Posts Tagged ‘recap’

Event recap with Girl Develop It Ottawa

Last Wednesday, Serena Ngai of Girl Develop It Ottawa presented her case about the revolution of women in technology. From Mattel’s Barbie career innovations to five-year old girls dreaming of being astronauts, Serena pointed out the large social gap between girls and boys in the field of computer science and everything related.

When you Google search “computer scientist”, what’s the first image that appears? Is it a guy with glasses and a plaid shirt? Trust us, we’re not being biased. In fact, research has shown the number of women with bachelor degrees in computer sciences has decreased rapidly over the past 20 years from 37 per cent to less than 20 per cent. Today, less than one per cent of women would be interested in studying computer science as an elective in university. But, there is hope!

In 2010, Mattel posted a public survey asking girls which career they would like Barbie to pursue. To everyone’s surprise, the number one career was computer engineer. Are women beginning to see technology as a fun, innovative, career savvy form of income?  Let’s hope so!

To help regain the number of women in computer sciences, Serena and Gail Carmichael founded Girl Develop It Ottawa to bring back the flare and fun of building websites in a supportive environment. Serena taught us how technical skills can be valuable for your career and any career, why this “women in technology” thing really matters, and how their upcoming workshops can help you become the next Marissa Mayer. Well, in part.

Girl Develop It is hosting their next workshop Intro to HTML and CSS on Nov. 29 and Dec. 6, from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. They’re also looking for volunteers to help teach workshops and share technological skills with Ottawa women. If you or someone you know likes to teach and is tech savvy, contact Serena or Gail.

And lastly, congratulations to our Girl Geek prize winners who went home with fabulous gifts from our event sponsors – the National Arts Centre, Media Miser, and Ingrid Aesthetics.

To read more about this month’s event, check out the following reviews from our Girl Geek attendees:

Amy Campsall (blog post)@AmyCampsall

Alexandra Reid – @TechAlly

Mel Gallant – @MelGallant

Hana Abaza – @HanaAbaza


May 25th GGD Ottawa Event Recap

Truthfulness, consultative decision-making and constant learning.  Simple concepts to understand but so hard to implement! Who doesn’t want to work in an environment where opportunities and challenges are always out in the open, where challenges are overcome as a team and where lessons are  applied the next time around?

Guest speaker Ellen Grove shares information on Agile principles and practices.

These Agile principles and practices is what our speaker, Ellen Grove, came to talk to us about….in 30 minutes. So here are some of the highlights and links for you to get the full story:

  • Agile is highly collaborative in nature
  • Work can get started with just enough information, there is no need  to predict all the changes up front
  • Work is prioritized by the customer and priorities can change from one iteration to the next
  • Openeness with the customer is not only OK, it is expected
  • Agile is a rich method for collecting data and feeding it back into your processes
  • When an iteration is two weeks, what’s the risk of trying something out?
  • Agile methods are great at exposing impediments

Additional links:

All this being said, you’ve read our event summary, reviewed the above links and see the value Agile implementations offer.  The issue is you’re not in a position to change your company’s project delivery methodology.  How can you become more Agile as a team member? Ellen recommends two things:

  1. Use a task board – it’s a great way to visualize work and expose bottlenecks.
  2. Nothing beats a team face-to-face sanity check. Not an hour long status meeting, just a quick (15-minute time boxed) way to update one another on work accomplished, work coming up and to expose any roadblocks standing in the way of completing the work.

More questions? You can find Ellen on Twitter and LinkedIn, you can send her an email or you can access her bookmarks for more information.

So there you have it.  Go out and be Agile!

p.s.: We’re already planning our next event so stay tuned.  We plan these events for the GGD Ottawa community so please send any topic or speaker suggestions or general feedback our way.

Recap: Oct. 26 2009 with Maureen McCann!

I’d like to start our recap by thanking all of the people that attended our second Girl Geek Dinner in Ottawa.  Not only did you guys make it out on a Monday night, but some of you already even blogged about it! As organizers we are grateful for your enthusiasm and you continue to motivate us to do better with each event.

Girl Geek OttawaOur venue of choice this time was The Empire Grill, the room was setup in a single, and very long table.  Turns out this was the perfect setup for the exercise our speaker, Maureen McCann, had in mind.  This exercise is a personal favourite of mind, the driving force behind it is that sometimes we get so caught up in our disappointments that we forget how many great things we have to offer.  It’s a game of first impressions. You are given a colored index card and asked to write your name and a word that you feel describes you.   We were then asked to pass our card to our left, take a look at the person to our right and write on their card the car that would best describe them.  This is the first impression part.  We passed the cards to the left again and are asked to write a beverage that best describes the person a couple chairs to the right.  And so we went for a couple more descriptions.  You then receive your card back and get to read how other people perceive you (at least for that night).  Most of us found our descriptions were pretty bang on!  I guess this is good news, since HR people and recruiters are forced to make decisions based on first impressions.

But enough games.  Did you know that a US survey showed 50-60% of respondents were unhappy with their current jobs?  How about that just in the same way you perform maintenance on your car, you should be performing maintenance on your career?

Maureen self describes herself as the Simon Cowell of career coaches and says the biggest challenge people face in their careers is themselves.  Best way to save ourselves from ourselves?   3 steps:

  1. Know who you are and what you have to offer.
  2. Understand the local labor market.
  3. Have the ability to sell yourself.  Take a look at yourself from the employer’s perspective and articulate the value you bring to the table.

