This October, iStreamPlanet sent Software Engineer Meghan Brunner and Senior Technical Program Manager Constance Huang to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Orlando, Florida. Meghan and Constance were among 18,000 female tech students, professionals, and male allies celebrating the achievements of and discussing the challenges faced by women in technology.
Inspired by a session on building local community and discussions with the women of Ladies in Tech at Turner (LITT), Meghan and Constance will start a Women in Technology group at iStreamPlanet.
Meghan’s GHC17 reflections:
Meghan is a Software Engineer contributing to Aventus features including ABR Packaging and Publishing & Delivery.
“Attending the Grace Hopper Celebration was a dream come true. I’ve followed the conference for years and was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend. It was an incredible experience to be surrounded by thousands of inspirational women in my field. After attending a session focused on women groups at Amazon, Microsoft, Capitol One, and Turner, I am inspired to form a similar group at iStreamPlanet.” –Meghan
Meghan participated in GHC17 sessions ranging from engaging male allies to a 20-minute crash course on Go. Below, she outlines several of her favorite sessions.
Quit apologizing, justifying and over-explaining!
In this session, identical twins Josie Gillan, Senior Director of Engineering at Cloudera, and Laurel McLay, Career Expert and Coach at Laurel McLay, discussed how women often apologize for and justify their actions at work. This historically-steeped behavior can be damaging for women, causing them to appear less confident. Josie and Laurel encouraged the audience to stop using qualifying words and phrases including “sorry”, “just”, “I think”, and “I don’t mean to be a bother but.” This session illuminated behavior that can convey a lack of confidence. There is a difference between being rude and simply asking for something that you need to do your job well. Pro tip: This Chrome add-on will flag the apologetic terms in Gmail.
How Male Allies are Supporting Women in Computing
In this session, Edwin Aoki, Anthony Park, and Evin Robinson discussed the how male allies are supporting women in tech today. Natasha Green of ABI.NYC moderated the session. One panelist candidly opened saying he felt awkward speaking at conference focused on women in tech. The moderator chimed in saying without awkwardness, we can’t move forward.
The panelists explained that a male ally is an advocate for women and a voice for his colleagues. He stands up when issues are not addressed. A male ally uses male privilege to figuratively open doors for women and minorities. He is a change agent that champions diversity, equity, and inclusion.
It is important to let male employees know that their support is wanted and needed. Educating teams on challenges that their female coworkers face is a great place to start. Inclusivity training can be useful to shed light on your own biases. We can take action by asking men to become allies.
Graduating to Go: A Jumpstart into the Go Programming Language
Kaylyn Gilbilterra, a Software Engineer at Capital One, gave an exciting 20-minute crash course on Go. She showed the quicksort algorithm in several languages including Java, C++, and Python. She then jumped into Go and demonstrated how succinct it can be. According to the speaker, if you know other programming languages, Go isn’t too difficult to learn. This session was particularly interesting to me because I recently started to learn Go at iStreamPlanet.
Constances’s GHC17 reflections:
Constance is a Senior Technical Program Manager responsible for several Aventus features including Atlas DRM, Live2VOD, and VOD.
“The Grace Hopper Celebration brought together thousands of amazing women in technology. The idea that resonated most with me is that we should change our view of minorities into a view of diversity. If we recognize our differences as strengths, we can progress from simply solving technical problems to building ethical and inclusive software.” –Constance
Two GHC17 sessions that Constance enjoyed included a keynote lecture by Dr. Fei-Fei Li and a special session with Telle Whitney. She outlines these sessions below.
There’s Nothing “Artificial” About AI
Speaker: Dr. Fei-Fei Li, Professor and Director of Stanford University’s AI Lab; Chief Scientist at Google Cloud AI/ML
In this talk, Dr. Fei-Fei Li discussed how AI is only a tool in the hands of humans. The values that we teach machines are human values. This is the “deeply human side of artificial intelligence.” Dr. Li noted the difference between solving technology problems and solving ethical riddles. Diversity is lacking in tech, and that includes AI. To teach machines to think like humans, diversity is required, so that the result of AI is inclusive of all people. The future of AI should not only benefit us, it should reflect us – and all our differences.
What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?
Speaker: Telle Whitney, Former CEO, AnitaB.org
Telle Whitney’s talk focused on mastering transitions. She encouraged the audience to first “show up.” From there, learn to survive and then thrive, and always remember there is a future self that knows more than you do today. Telle revealed three transition lessons. First, focus on future opportunities rather than your current state. Ask yourself “What brings me joy?” Ask others for help. Secondly, always leave with a graceful exit. The people you work with today will be your reference in the future. And lastly, engage your network. It isn’t who you know or what you know; it’s who knows what you know.
Our Commitment to Diversity & Inclusivity
Supporting women and minorities in tech is important to iStreamPlanet. Diversity and inclusivity make our company better, our work environment more dynamic, and our products more successful for our customers. We invest in sending our team members to conferences like the Grace Hopper Celebration to join meaningful conversations and to bring the dialogue and new ideas back to our office.
Stay tuned for more information on our new iStreamPlanet Women in Technology group – coming 2018!