Do you ever find yourself describing things you love to do, only to realize you actually haven't done those things in, like, ... a while? Sometimes I get so wrapped up in life, I forget to engage in the things that I love to do, the things that got me where I am in my career.
Last Fall, I decided to turn that ship around and join Tech Ladies as a City Organizer on the recommendation of a great friend and former colleague, Sam Kapila, thinking it would be a great way for me to remember that just because my job isn't all about hustling in the community, it doesn't mean that can't still be my side hustle. I've spent the last two years at SOLTECH doing really great work with my incredible team internally, but haven't spent much time looking out and up, and I wanted to make sure I changed a bit of my isolation mode.
So, I decided to merge my two worlds and host our first Tech Ladies event last week at SOLTECH, and my amazing team was there to mentor, help set up, and show our guests an awesome time. We had so much fun, it left me wondering why the heck I don't do things like that every week. Okay, once a week might be a bit too ambitious, but we threw together an event in a relatively short amount of time, and it turned out so amazingly well, it has left me buzzing ever since. Here are the deets:
I wanted to make sure the event left the amazing Tech Ladies that attended feeling they received real, actionable value from this. We have a lot going on, and many of the events offered in our community are knowledge-sharing from a story perspective: anecdotes on career trajectories, and success stories. I love those, they're inspiring for sure, but sometimes you need a little more meat to take actual action. I'm kind of at the point where if I'm investing 2 hours of my down time in an event, I really need it to leave me thinking about what I learned/gained for a while. Or at least put me in front of some awesome women - and I think a lot of us feel that way.
What We Did
We kicked it off with some fun networking, with a name tag game that taught the ladies some history on influential women in tech, and allowed us to get to know each other over some very generous servings of wine. Wine not?
The event was Career Speed Networking, an idea I've always wanted to execute on because I meet so many people that need just a few pointers to be amazing (and, hell, I can use it too!). We set up three stations with 10 minute rounds, and a few mentors at each station to guide the discussions:
- Resume review
- Mock interview
- Career advice
I kind of went into it thinking folks would want to hang in one area and that we'd have a bunch of women fresh out of college (which is great!), but was delighted that women from many stages of their careers came, and all wanted to participate in every "station". This meant a lot more diverse conversations, and lot of sharing perspectives. Magic was happening.
I prepped Resume Cheat Sheets, Mock Interview Questions, and brainstorming worksheets for people to fill out to get to the root of their career needs. It meant they got some good takeaways they can use in the future. Who doesn't miss getting handouts from school?!
I got to talk to a lot of women that left feeling they got a ton of value, met some other incredible ladies in tech, and can't wait for the next event. I was exhausted, my team of mentors and volunteers was exhausted, but we were buzzing off the adrenaline of getting so many passionate women together to workshop their careers.
I'm not sure yet, but I know I'm not going to wait another 6 months to throw another event. Atlanta women need this, and I love that Tech Ladies is all about helping women in tech from all areas of concentration, not just in programming. We had professors, designers, marketing professionals, and developers, and it was so great to have such a diverse group of women helping each other. My goal is for the next event to be in June, so send me your ideas if there's something you'd like to see happen!