Some more practical advice:

  1. Don’t use Time New Roman font for cover letters and resumes.
  2. Don’t use Word or Office templates…stand out.
  3. Are you a designer? Why don’t you flaunt your stuff on your resume?
  4. If you have 60% of the job requirements, go for it!  Don’t screen yourself out of the competition.
  5. If you are looking for a senior level position and have 7 LinkedIn connection, step it up.
  6. What goes online, stays online.  You’re on 24 hours, don’t leave half filled profiles.
  7. Go beyond Googling yourself, setup a Google alert for your name.
  8. Check out your Google Quotient (there’s a small cost for the tool, you’ll have to enter your email)

Whether you are searching for a job or looking to move up within your current company.  Don’t forget to celebrate your successes along the way.  An interview, a follow-up are all things to be proud of.  This builds up your confidence and you can tie that back to those first impressions.

Great night. Great speaker. Great company, so we are happy to call this event another huge success.  Thanks for attending, we hope we see you again before the holidays.

Recap: Sept. 15 2009 with Tara ‘missrogue’ Hunt!

I don’t think Mel, Kelly or myself could have asked for a better kickoff to our Ottawa Girl Geek Dinner chapter.  A packed room, great food and an exciting, passionate entrepreneur and author as our speaker.  We hope you guys had as much fun as we did and that you got a chance to meet at least one other amazing woman.

So the night started around 6pm at the Black Tomato as old friends and new started to arrive.  First thing was first…we put in our food orders!  Once we got that covered we gave the mic to our speaker, Tara Hunt.  As anyone within a mile of her can tell, she is an entrepreneur at heart and she wishes that for everyone.

Tara Hunt at #GGDOttawa

Tara speaks to Ottawa's geeky girl community about her career experiences in high tech and interactive marketing

Tara told us she started her first company while a single mom to a preschooler.  She began to attract clients through speaking gigs, attending events and just good old fashioned networking.

She had big goals and during her first attempt to take over the world, or at least Toronto, she took some big risks that didn’t work out and ended up having to put her entrepreneurial dreams on hold.

Tara is a firm believer that taking big risks isn’t a bad thing.  When she set out she wanted to “change marketing.”  Why marketing? Like most of us, she spends a great deal of her time being a consumer and wants to be informed. Making informed decisions doesn’t only apply to buying great products and services, but also applies to buying from companies that (and while Tara put it a different way) lets just say “don’t suck.”  We all work hard for our money and we want it going to a good place.

Inspired by The Cluetrain Manifesto Tara set-out to start her second company in San Francisco.  With a smart blog, a great partner, and a mentor she could relate to, Tara stuck to her beliefs and continued to take risks making it all come together for the launch of Citizen Agency in June 2006.

Tara’s message to us:

Going into business is risky, you will fall on your face, you will be broke, you will wait for clients to pay…BUT…it is the most rewarding thing you can do.”

Her hope is that more women entrepreneurs will answer the call that has been put out by VCs and Angel Investors.

“There is money available and we need more women entrepreneurs, especially in the technology sector.

So there’s the secret.  Find your passion, work hard, network, take risks, stick to your beliefs and find a way to turn your passion into your business.

I can’t end the post without thanking the people that made our first Girl Geek Dinner in Ottawa happen:

  1. Social Media Breakfast – who brought Tara to Ottawa and introduced her to us.
  2. Thornley Fallis – who sponsored 10 hard working students so they could attend our dinner.
  3. CanvasPop – who have offered all our attendees a discount and a $100 gift certificate for one lucky lady.
  4. Scott Lake – who donated a hot looking AND talking ipod shuffle.
  5. Natasha D’Souza – for sponsoring our blog and helping us move our content over here.

Of course we also owe thanks to the Ottawa Girl Geek community for making the event such a success! We’d love to hear  your feedback. Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts on the event, Tara’s experiences and what advice / message she had that struck a chord with you.

OK, I just have one more thing for you guys.  Don’t forget to follow Tara’s dog Ridley on Twitter who is not only very cute, but also wears a hat.

Recap: Crowdsourcing Girl Geek Dinner results

*I could have sworn I had posted this early! Alas, it’s been sitting in the draft folder, but like they say, better late than never! -Kelly

First off, on behalf of Mel, Veronica and myself, I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the geeky girls who came out on Monday. We were a fantastic crowd and we got a ton of great feedback on how we should proceed. Please feel free to keep suggestions coming via comments on this post–I’m going to recap what we talked about.

Possible Topics

Some topics you indicated you’d be interested in learning more about:

  • Social media
  • Semantic Web
  • Web 2.0 or Web 3.0
  • Digital marketing
  • Workshops – setting up a WP blog, registering a domain
  • Open source
  • Legal and Copyright issues in an open web
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Case studies
  • Measuring quality of programs
  • ROI, monitoring
  • Demo of Beta tools, focus testing
  • Career development
  • Managing your personal brand
  • Using SM tools to collaborate internally
  • Women issues in the workplace
  • Networking and meetups (i.e “speed networking”, interactive networking games)

The preferred frequency of events is once per month, but avoiding summer, winter break, March break, etc. As for structure, many liked the format we went with (eat first, and present afterwards) and are fine with the start time of 7 p.m. Locations – not always downtown, but ensure accessible parking and public transit.

As for cost/fees, the preference is to pay your own dinner and a small fee upfront to secure your spot. In some instances it would be alright to pay for dinner in advance (when a restaurants wants a deposit or prix fixe menu) but not the norm.


There was a strong interest in initiating a mentorship program. We will create a mentorship section on this web site and create a process for pairing up experienced professionals with students/starting professionals.

That’s it in a nutshell. Please leave a comment if there’s anything else you’re interested in addressing. Oh and remember the hashtag for Girl Geek Dinners Ottawa is #ggdottawa. Use it on Twitter, blog posts, photos from events etc.

That’s all and we are *really* excited to see you when we officially kick things off in September!