I occasionally am asked why am I active in the Women In Tech community and why I attend WIT meetups. The answer is many-fold: to celebrate successes, to offer support, to listen. As a gay, white male, many of the same people in the rooms that I attend are my allies and I theirs. I think that mutual trust and empathy is something that can be and should be cultivated.
Last year, I attended the inaugural WITness Success. I had many takeaways, but the biggest one that I had reaffirmed is that I need to be a voice for women in tech and continue to lift others up so they can be heard. I heard stories of successful women who started their own business, stories of prolific administrators and developers and, unfortunately, I heard stories of issues ranging from mansplaining to HR related. Given the timing of the Google memo released prior to the conference and the blog post detailing the sexism at Uber by a female engineer, affirmed that diversity in tech is not always seen as a good thing. I’m hoping that I can be a voice to help show that it is good, that it is necessary, both for individuals and companies.
For the next WITness Success event, I hope that there are sessions specifically for Ally Strategies on how to be the best possible ally. We are all learning. We are not perfect or infallible. Having a workshop to brainstorm what are ways to support each other and grow would be something that I think would add a lot of value. I also hope to hear more success stories about women who overcame obstacles in their professional life and personal life and, more importantly, how they did it. The last thing that I want to mention that I really liked about last conference is that it was not about the technology, like many of the conferences I have been to, this conference was specifically about the people, their successes, their hardships, and the skills needed to be the best they can be. That left an impression on me and I think it will for anyone that attends.
Guest Ally Post: Jeremiah Dohn is an accidental admin turned developer and Salesforce MVP with 12 certifications. He currently works at PayPal and is focused on building out the lightning framework for the organization.