I was invited to be a panelist at an event in honor of International Women’s Day. The event was organized by Google at their new Google Quad in Mt. View and, as most Google events, was sold out within 22 hours. The room seated 150 – I think there must have been 200 given the people standing in the back and the sides.
So here I was with my good friend Melody Bliss, talking about inspiration, technology and what it means to be an woman in technology. Correction, a woman developer/programmer/engineer in technology.
Laura Granka, our moderator asked us all how we got into technology and what inspired us. I had to think pretty hard about this since it’s not something I think about very much. It occurred to me that there were two main reasons (off the top of my head) that drove me towards technology/Computer Science, in particular. The first is that it seemed to me to be the only field where I could make an income that would make me financially independent. The second is that it seemed to me to be the only field where I could do my job without having to wear heels or fancy clothes. The latter was a more powerful driver than the former in my case.
The question about what inspired me was even harder to answer. All I knew was that I had this insane, inexplicable drive inside me which pushes me to do these things (like start CodeChix). I never asked myself where this drive comes from or what triggers it. And now I was being asked this very same question in front of 200 women. Pressure. And that’s when the simple truth dawned on me. I like helping myself get better, helping others get better and helping the environment get better. My deep need to help others (and, therefore, myself) and my love of nature and mountains are all tied into CodeChix. Creating the first ad-hoc, grassroots group for female developers in my living room, teaching/learning/creating/inspiring each other and going for hikes or planning to band together to contribute to something bigger than us – that is the CodeChix DNA.
I got to meet Megan Smith and wear the cool Google Glasses and take pictures with it at the event. I am still humbled by how approachable Megan was and how much energy and passion she exuded. She inspired me. And all the CodeChix members who show their support in different ways inspire me.
So, on International Women’s Day, I thank the powers that be for all the women that have been my inspiration – family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, neighbors, teachers, students, mentors, mentees, email pals halfway across the world.
Thank you for being you and for standing up for yourself and showing us all that brains, beauty, compassion, hard work and achieving your dreams is what we are all about.
And, now I’m going to go modularize my code…
May the code be with you !