We recently celebrated Ada Lovelace Day here on SCN, a day that celebrates women making important contributions in the fields of technology and science. Last Thursday, I had the opportunity (thank you Maya!) to meet some of today’s women active in hi-tech, here in Israel, in Microsoft’s Women Think Next 2010 conference.
We had a gorgeous day for networking outdoors over food & drinks in the first part of the day. We each received black and pink (well it IS for ladies) personalized business cards and were advised to ‘get rid of them’ during the event. While I love the idea of personalized event business cards (my blue and white SAP ones stayed in my bag), I believe most people find it hard to simply walk up to someone or a group and introduce themselves. I think it’s easier when a little guidance is given such as our speed networking rounds during Community Day. There members sit for short periods of time at topic tables of their choice and the topic at hand is an easy ice breaker. Mark Finnern explains the concept’s history and speed dating influence in his Community Day Influence III: Speed Dating 😉.
The few hundred women then entered Microsoft’s auditorium. The conference was incredibly interesting with an impressive speaker list. The women speakers included;
- Dina Dublon, Microsoft Board Member; also on the board of Accenture, Ltd., PepsiCo, Inc., Carnegie Mellon University, the Global Fund for Women and the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women & Children.
- Dr. Taly Weiss, Founder and CEO of TrendsSpotting .
- Yoelle Maarek, from Yahoo! Research Israel and formerly from Google, leading innovation such as Google Suggest.
- Orit Zukerman whose interactive portraits are amazing! Also an interesting tidbit is she co-founded uTok, an early blogging community.
- The conference MC was Tali Heruti Sover, a journalist from The Marker.
They shared their personal stories as well as how they handled challenges facing a modern woman. Each one’s story was different but it’s true that we all have interconnecting lines.
I think women have come a long way over the years but still today woman in leadership roles are lacking. In Israel for example Maxine Fassberg is the General Manager of Intel Israel. Unfortunately as a woman leader in the world of Israeli Hi-Tec she is quite alone. I hope 2010 will add more to her ranks.
Dina Dublon, asked each one of us to think what we would take away from the day and what we would do differently because of it. I gave it some thought and this blog is one of the outcomes. While I love working with the community; usually my communication is quiet, behind the scenes. Private mails, calls, specific forums etc. Perhaps it’s time to be more public.
There were many inspirational and thought provoking speeches, I’m still mulling it over in my mind and that for me is a sign of a good conference. That is stays with the attendee after they’ve left for the day.
BTW during the event large bottles and jugs of juice were available with cups for all. I believe it’s an improvement on individual bottles of water but still a way to go from personalized thermoses. Well maybe next year. I do hope there will be a Women Think Next 2011.