LWT Summit 2017

Oh yes, that’s right- Lesbians, Queers and Allies gathered in NYC this September to share and celebrate our passion for technology innovation and professional development.

These are a great moments to bask in the hundreds of women pushing to shatter the glass ceiling towards true equality with their male counterparts in the workplace. We love the work we do and its amazing to be exposed to companies out there taking a pledge to be more inclusive in their hiring standards, office culture and benefits practices.

Women in tech fields continue to deal with so much resistance and sexism from society and we still have a lot of work to do for women of color as well. Each of us have experienced being belittled, laughed at or denied opportunities we qualified for, simply on the premise of gender and/or race. (That goes for universities and corporations participating in daily microaggressions.) It’s important to come together as peers and allies to uncover where and how these barriers continue to be systemic, and also how queer women of color can continue to navigate the industry with strength and courage. We are not afraid of being ‘the only one’, but it shouldn’t be that way in years to come. We are not afraid to take maternity leave at the height of our careers, but we shouldn’t be penalized for that choice. We are engineers, entrepreneurs and inventors who deserve respect.

I was pretty tired during this even and wasnt able to network as much as I’d planned. it was still refreshing to see us all combing through the NYU School of Law building to discuss our future in the industry. One peice of advice that stood out to me is how critical it is for women to ASK. Ask for that raise, ask for the promotion, ask for opportunity. Too often folks think working hard with your head down will eventually be rewarded, but I’ve rarely witnessed success from this. Your managers need to know you want more and care about growing with the company, its not always obvious. Show them HOW you can take the company’s goals to the next level.

Also, soft skills are critical to leadership growth. As important as it may seem to know the latest coding language or where machine learning is headed, nothing beats the ability to influence a team of peers. Building relationships and trust with clients and colleagues is so important and a known weak point for many young professionals. This is a world where the computer programmer has to market products and interface with clients. So practice!

This year’s event had some great talks, including conversations with:

Megan Smith and Pearl Means of Standing Rock Initiative
Megan Smith luncheon discussing Tech leadership
LWT Breakout Sessions about pushing your career forward as LGBTQA+ professional
Stacey Abrams, candidate for Gov of Georgia
Jenna Wortham and Lydia Polgreen talk journalism and leading your career

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