Our first ever 10,000 Women in Tech Conference, held in November 2017 was an outstanding success with women from across Asia Pacific joining to listen to an exceptional line up of 56 industry leaders and speakers from around the world.
The week of virtual discussions, sessions and talks brought together delegates working within the technology industry, aspiring tech workers, women and tech groups, universities and businesses. Being a virtual conference, participants were able to join from anywhere in the world, interact with speakers and participants, ask questions and participate in the robust discussions.
Maureen Frank, Chief Disruption Officer at emberin, and one of the conference speakers summed up the event’s success; “emberin’s first 10,000 Women in Tech APAC Virtual Conference has been a great success. I don’t think we could have had better speakers! We were fortunate to have 56 senior experts from across the world from top technology companies such as Facebook, Cisco, Dell, Accenture and more. We also had some inspirational entrepreneurs who have founded their own successful tech start-ups. Our speakers, and the broad selection of partners, really made this conference possible and most importantly, helped make a difference to women who work in technology.”
Some of the most watched speakers included Sophie Guerin, Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Asia Pacific, Japan and China (APJC) at Dell, who spoke about how Dell closely monitors employee engagement scores. Sophie discussed the direct correlation between high employee engagement and higher customer engagement, and how to engage men to take a more active role in gender inclusion.
Speakers such as Elizabeth Broderick, UN Special Rapporteur, Discrimination Against Women, spoke about the importance of actively including women, and that we all have a responsibility to make changes, so that young women can feel more empowered and included within the tech industry. As Elizabeth pointed out, “If we do not actively and intentionally include women, the system will unintentionally exclude them.”
Many of the speakers gave career advice for those working, or aspiring to work within the tech industry or to be a female leader in their chosen career. Sarita Singh, Director SMB, South East Asia at Facebook spoke about the need to take risks and to challenge ourselves by trusting our judgement. Erica Golden from Apple gave practical tips to help build confidence, such as recording yourself on your phone and watching it back repeatedly until you get it right. She also spoke about how many women do not apply for jobs even if they meet 90-90% of the job description and the need for that statistic to change.
Speakers also shared stories of success and challenges they’ve faced throughout their careers, with Trasy Lou Walsh from Uber sharing her story about being the first female General Manager of Uber in Asia and the first female to be pregnant in the office in Macau. She pressed the importance of setting ‘sacred time’ in your diary whereby the rest of the team can’t contact you or set meetings.
Tony Ward at Dropbox highlighted the importance of being authentic and being true to what your values are deep down inside. He often hears people state that their values are that family is the most important thing in the world to them, but then they work a job that means they’re on the road for 75% of the time and therefore aren’t living this value.
There was also great engagement and feedback from participants who were actively part of the discussions taking place. “Holding our week-long conference ‘virtually’ was a concept that was still quite new to a lot of participants. We’ve had some really positive feedback though that this saved on travel costs and gave people the flexibility to watch from their homes and offices,” Maureen Frank said.
A post conference survey demonstrated that 66% of respondents had never attended a virtual conference before, and 100% of respondents said that they would happily attend another virtual conference in the future. 83% of participants rated the conference 4 or 5 stars out of 5.
Some participant comments on social media include:
“The results we’ve had so far from our post-conference learning activity have been really positive. Participants have identified the core traits of their personal brand, how to adapt their communication styles, how to take calculated career risks, how to raise their visibility in the workplace, what their elevator pitch is, how to reduce stress and manage work/life balance, and more.”
“This conference has given participants, speakers, us at emberin, and many others around the world the opportunity and tools to make the changes we want to see within the tech industry and to empower women to take that leap forward in their careers. As Sarita Singh at Facebook said, ‘Rising tides lift all boats’.” Maureen Frank said.
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