Earlier this week, I attended the DC Tech Meetup: Women in Tech Edition. Now that I'm working to add digital marketing analytics to my existing communications skills, it's been inspiring to learn from other women in the business and tech world.
The format of the meetup was quick and entertaining: five 8-minute presentations by women founders, followed by seven 60-second pitches on resources for women in tech. I'll share my favorite presentations below.
You've seen non-profits or disaster relief organizations seek donations on social media. Their posts may receive a lot of likes and shares, but few people actually make the effort to leave the website and donate.
The founders of Good World developed a new approach: simply comment #donate and a dollar amount. After a one-time registration, you can instantly donate to organizations on Facebook and Twitter without leaving the website. (While the presenter didn't mention this, I bet this approach drives donations by appealing to our vanity, too. Now all of your Facebook friends can see you've donated $25 to Nepal relief!)
Good World is a perfect example of using technology for social good -- a career path I hope to follow.
TJ Coding Lady Colonials
Nearly ten years ago, I graduated from Thomas Jefferson, a high school for science and technology in Alexandria, Va. Female students were leaders in grades, research, and student organizations. Yet we understood the computer systems lab wasn't a place we were welcome.
Male students still make up the majority of advanced computer science students at TJ, but a group of female students is working to change that. They've founded Coding Lady Colonials, a "CSterhood" to encourage female students to pursue advanced computer science courses. I'm also happy to learn that a woman, Ria Galanos, teaches several sections of AP Computer Science and Android Mobile App Development. (And in true TJ spirit, she coaches the cheerleading team, too!)
DC Web Women
DC Web Women stood out to me for a couple of reasons. First, their definition of a "woman in tech" is expansive and inclusive:
"Our members are professional technologists, students, and enthusiasts who specialize in the fields of blogging, copywriting, computer science, editing and proofreading, e-marketing, graphic design, information technology, marketing/communications, multimedia, search engine marketing and optimization, social media, web analytics, web content, web design, web development, and web editing."
Second, they teach girls ages 8 to 12 about web development and coding through their Girls Rock on the Web (GROW) initiative. Students learn about HTML, layout, and storytelling so they can create their own websites.
If you're like me, a communications professional feeling stuck in the think tank or development world, I encourage you to explore D.C.-based tech meetups and re-imagine the possibilities for your career.