Wonder Women Tech
I had the honor of attending the Wonder Women Tech conference this weekend in Long Beach, CA. After picking up my Zandra’s Zone press pass, I was immediately welcomed into the positive, supportive environment. I soon found that I was in a place that beautifully aligned with a lot of my own message: believing in yourself, following your heart, being creative, the importance of equality (in many senses) and living the life you have imagined.
The Long Beach Convention Center is a stunning location right near the water. Hopefully someone reading this in a few years will have no idea what I’m talking about when I say this next part, but this is a very divisive moment in our country. Watching the division and hatred flare has been heartbreaking. Even with activism steps you can take, it sometimes feels like you can’t really make a change. At this convention, hope was rampant, while cooperation and collaboration were the cornerstones of much of the discussion. It was like a balm for my soul in that way.
The conference itself: equality, diversity, inclusion
As the title of the conference suggests, the focus was around tech and getting more women involved and accepted. But there was a larger theme of equality, diversity, inclusion and togetherness. It was wonderful to see and experience people being open and supportive of each other.
There were quite a few components to the conference. One section was a ‘Start Up Alley’. Within it you could find many interesting and innovative ideas that the owners were happy to chat with you about. Several rooms contained sessions with speakers and mentors. One of the highlights for many people was the diversity career fair. Held in a large room, the fair was open not only to the conference attendees, but also to the public. And then there was the main stage where the larger panels occurred. I found the women speaking to be thoughtful and intelligent, while not being pompous or condescending.
My one critique, which is less of a critique than a frustration, was that there should have been more people there! There were so many great exhibitors, sponsors and speakers. I looked around and thought to myself, “these rooms should be filled”. In addition to be timely as of August 2017, the topics explored were timely in the larger conversation of equality in the workplace and breaking down stigmas about where women “should” and “shouldn’t” work.
WWWT Mission Statement & final thoughts
“Wonder Women Tech (WWT) is an organization that produces year-round programming and national and international conferences that highlight, educate, and celebrate women and diversity in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math), innovation and entrepreneurialism.” They definitely seemed to be practicing what they’re preaching. Founder Lisa Mae Brunson clearly has a vision and a lot to offer. I hope that in the coming months and years, more and more people get involved and can attend. There’s something wonderfully exciting, yet comforting, about being surrounded by a large group of people who think as you do.