Last Thursday, Erica and I headed out to San Francisco to attend the first annual Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner. We ended up having a really great weekend meeting people and listening to panelists at the dinner, as well as visiting with the team at Pivotal Labs the following day.

According to the Women 2.0 post (who sponsored the Girl Geek Dinner) over 600 people showed up at Google's Mountain View campus to network and listen to the panelists (Yes, Google really does have heated toilet seats!). I think its wonderful that so many attended, Phoenix would surely have a much smaller turnout. The topic of the evening was "building credibility and reputation in technology and business." While I really enjoyed listening to the panelists, it wasn't quite what I was expecting. I thought there would be more specific advice about how to promote yourself as a woman in the tech world, and I found most of the advice pretty general (i.e. Believe in yourself, don't let people tell you you don't belong in tech, don't be afraid to disagree, etc.). Aside from that, I found the event truly inspirational. All four women on the panel -- Leah Culver (Co-Founder and Lead Developer, Pownce), Sumaya Kazi (Entrepreneur and Social Media Manager, Sun Microsystems), Irene Au (Director of User Experience, Google), and Rashmi Sinha (CEO, SlideShare) -- have done very well for themselves, and it was great to hear them talk about the steps they've taken to get where they are. Some of the things I took away were the following:

  • Contribute to open source projects. (Leah Culver)
  • Write articles that show your personality.(Sumaya Kazi)
  • Don't forget to network. (Irene Au)
  • You have to have a thick skin. Decide what parts of yourself you want to put out there, try not to post personal things. (Rashmi Sinha)

In addition to the panel, the Girl Geek Event was really about networking. Erica and I had the chance privilege of meeting Arena Reed, a designer at Pivotal Labs. Integrum and Pivotal are both agile shops, so it was interesting to chat with Arena about process - something we've been talking about a lot lately at Integrum. Arena was nice enough to invite us to the Pivotal office Friday morning to see how they operate and talk with some of the other employees. It was very reassuring to see a shop working so well with agile, and I'm optimistic that Integrum will find what works best for us soon enough. Thanks everyone at Pivotal for being so welcoming!

It turned out to be a great couple of days in San Francisco, thanks again to Angie Chang of Women 2.0 and Pivotal Labs for making it an enjoyable and productive trip!

Lindsay Ucci Ritzenthaler (aka Ooochie!)

Lindsay Ucci Ritzenthaler

Ruby/Rails developer and wannabe pastry chef. :)

Welcome to! I'm Lindsay, and I'm a web developer in Boston, MA. If you're in the area, please get in touch!

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