Member Blog: My First Grace Hopper Experience

 

October 17, 2017

Member Blog: My First Grace Hopper Experience

Author: Swathi Puskur

On Wednesday, October 4, 2017, I had the privilege of attending the Grace Hopper Celebration in Orlando, Florida — by far the best conference I have ever attended. It is very rare to see so many women technologists at once, and what a sight it was! The energy I felt in the first keynote was something I will never forget. Grace Hopper covered a wide array of speakers, founders and entrepreneurs, and leaders, of every age and of every color! It was inspirational to hear the stories of their humble beginnings and their life experiences in the field of technology. Their journeys from the world of COBOL to the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI), made us realize how powerful technology has become and how it’s seeping into our everyday lives. “Humans trust robots, but robots are programmed by humans and propagate their biases”, said Dr. Ayanna Howard in her address. It’s upon us, as women, to help each other and ensure a future where machines truly represent the human population, not a fraction of it.

My most defining moment was when philanthropist and technologist Melinda Gates talked about the dismal percentage of women technologists and leaders and opening the flood gates to help increase that number – by that she meant not just going after the trickling pipeline of computer science graduates, but exploring several pathways for girls and women to find their way into technology. Her call for action was for each one of us to take the responsibility of bringing at least 10 women into technology. There were about 18,000 women in that hall. How wonderful would it be if each one of us began to pay it forward from now on!

There’s so much more that I took away from Grace Hopper this year. To hear the some of the keynote recordings, click here. I hope the conference grows each year and more women get to have this experience.

Continuing the very inspirational “I AM…” movement that started at Grace Hopper – “I AM strong and will change the world – one woman at a time.”

 

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