#GHC15 Recap

If you’re just tuning in, #GHC15 has come and gone and all I can start with is WOW!  Yes, I put my figurative blogging pencil down for a few days during the conference and, yes, I did need a few weeks to recover from everything that was GHC.

We said it would be the mother of all GHC conferences.  Let’s just say it lived up to the hype and some.  So where do we begin?

I’ll start with  my top seven reasons why GHC was simply the best thing since sliced bread.

Top 7:

  1. How do you fit so many amazing women in computer science into one room?  At final tally, #GHC 15 brought 13,000 attendees to the George R. Brown Convention Center.  With speakers from Argonne National Labs to the White House, we weren’t in want of good panels to attend.
  2. Where do I put all this swag?  To hear the marketing team at Burnett Specialists tell it, GHC’ers have seen some of the best swag out of conference-goers at GRBCC.  So what was in the bag? I counted a Yelp’s 3-pronged charger (for iPhone, iPad and laptop), EOS lip moisturizer, handy Paypal sticky notes, Two Sigma’s mobile speakers, YouTube branded earphones and my favorite–the 158-page guide to every moment at GHC 15–to name a few items.
  3. When can I sleep? With every inch of our schedule packed with panels, posters at GHC, there really was no time to sleep.  But as one GHC’er put it, “who needs sleep? Sleep when you get home!”  That home was Houston didn’t seem to make a difference for me.  I clocked 4-6 hours a night.
  4. You mean I’ll be hired on the spot? Yes!  GHC is an action-oriented conference.  So many employers came ready to recruit the next women transforming tech.  And GHC made it easy for them, setting aside a large part of the exhibitor hall for employers to conduct interviews and hire employees on site.
  5. How do you turn down good advice? One of the surprising things about these #womentransformingtech is how willing they were to share hard-won advice with you at any point during the conference.  I think the larger problem was turning down advice.  Who does that anyway? Someone who is running from one panel to another and having to tear away from riveting conversation with the stellar woman in tech she just met. That’s who.
  6. How many projects can I possibly take on?  The women at GHC know how to innovate.  From launching projects to diversify STEM+C fields to transforming third-world education through software, GHC’ers were brimming with ideas about how to save the world or, at least, their communities.
  7. When can we GHC again? The conference is Oct. 19-21, 2016 next year.  But the thing is you don’t even have to wait until next year to connect with GHC’ers and the Systers community.  ABI.Local is the next step in building the local GHC experience.  Communities have already launched in places like Silicon Valley, Chicago, Houston and Boston.  And the good news is that each one of these communities will get to bring the spirit of GHC to the local communities through GHC/1 conferences.

Are you ready for #GHC16?

BWiC Holding It Down in Houston

Black Women in Computing Founder, Danielle Cummings, and local Houstonian, Mahalia Asanaenyi, was interviewed by Melanie Lawson on local Houston program, Crossroads, to discuss the lack of diversity in the tech industry, about Black Women in Computing, our events around Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing and why was it important for us to be visible in Houston. Click the image or link below to watch the interview.

DanielleAndMahalia

http://abc13.com/video/embed/?pid=1042887

Introducing Houston Techspaces: STARTHouston

 

Once again, it’s time for Tech Thursdays at START Houston. If you’ve never been, this might be a good opportunity to check out this co-working space near downtown Houston.

For our conference-goers, the good news is Tech Thursdays are free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. So if you want a place to get some work done while you’re in Houston and want to break free from your hotel room, the lobby or convention center, drop by START Houston.

Other co-working and tech spaces in Houston worth mentioning:

Start Houston 

A co-working space located just a few blocks from the convention center. Drop by START Houston to get a sense of the start-up scene.

Level Office 

A newcomer to Houston co-working spaces, Level Office has three locations that are worth checking out. You’ll find a mix of companies using this space, from energy to real estate to tech.

Platform Houston 

This co-working space is a bit further from town. Nestled in the heart of Rice Village, this space is home to a lot of start-ups from Rice University.

Houston Technology Center          

HTC covers major industry sectors including Energy, Information Technology, Nanotechnology, Life Sciences and Aerospace. This is a great space for companies that want a longer term lease and the use of premium space in Houston.

 

 

 

#GHCManbassadors

Without a doubt, gender equality in tech fields takes support from both sides of the gender equation.   Whether we’re talking about fathers, brothers or manfriends, the 49 percent of U.S. population plays a critical role in #changingthegame.

That’s why I am always impressed when I meet a “Manbassandor.” Today was no exception. Just a stone’s throw from the George R. Brown Convention Center, I spoke with a Pakistani “Dadbassandor” who posed an interesting question to me when it came to women leading and women excelling in computer science, “why couldn’t women lead?”

In case you thought he was paying lip service, he pointed out that Pakistan has already had two female presidents—Fahmida Mirza and Benazir Bhutto.  The father of two computer science students—one daughter and one son—he spoke at length about the importance of women claiming a well-earned and hard-won place in computer science.

