If there's one takeaway from our latest Women in Comms event in Denver last month, it is that you don't want to miss our upcoming Women in Comms event in Austin next month…
OK, there were a lot of other really important takeaways, which Light Reading's Kelsey Ziser outlined for us, but I'll tell you why being in Denver made me so excited for our next WiC get-together and for being in our industry in general. (See WiC: Redrawing the Line for Sexual Harassment .)
First, I have to admit that I was discouraged going into the Denver event, because we had several speakers back out of the panel -- a few for reasons out of their control, but others because their companies were silencing them on the subject of sexual harassment. That was disappointing, to say the least. (See Let's Break the Silence Around Sexual Harassment .)
But, I left feeling excited, proud and positive about the future of our industry. The discussion we had on sexual harassment and advancing women in the workplace, in general, was positive, productive and inspiring. I know I'm not the only one who feels that way either, as we got a lot of great feedback on the event. Others, like Netrounds VP Kaela Loffler have shared similar sentiments with us recently as well. There are SO many impressive women in our industry, and we were lucky to have four step up and join our panel. (Video interviews with them to come!) (See Progress, Opportunities Still Abound in Tech.)
Finally, I was encouraged that, for the first time in our 15-plus WiC events, we had a significant number of men in the room. Not only that, but they asked questions and contributed to the discussion. This is so important for helping drive change in a male-dominated industry: having male allies that understand the importance of the issue and aren't afraid to discuss it.
My hope and expectation is that we will have the same in Austin -- impressive senior-level speakers, great discussion and audience participation from both women and men. All three are already shaping up to be true.
Our WiC "Transformation Summit" on Monday, May 14, in Austin, Texas, will feature an opening keynote from Jennifer Kyriakakis, founder and vice president of marketing for Matrixx Software Inc. , who will share her story with us and discuss how digital transformation presents opportunity for women in tech. Following that, we will have two power panels focused on "where diversity meets digital transformation" with speakers like Honoré LaBourdette, vice president of Global Market Development for the Telco Business Group at VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW); and "closing the gender gap" with Srilakshmi Valisammagari, senior technologist and strategist for SDN/NFV Innovations at Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and more.
It is going to be a great day with lunch, plenty of time for networking, discussion and change-making. (We are still looking for more speakers too, so please get in touch if you're interested in joining us!)
Finally, I am encouraged by the number of high-caliber women we had nominated for our WiC Leading Light awards and have been inspired reading through the entrants. It's all just further proof that our industry is rife with opportunity and with impressive women making a difference in their fields.
Yes, there is much work still to do, but I believe we are at a watershed moment for women in the communications industry. Women are no longer staying silent; we are increasing in numbers, rising the ranks and demanding change. That's what makes our Austin event more important than ever. Let's keep the momentum going!
The flame has been lit (and our event will be "lit" too -- just ask Light Reading's Alan Breznick if you don’t know what that means…). (See How Can Cable Stay #WOKE?.)
Register to join the free event right here.
By the way, I would highly suggest you stay for the entire Big Communications Event, which is shaping up to be an outstanding event as well, but I'll let Ray Le Maistre tell you more about why you should do that… (See Why You Need to Join Me in Austin for BCE and Come to BCE 2018: It's a Smart Move.)
— Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms