What an experience! This morning after arising and thanking God for another day, I basked in the aftermath of amazement, excitement and pride as a first-time AnitaB.org Grace Hopper Celebration attendee. Last week, September 26 – 28, it was estimated that over 22,000 people converged on Houston, TX to celebrate, motivate, expose and inspire women in technology. As evidenced by the sheer number of attendees and our highlighted contributions, we are not only here, we belong and the world has benefited from our genius!
Sisterhood was in the air, despite there being so many attendees. It was like meeting your sister for the first time and finding out there are even more of you, overjoyed and pleasantly overwhelmed…so much to catch up on and so much to learn. For many women in technology we are often the “only” or the “first of a few”, in our work settings, so to see that many sisters really warmed my heart. I jokingly addressed many I met for the first time by saying, “You really do exist!”. We were captivated by the stories of speakers like Jessica O. Mathews, Sabrina Farmer, Joy Buolamwini, Anita Hill and Justine Cassell. We laughed, celebrated, learned and addressed tough issues together that motivated and challenged us to do more, be more and support more because there is so much more to do.
It takes a village! I would be totally remised if I didn’t acknowledge the men who showed up to support us. During lunch break conversations on the final day, I heard from and about men who, prior to coming, had no idea why this conference was needed or what the big deal was. They thought the disparity of women to men in technology in the workplace just wasn’t that bad. However, they quickly confessed that they “get it now” and will do what they can in support of workplace gender equality. The Grace Hopper Celebration, and others like it, aren’t just for women in technology but also brings awareness to the greater community at large.
My fellow sisters in tech, I can’t stress enough the importance of surrounding yourself with a network that not only believes in you, reminds you that you can do this but expects you to win! Unfortunately, we sometimes have to look outside of the workplace. Even if you have this support within your organization, positive reinforcements are always a plus. AnitaB.org wants to be that network for you.
I, too, expect you to succeed and want to personally coach you towards becoming the Authentic, Exceptional IT Leader that you are! Please contact me by clinking the link, Kamisha Oni Consulting Group.
I hope to see you there next year in Orlando, FL. Despite what may be your reality, remember, we are not only here, we belong and the world has benefited from our genius! #BeIntentional #BeExceptional #IBelieveInYou #GHC18