His arguments and his conviction were rattling—and convincing.  Really, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

However, while his son has remained in CS, his daughter decided to change course and move into business administration.  I was curious about her change in degree, so I phoned his daughter to talk all things ABI and GHC.  Needless to say, we’re working on her.

Talking with this father just reminded me that there are plenty of Manbassadors who support #OurTimeToLead and would like to #LeanInTogether.  Moreover, they’re showing their support in the most unlikely places–whether through initiatives like Lean In or Manbassador at Harvard University or at home everyday, encouraging their daughters to lead.

So let’s hear it for this #GHCDadbassador!

Texas Southern University – A Reflection on 2008

The year was 2008, the day Nov. 4. In awe, my family and I watched the results of the election come in. Then as a family we made the decision to drive to one of the historic black neighborhoods in Houston.

We started at Scott and Wheeler in Houston’s Third Ward. This was the home of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, an historic, politically active and community-minded church. This was the birthplace of not only famed singer Beyonce Knowles, but also Sam “Lightnin” Hopkins and Conrad Johnson to name a few. It is also the site for Emancipation Park, a place reserved for the annual Juneteenth celebration, to commemorate the date—June 19, 1865—that Texas slaves finally received the news from Union soldiers that they were emancipated.

On that night in 2008, students quietly marched in awe. Cars occasionally honked to celebrate the news. In the twilight, the raw emotion and tears were replaced with silence. It was a proud, thoughtful, contemplative silence.

America’s first African-American president.

That night, there were no shootings. There was no concern about safety. There was no question of the optimism about the future.   You had the sense that everyone thought that Sam Cook was right about change and the civil rights marchers would agree that we did overcome.

Six years later, that same neighborhood is in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. With the recent spate of shootings on campus, academics and the promise of 2008 are being overshadowed by a trend that suggests that Texas Southern University has a problem with crime and safety.

On Friday, the Texas Southern University campus was shut down for several hours after the shooting death of a first-year student. Police report that this is the third shooting in three months.   In the wake of the Oregon campus shooting, news has spread like wildfire about campus safety, begging the question “what is at the root of campus unrest across the nation?”

This isn’t the climate that I was familiar with and this wasn’t the campus that I saw that night on Nov. 4, 2008.

 

 

Introducing Black Women in Computing At #GHC15

A special thing happens when bright minds come together.  Things work.  New relationships are forged.  Deals are made.  The needle moves.  This is the power of community—the power of Systers’ Affinities Communities.

Here at the Black Women in Computing virtual offices, we’re laying the building blocks for what we hope will be the best GHC experience to date!  Every day leading up to the 2015 GHC, we’ve been sparking our own imaginations about what is possible this year.   From our original founder to our committee members to our newest members, all ideas have been on deck.   And it has been that way since the beginning.

BWiC was born at the GHC 2010 Women of Color luncheon entitled, “Building Our Community: Moving Vision into Reality.”  With the help of the Anita Borg Institute, the group grew some legs in 2011.  We held our official kick-off event for our BWiC online community at the 2011 GHC Birds of a Feather session entitled,  “Black Women in Computing: Increasing Numbers Through Networking.”

Since then, we’ve been working towards impacting change by “supporting each other, leveraging our knowledge in the industry and passing it on to others.”  Our core goals to increase:

BWiC Presence

Recruitment and Retention

Online Resources

Support System (National & Local)

Outreach into black and under-served communities, including Hispanic and Native American communities.

If you haven’t linked up with Black Women in Computing yet, here are a few events where you can get a good feel for the community. You must be a registered conference attendee to attend events on Oct. 14-16, 2015.

October 10, 2015

HBCU Tech Inclusion Workshop | 8 a.m.  – 6 p.m. | Texas Southern University Science Center | Sponsored by Facebook, CMD-IT, Microsoft

October 14, 2015

BWiC Reception | 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. | Sponsored by Google

BWiC Community Booths | 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. | @ Community Fair

October 15, 2015

UWiC Panel: U-turns, Detours and Roadblocks | 10:30 – 11:30 p.m.

Women of Color Lunch | 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. | Sponsored by Facebook

UwiC Speed Mentoring Sessions | Session 1| 2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. | Session 2 | 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

BWiC Community Booths | 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. | @ Community Fair

October 16, 2015

Black Women in Technical Roles Lunch | Keynote: Debora Plunkett, National Security Agency and Speaker: Jennifer Jackson, CapitalOne | 1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

UWiC Panel: Bringing Your Whole Self to Work as Underrepresented Women in Computing | 10:30 – 11:30 p.m.

October 17, 2015

BWiC Gaming Workshop | 9 a.m.  – 5 p.m. | Prairie View A&M University Northwest Campus, 9440 Grant Rd. | Sponsored by Intel

Year-round, you can join our online community on Twitter @BWiComputing and follow our WordPress at blackwomenincomputing.wordpress.com.  For more information on getting involved, email Danielle Cummings (DanielleNCummings@gmail.com).

See you there!