diversity are obstacles I always faced however I never allowed these hurdles to discourage my advancement in tech. I empowered myself and others even though the environment is not very inclusive. I couldn't wait to share my experience and bring awareness to a problem that affects women and minority youth.
The event was amazing! More than 200 people showed up, 11 groups were facilitated and at the end I made a new friend. My student co-facilitator was Natalia, a Freshman majoring in Computer Science. We got along instantly and as we guided our group through dialogue, the real test was summarizing our group discussion to all the participants. This event taught us that as women in tech we have an obligation to raise awareness and provide accessibility to tech related programs and information to our communities. We must champion the success of our counterparts in the workplace and partner with organizations that recognize the achievements of women and minorities in the tech space. It was a great night that fostered learning and growth for the students and professionals in attendance.