Some Buddy, Any Buddy! And Other Tips for Planning Your First Lesbians Who Tech Summit Before You Surrender to the Hula Hoops, High-Fives, and the Badass Woo
Before every Lesbians Who Tech Summit, we hold a “101” session where we hold a torch for first-time Summit attendees and answer their questions about the event. Call it a “warm welcome” tradition: If you’re willing to show up, we’re here to support you in getting the most out of your Summit experience. Below is a summary of our advice from the session. (Due to human error, we did not record the meeting — but enterprising human hands typed these notes. Please share and enjoy.)
Special thanks to experienced @lesbiantech community members Dom DeGuzman @its_helladom, Tracey Kaplan @TKappers, Dom Brassey @domlet, Jamie Chung @attnjamie, and Maureen Erokwu @MErokwu for sharing much game in this fun and candid online session.
Easy tips to help you “Summit” like a super-productive, calculating and methodical, data-driven, outcomes-oriented, sometimes epically awkward, serendipity-embracing, imposter-syndrome shedding, microphone-wielding champion of your own power.
STEP ONE — MAKE PLANS
- Download the conference app: ddut.ch/lwts2016 and start putting sessions on your mobile calendar. Decide your “must-see” sessions ahead of time.
- Download this Google Map of venues and enable offline access. Send big ️❤ ❤ ❤ to Cora Fowler from Ann Arbor, who made it.
- Think about accessibility. Travel between venues will cut into your time, so plan with geography in mind. People with disabilities, seating assistance is available at each venue; please ask. Note: The Café is not wheelchair accessible.
- Register for the Saturday career fair at Twitter HQ. TechUP especially seeks women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and people who live with a disability. Hiring companies include Google, Facebook, Twitter, SAP, eBay, Intel, IBM, Lyft, Salesforce, AT&T, Amazon, Two Sigma, Goldman Sachs, Dev Bootcamp, Twilio, Accenture, ESPN, Disney and more. Food and drinks provided. Upload your resume and go get hired!
- Meet up with some buddy (even if they’re just an acquaintance). Great friendships have been forged by the buddy system.
- Organize! Use LinkedIn or Facebook to gather a group by asking “Does anyone want to meet up about [x topic]?”
- Bring a power strip. You’ll make many powerful friends.
- Get your headshot taken (for free) with LinkedIn! So simple, so invaluable.
- Visit restrooms early. When Castro line is long, go to other venues.
- Make an “ask” when you have people’s attention (even if it’s just “follow me on social media”).
- Ask about pronouns (she/her, they/them, etc.) to affirm the genders of others. (You’ll be able share yours by wearing a pronoun pin, too.)
- Remember, PRESENTERS: BE LOUD! Talk to 20 of us like we’re 200.
- Plan to be at hackathons all day. And know that all skills really are welcome.
- CONTENT TIP: If you’re at risk for #FOMO, catch Aidan Madigan-Curtis’s “Let’s Talk About Sex: How New Advances in Medicine Can Help You Freeze Your Eggs & Advance Your Career” on Friday (Castro Theatre) at 2:00pm.
- WHILE YOU’RE THERE: Stay for Tiffany Dockery’s “Know Yourself, Know Your Worth: Overcoming Imposter Syndrome when you don’t fit the mold” right afterwards. Because lesbians in tech are not moldy.
STEP TWO — LET GO OF YOUR PLANS
- We recommend registering for satellite events (like themed lunches) at the soonest possible instant. (You’ve got to watch out for those emails from Leanne!) One of the cardinal rules of finding your home with Lesbians Who Tech is “Learn to say YES, early and often,” because it will take you places. But, when satellite events are full, we recommend practicing the art of the pivot. Go learn what NO can do for you at Sophy Lee’s “Two Keys to Success for Every Woman in Tech: Say No, Make Requests” at 11:30am on Saturday Feb 26th @ The Café.
- Let go of WiFi. The historic Castro Theatre is built for Judy Garland sing-a-longs, not Dropbox syncing. Enjoy the #lowtech intimacy and interactions with the humans.
- Let Über and Lyft do your driving! (Even at SFO airport. ‘Nuff said.)
- Hackathons: Coming prepared with an idea and a team? Be prepared to have both reformatted. You may not realize it; that’s what you came for.
- Advice #1 for introverts who don’t drink: Get out of your comfort zone. You must meet these are amazing people!
- Advice #2 for introverts who don’t drink: Get out of the madness. Practice self-care and take time off when you need it.
- Say goodbye. Really. If you’re in a standing situation (not a line), don’t hold a brand new friend for more than 6 minutes. If you love them, set them free. You’ll find them again (and they’ll be glad to see you)!
STEP THREE — NEXT LEVEL SH*#
- Plan, plan, plan. Pivot, pivot, pivot. Be where you are, and you can’t lose. (Woo!)
- Stay connected with your new best colleagues in tech. Remember who you met. Connect on LinkedIn. Blog about your experience. Keep the good conversations going, and next year’s Summit will be here before your tears have dried.
- Find slides and videos on SlideShare and YouTube after the Summit. Friday talks on the Castro Theater Main Stage will be recorded.
- Save the date for Lesbians Who Tech NY Summit, Sept. 22–24, 2016.
Lesbians Who Tech is a community of queer women (and allies) in and around tech. The Lesbians Who Tech Summit has been called the most diverse technology conference for our focus on increasing the participation and visibility of women, LGBTQ women and LGBTQ women of color in tech. Learn more at www.lesbianswhotech.org