The GHC 2018 Nerd Takeaway

Aug. 8, 2019

Grace Hopper Conference (GHC) is the world’s largest celebration for women in technology. The event is hosted by AnitaB.org annually to honor Grace Hopper for being a pioneer in the field of technology and for encouraging women to pursue technical roles. As you gear up for this year’s conference in Orlando, Florida at the Orange County Convention Center, here are some of the takeaways our Nerds had from the conference last year.

Vivian Chan
Biggest takeaway:
I learned so much over the 3 day conference. I was inspired and motivated by keynote speakers and session presenters. I took away advice and tips on how other companies build their Women in Engineering communities and how they work with allies to solve diversity issues.

What piece of advice would you give for next year:
Stay at a hotel within walking distance to the conference. I was able to save so much time from not having to commute via the shuttle which allowed me to attend more sessions (even the really early ones). It also allowed me to stay longer at networking sessions. Overall I got more time to spend at the conference.

 

Maria Can
Biggest takeaway:
“Ask for something. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Just ask”. This takeaway came from a session I attended on how to nail your next promotion and it stood out to me because too many times in my life I was afraid to ask for something and later regretted not just asking or speaking up. Applying this advice to your career will help you grow and develop, allowing you to open doors for yourself.

What piece of advice would you give for next year:
Make sure to preregister for the sessions you really care about, and make sure to leave enough time between sessions that are really popular! Admission opens up to the standby line about 10 minutes before a session starts so it doesn’t matter whether or not you pre-registered at that point. If you have a reserved spot and want to make sure you get in, arrive more than 10 minutes beforehand.

 

Emily Rowe
Biggest takeaway:
My biggest takeaway was a huge reminder that I should feel inspired by my work and always keep top of mind why I am doing it. Also that it’s possible to be direct, assertive, and make your voice heard while still being a kind person.

What piece of advice would you give for next year:
Don’t choose sessions based off of their titles when planning your schedule – prioritize the speakers and the companies they work for. In the end it wasn’t the actual topics discussed in sessions that stuck with me, instead it was hearing from women who I had heard of or companies I had always been curious about. A prime example of this was how I almost missed hearing Anita Hill because the session she spoke at was very early in the morning and vaguely titled ‘The Past, Present, and Future of the #METOO Movements’.

 

Zara Gomes
Biggest takeaway:
Be an advocate for yourself! You are qualified for the job you were hired for, so let your voice be heard. Make an effort to ask for something you want, even if asking might be uncomfortable.

What piece of advice would you give for next year:
Don’t overload yourself with too many sessions as it can get mentally and physically exhausting. Research which ones will be relevant and beneficial to you. Schedule time for lunch. It’s very easy to get caught up in attending sessions and checking out the expo, and then you may end up relying on the junk food to get by! Also, have the mindset that you are there to network and interact with the other attendees.

 

Narissa Flores
Biggest takeaway:
The conference taught me the importance of putting myself in a community and to be my authentic self. I attended a session on Journey Lines, an exercise used for team building and retrospectives. It made me realize how far I’ve come in my career and all the things I’ve accomplished. It gave me direction and taught me how to navigate upwards.

What piece of advice would you give for next year:
Be willing to network and meet people. It was refreshing to see women from different career paths come together. Some of the most valuable experiences I had at the conference weren’t just from the sessions, but from the women I interacted with.