Earlier this month, I attended a technology event in Chicago called “Women in Tech.” Hosted at the small-yet-trendy Freehand Hotel, the event garnered more than 50 attendees from throughout the area interested in breakfast and lightning talks from a panel of influential women in Chicago’s tech scene.
Attendees were from all facets of the tech industry, from marketing tech to software engineering. Most were women, but a handful of men attended the event as well.
Each of the speakers was posed a pre-determined question about the obstacles she faced in the process of reaching her level of success and how she was able to rise above them. Although their stories and advice were different, they all shared a common theme: As women, we had, and continue to have, unique obstacles to overcome in this largely male-dominated industry.
“Work for companies that have women in leadership roles. We’ve made progress in 10 years, but we have to keep scratching and clawing.” – Ellen Prinzi, Founder & CEO of Olio City.
“Don’t feel guilty, and shush the voice that says you can’t.” – Leslie Vickrey, Founder & CEO of ClearEdge Marketing.
About halfway through the talks, I had finished my coffee and considered leaving early. To me, the “women yes we can” advice I kept hearing seemed a bit outdated for younger professionals. But then I glanced around the room at fellow attendees. People of all ages leaning forward in their chairs captivated, scribbling on notepads and tapping on iPads. These speakers were really resonating with the audience, and that got me thinking.
At Wpromote, there are many female leaders within the company that I can look up to. However, this is likely not the case everywhere. I also realized that even a nurturing office culture can’t eliminate all of the challenges women in our industry experience in outside the office – including at school, with clients, and at industry conferences.
Whether we should or shouldn’t be talking about the concept of “being a woman in tech,” it is increasingly becoming a subject of debate. However, I want to honor the progress women have made in all areas of the tech industry by sharing 10 influential (and often entertaining) women in tech worth adding to your Twitter feed.
- Mina Markham @minamarkham
- Allison House @house
- Morgan DeBaun @morgandebaun
- Jane McGonigal @avantgame
- Rachel Kalmar @grapealope
- Kimberly Bryant @6gems
- Reshma Saujani @reshmasaujani
- Ingrid Lunden @ingridlunden
- Frederique Bros @womenlovetech
- Kara Swisher @karaswisher