In an industry inundated with men, it's a welcome diversion to have an event specifically geared towards women.
The Women in Tech Breakfast at the Big Telecom Event last week was a free event open to all women, Light Reading's fourth in the past year. (See Women in Tech: People Skills Trump Tech Skills and Women in Tech Coming Into Focus.)
The event was well attended by a diverse group of impressive and entertaining women who had a lot of insights about working in tech (and business in general). Panelists and keynote speakers shared their personal histories and how they rose to the esteemed positions they hold today, and told their stories and gave advice about working in a male-dominated field.
Click through the following slideshow to see photos of the event, along with some takeaways from the speakers.
on Light Reading.
Monique Hayward, director of outbound marketing at Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) (the event's sponsor), kicked off the event with the news that Light Reading is partnering with the networking giant to help identify female-led startups for its newly launched $125 million Diversity Fund. (See Calling All Women Startups! Intel Wants to Give You Money.)
Then came Brenna Berman, commissioner and CIO of the Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology. An inspired storyteller, Berman kept the audience laughing with stories of business travel and simultaneously raising a family. She described her view on her rise to the top as "honored but not lucky," explaining that she was preparing all along for her position with the city of Chicago, and that she worked incredibly hard to land her crucial role.
Following her presentation, a panel of five women took the stage, including Berman, Megan Doberneck of Vodafone Americas , Karen Freitag of Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), Heather Kirksey of the Open Platform for NFV Project Inc. and Jennifer Perron-Micek of US Cellular . Sandra Rivera from Intel led the discussion with rousing questions for the panel.
Rivera posed the question, "Is there a glass ceiling or is there a sticky floor?," which led to a discussion about what's really holding women back from accomplishing their professional goals. She stated that when looking at requirements for a job application, men typically only feel they need 30% of the qualifications while women feel they need 80%. Berman shared that putting your name in the hat is really the best way to get exposure, even if you may not be entirely qualified for the role.
"If you don't get it this time, you may get it next time," she said. "Play the long game."
— Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, Light Reading