WIT at TechDays Toronto

image Women in Technology at TechDays Toronto by Barnaby Jeans. DSCN0050

Thanks to all the ladies who joined us at the Women in Technology (WIT) Connection Area at Techdays in Toronto! It was our pleasure to meet everyone.  This was the first time we had a networking area and it gave us an opportunity to hear from you. We really appreciate everyone's participation and would like to share the notes we captured during our conversations.

The main challenges for women in technology

  • Mentoring and guidance are important to help women going through different stages in their careers but also in their life. However, it is so difficult to find women in the technical field to connect and get support.
  • There is a need for networking platform. This connection area idea is excellent. It would be great to have this at other technical events.
  • There is a need to balance difference aspects of life. Flexible hours is important for this.
  • Women typically don’t ask (promotion, salary increase, etc). It would be great to get them feel comfortable about selling what they do.
  • There is a tendency on not to speak up about the challenges as it might be difficult for others to relate to these challenges.

Why did we choose IT?

  • Technology itself is an international language and it enables people to have a job wherever they want. If you would like to live in different parts of the world, technology is the best industry to be in.
  • Analytical skills and being good at math
  • Very positive perception about IT in India
  • It helps to feel confident and it is great to be called as “cool Mom!” or “Ms Gates”
  • “While keeping up with the technology, I feel like I am being a good role model who values learning all the time”

What do people think about the WIT connection area at TechDays?

  • It is an excellent idea and it is important to get together. It helps women to talk about the challenges, exchange ideas and share insights.
  • This has been extremely helpful and it would be great to have a discussion forum to continue this discussion.
  • “This discussion helped me to see clearly that I am not alone or I am not the only one who has these challenges”
  • “This is a great initiative; it is great to become part of it”
  • “I have a very shy personality but the connection area gives me the opportunity to learn from others. I feel like I can make a difference”

Other Women in Technology Activities in Toronto:

Both of these groups are fantastic and helps you network with other women in IT.

Feedback around the event

  • This event has been fantastic to get the knowledge around what is possible with new technologies
  • Great speakers and demos. It is great to see how we can do things
  • Looking at new technology and learning where the resources are extremely helpful.
  • It would be great to see follow-ups and have sessions in more technical details
  • Time management at the event is very good. Thanks to Rick!
  • Getting introduced to new technologies is very valuable as it helps to make the business case
  • The sessions are very informative
  • Microsoft needs to focus on vitalization more as companies are moving onto consolidation of their servers
  • It is sometimes intimidating to ask question in front of all these people, it would be great to have an online Q&A section and we can submit the questions.

This is just the beginning of our WIT conversation. For the challenges we face as women in IT, it's very important to learn from each other and work together to overcome these challenges. If you want to share your advise on how to deal with these challenges, feel free to comment on the blog or send your thoughts to me and Cigdem directly. Again, it was so nice to meet everyone and we had a lot of fun chatting with you all.

Cigdem (Pronounced “Chee-dam”): cigdemc (at) microsoft.com

Qixing (pronouced as "Chi-shing"): qixing.zheng (at) microsoft.com

Comments (2)
  1. There is a number of issues that have garnered a lot of attention. With key people at Microsoft Canada and strong leadership from people like yourself, Qixing Zheng, Lora Gernon, Carol Terntiak andthe WIL&T group of IAMCP we have been driving seminars at Microsoft’s world partner conference WPC2007 and WPC2008 with even more interesting participation from the men who have sat on our panel sessions. The key to success in this initiative is 3 fold, mentoring, a social networking structure for women that will be focused on our industry and a willingness for the industry to realize women can and do offer so much momentum and expertise that is sorely lacking and if they are empowered to do so.  Whake up fellas, places like Brazil and Mexico are at 70% + women in IT management positions and these companies are doing gangbusters.  Get on board before all the good ones are gone!

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