Last week I attended the second annual Women in Tech Summit DC at the Washington Post Live facility. It was an incredible event full of networking, insights, and encouragement for women in DC’s terrific tech community. Being in a room with over two hundred other women in technology, like-minded yet from all differnet experiences and backgrounds, was an incredible experience.
Listening to such amazing speakers as Kelly Hoey and Elizabeth Lindsey, as well as a variety of panels on topics like being a woman tech entrepreneur (certainly timely for me) and staying a woman in tech gave me a lot of pearls of wisdom for me to digest as I reinvigorate my career as a brand-new agency owner. Here are a few of the best to share:
Kelly Hoey, Keynote Speaker and author of Build Your Dream Network
Networking consists of activity, relationships, and a starting point. It’s not just handing out business cards at a cocktail party; networking is “every single human interaction.”
Tiny micro-actions lead to big outcomes.
Your networking should be amphibious, consisting of both online and offline activity.
You need to be on social media, because even if you’re not on social media, you can’t make assumptions on where people are aggregating.
Especially when you’re trying to build your reputation as a technology expert, being quoted by traditional media is hugely powerful. Think to yourself, are you sharing your point of view?
Also, be sure to personalize your LinkedIn connection requests. Do the work for the people you’re trying to make connections with by reminding them where you met.
Think of what your goal is. What are you trying to achieve, and who are the people who can help you?
Finally, own your accomplishments. If you’ve done it, own it, and if someone compliments you on it, say “Thank you.” This is something I’ve heard before and taken to heart. So many times, women try and deflect credit for the things they’ve achieved, saying it wasn’t a big deal or they didn’t have a big part in it. But even if you were a part of the team, take credit for that work, along with passing credit to your teammates.
Staying a Woman in Tech and Tips, Tricks & Insights to Build Your Identity as a Technical Leader
These were great discussions with a few key pieces of advice:
Make yourself the technologist you want the industry to be. Awesome sentiment.
Every ninety days, do a passion check; check the pulse of your career and make sure you’re still on the path of doing what you love.
Ideas, Money, People: What We Learned as Female Entrepreneurs
One problem I have with the tech industry today is that entrepreneurship seems to be all about products, and not so much about agencies like the one I’ve started. Nevertheless, there were lessons to be learned here as well:
“More than the idea, people believe and support you.”
“Life unfolds in accordance with your bravery.”
“If you see a need, fill a need.”
Elizabeth Lindsey, Keynote Speaker
The final speaker was Elizabeth Lindsey of ByteBack, who showed a statistic that others had pointed out earlier in the day. Men apply for jobs when they have 60% of the qualifications; women apply when they have 100%. That says a lot about women and their confidence in finding work in the technology world. This is an eye-opener, but I see it in myself in the positions I’ve applied to throughout my career.
She also quoted Mindy Kaling: “Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled.” This comes back to something I’ve said in the past, own what you know. Don’t be afraid to take ownership of the things that you’re an expert on.
What have you accomplished? Get loud and proud.
Work in places who accept us for who we are.
These are the kinds of lessons I want to bring into Taupecat Studios. As I work to get this small agency off the ground, I’ll be looking for those opportunities to support the people I know are passionate about what they do, who can take ownership of their skills, and who will contribute to a shared goal. And all the while, I’ll know that there’s a great tech community, of both men and women, who’ll have my back along the way.