Week 6 – Grace Hopper Conference

Sorry for the delay! This post actually refers to last week when I attended the Grace Hopper Celebration 2014 in Phoenix, AZ. And what fun it was indeed! I only wish it lasted longer…..

So if you don’t know, GHC is the largest technical conference for women in computing and technology. GHC includes everything from technical talks from women in the industry to networking luncheons, career advancement workshops, recognition and awarding of women whose work has made a significant impact in the field and in the world, research poster presentations and more.

First of all,  I was sponsored by UW-Madison’s Computer Science department along with several graduate women in our department. Traveling and attending GHC together really helped us give us women in the department a chance to meet and connect with one another based on our common interests.  I was able to meet so many interesting women in different fields of study from data analysis to databases to HCI!

GHC is also committed to is recognizing and awarding the women for their academic, professional, educational, and social contributions to the field. Among one of the many esteemed women was Barbara Birungi, the founder of WITU-Women in Technology Uganda, who was awarded the 2014 GHC Change Agent ABIE award at the conference.  It was especially relevant to me since I, too, via my parents, originate from Uganda and it was inspiring to know that technology is improving the lives of women all over the world. I ran into Barbara later the conference and chatted briefly about her work.

The technical talks given by women currently in academia and the industry are the other great aspect of GHC . I sat through many lightening talks where  women discussed the technical problems and solutions involved in running large software platforms and services including Facebook, Pinterest, et al. I learned about AB Testing, the development life-cycle of a software release,  various automation tools, and many other industry practices.

I was also able to attend the Women of Color Networking Luncheon and  even sat at the same table as Lynn Almoro, the Vice President of Global Risk Capabilities at American Express, who was also one of the key note speakers for the event. Her speech imparted several beneficial pieces of advice based on her experiences navigating the  professional world  and her various roles as a friend, a mentor, and a leader.

While I have barely touched on all the great things GHC has to offer, I would definitely recommend it to everyone . It was a blast!