Lessons from ELA Conf 2016

Delphic is undeniably a tech company, but when extended the offer to attend the ELA Conf for women in tech, I hesitated to register because in my current Account Management position. I wasn’t sure that I was considered a woman in tech. I mean, I used tech, did tech-y things, and have been a deeper techie previously, but was not sure that I could consider myself a part of the tech world when I was coordinating and strategizing more than doing the actual tasks.

To my surprise, my request to attend was accepted (it was also a Friday evening / all day Saturday event – sorry, weekend). I was excited to learn more about the industry, my fellow co-workers, and of course glean from other perspectives of being a female in an innovative, fast-paced, male-dominated industry. At the same time, I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be taken seriously because I don’t write code, or conduct UX research, or know how to optimize content for SEO value.

As with most things, I decided to focus on figuring out which outfit would make me feel most confident, I looked up the address on WAZE, and joined my team in exploring what it truly means to be a woman in tech. The two day conference was empowering, thought-provoking, and confirmed that tech is a wide category with many needs; my role was just as important. This conference was an opportunity to better understand how women in tech currently operate, and what we can do to further our influence, including the following takeaways:

  • Networking – Tap into those in your network that you find inspiring and meetup to discuss their goals and learnings. You don’t have to figure it out for yourself – so utilize your community and create a “squad” that can empower one another to reach their goals.

  • Feelings – Even in a business environment, when facing a situation where you are not sure if something is appropriate, or handled correctly, the best way to judge is how it makes you feel. You need to understand your feelings to address or even dismiss the issue.

  • Feedback – Being able to receive and give valuable feedback is an art. Always consider that good feedback is aimed at improvement, should offer a solution instead of just pointing out an area of improvement, and sometimes needs to be processed further to be fully understood. The best way to grow is to improve, so seek it out, even when it’s difficult, to get more used to it.
  • Respect – Show people how you want to be treated, and how you will not be treated, in a respectful way. Set boundaries with your comfortability level, and communicate when you feel they are being crossed.

  • Salary – There is enough of a wage gap between the sexes, so do your part to negotiate your salary not just for yourself, but womankind. This means doing your research, not throwing out a figure first, and standing for your value.
  • Self Care – Women are often nurturers and have more difficulty taking time to recharge themselves. Finding out what grounds you is important, and schedule time with yourself to make sure it happens regularly. (Bonus note: Delphic’s own Ashley Bernard sat on this panel!)

  • I Don’t Know – As daunting as it may seem to now have an answer, there is a lot of power in admitting when you don’t have enough information, and then are able to show that you can problem solve and are transparent. (Slidedeck)

We had a great time at #elaconf and definitely look forward to next year’s conference. For more snapshots, check out the official Storify.

 

 

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