This is the first year Cloudmark is attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) and I’m thrilled to be here. Last fall, I attended one of Google’s Women in the Cloud event, where most of the panelists had just attended GHC15 and spoke so highly of it. I knew immediately I must attend the following year. GHC is the biggest worldwide annual event for women technologists bringing together 15,000 people across 83 countries.
Yesterday, IBM’s first woman CEO, Ginni Rometty, kicked off the conference by delivering one of the first sessions. She said, “Never let someone define who you are. Growth and comfort do not coexist,” telling us in the audience – and to thousands of people live-streaming – that in order to take risks, it isn’t likely to be comfortable.
“I learned that growth and comfort never coexist,” Rometty said. “It’s the same for people, countries and companies. Ask yourself, when do you learn the most? I guarantee it’s when you felt at risk.” For me, this second lesson hit especially home for me.
Her story about being given a chance at a promotion felt similar to mine; in that I, too, initially thought, “I am not ready, give me more time.” Rometty asked the audience to question whether a man would have ever considered themselves as not ready, or ill-prepared to take on a new, more prominent role. Being recently promoted to VP of Operations, I find myself being pushed into new and challenging positions almost every day. Had I turned down the role, I would have stayed in my comfortable spot as Director, and not found out how I could grow. In my new position, I am learning how to communicate more effectively, manage budgets, and delegate to my fellow managers even more.
The Grace Hopper Celebration has seen immerse growth in the past 20 years, starting with 500 people at their first conference to 2,700 in 2011. Today, over 15,000 individuals are here. As mentioned during the keynote, “[…] We have started a movement.”
Women are doing incredible, amazing things with technology, and having companies that support us is key to both of our success and the company’s. As I’ve witnessed so far throughout this convention, women are fully capable, willing, and need to produce fantastic products, technologies and systems.