Throughout my time as a Talent Acquisition intern with SAP iXp, I have interviewed several professionals within the business to learn more about their careers and passions. I recently spoke with Concur's Manager of Integration Services Carrie Wood, and was excited to learn about her experience attending The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference last year.
If you’re not familiar with Grace Hopper, it’s a three-day celebration for women in computing and it's the world’s largest gathering of women in technology. Attendees are able to hear from female leaders across many industries, and grow their networks through learning sessions and activities. Through Carrie I was able to gain a deeper understanding of what the conference entails, and from her experience at last year’s event we gathered four reasons to get excited for #GHC2017:
1. The atmosphere
EM: What’s it like at Grace Hopper?
CW: It’s just crazy excitement. It’s usually at a really large conference center, and it's full of people who are very happy to be there. The conference puts on all kinds of professional and social events—one night they threw a disco party with the lights off. You can get as involved as you want.
IBM CEO, Ginni Rometty speaks to attendees
2. The speakers
EM: Which keynote speaker was memorable for you?
CW: IBM CEO Ginni Rometty. Rometty talked about how she worked her way up to being the CEO of IBM. She shared a lot of personal stories, so the audience felt like they could relate to her. She has kids, she’s married and talks about how to balance it all. She also spoke about the problems that she faces while being in a male dominant workplace—especially when she was a lot younger. Her perseverance and pushing through as a female in technology was very, very inspiring.
Women attend a job fair event during the conference
3. The network
EM: What about the people at Grace Hopper? What was the vibe there like?
CW: It was really informal, with a lot of conversations with people sitting at my table, having lunch, etc. I got to meet young women, follow up with them on LinkedIn and just share my story since many of them wanted to hear about how I got to where I am today.
I shared with them about where I work, what I do and what Concur is all about. There’s a lot of walking around and a lot of talking to people!
Did we mention that the swag is pretty great, too?
4. The knowledge
EM: What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone attending the conference?
CW: Be prepared for there to be a lot of people, and for some of the sessions to fill up. Pick the ones you really want to go to, get there early and get in line to get a seat to ensure you aren’t turned away from a full room. That is one thing that I didn’t realize going into it, so that was a key takeaway for me.