Celebrating 5 Years of Blogging with NextGen Tech Women

This coming Saturday will mark my five year “blogoversary”. A laborious blog post lavishing personal reflections doesn’t feel right. As more time passes, such inward focused accolades tend to make me uncomfortable. Writers write, that’s what we do, and for me blogging is writing, an activity I will likely partake in the rest of my life. It is an honor not only to write, but to be read, and so I want to thank you my readers. To celebrate, I’m breaking this blog’s rule of not using the first person, and asking you to join me in a two week campaign benefiting the next generation of technology women (see my fundraising page).

I have several reasons for wanting to support women in tech, not least of which is that this side of the technology sector — communications media — is dominated by women AND both of my business partners in Zoetica, Kami Huyse and Beth Kanter, are women in tech. But before going in depth into why this matters to me, I’d like to provide some details into the actual cause.

The competitive NextGen Tech Women fundraiser (Allyson Kapin, Danny Brown, Julie Pippert, and Amber Mac also have independent teams) will benefit the National Center for Women & Information Technology’s (NCWIT) Award for Aspirations in Computing. The award recognizes young women in high-school for their computing- related achievements and interests. By generating visibility for these young women in their local communities, the Award encourages their continued interest in computing, attracts the attention and support of educational and corporate institutions, and emphasizes at a personal level the importance of women’s participation in computing.

Anyone can join us and start their own fundraiser. We are going to continue until Thursday, May 5, with a final big push in celebration of Mother’s Day. NextGen Tech Women hopes to achieve $25,000 in donations from individuals. Anything helps, $25, $50 or $100, please give what you can.

Supporting Women In Tech

Soleil, the Google Baby

In last winter’s series of conversations with Robert Scoble, Danny Brown and dozens of commenters about the gender imbalance in the technology industry, several things became clear to me. Blogging about the problem won’t help, and that action needs to be taken highlighting successful, capable women current and future in this sector. It is only through supporting, encouraging and highlighting women in tech that the larger industry will be forced to reckon with what the statistics already show: Executive women in tech companies equate to better run, more profitable enterprises. Thus, my support for NextGen Tech Women.

There is a real need for this. Here are several attitudes that have been revealed or alluded to me as I have blogged about this topic over the years:

  • We try to find women speakers, but there aren’t any out there. That’s why they don’t submit to speak
  • Women in tech are not really tech women if they are not coders
  • If a women is not a CEO, she is not qualified to speak about technology
  • Women are their own worst enemies, and hold themselves back

These statements really bug me. Whether you feel they are true or not, they are all statements that show a system architected towards men. The irony of the middle two statements is that they are often repeated and espoused by men who are often not coders, and often not CEOs. When considering my daughter Soleil’s future (pictured above), I think this is the kind of ignorance she will have to swim upstream against.

I know she can do it if she wants to. It’s in her blood. My maternal grandmother was a successful entrepreneur twice, first owning her own art gallery in Phoenix, then running a winery in Provence. My mom still has the largest syndication of any astrologer in English speaking newspapers globally. But I’d rather try to address this problem now, perhaps her road may become easier, just as today’s women have benefited from the equal rights era decades ago.

Raised in the family that I was, I know that women just like men can set their mind on a goal and achieve it. If given the opportunity,they can be great in any profession. Greatness is a human possibility, not a gender specific one. That’s why we need to support women in technology, and give everyone a level playing field.

I hope you will join me over the next two weeks, and donate, participate, discuss, and share about this important issue. I shared some of the strong women in my life, past and present. Who are some of the great female role models you have known?

15 thoughts on “Celebrating 5 Years of Blogging with NextGen Tech Women

  1. I come from several generations of independent and enterprising women, as I wrote in a post last Independence Day http://bit.ly/WomenInItaly. My grandmother just passed away so I was there recently to reconnect with her spirit and support mother. So I had the chance to visit with a very strong-willed, smart, and gorgeous niece who gets technology at 18 months. She’s my next hero.

    • I am sorry for your loss, Valeria. I remember when it happened at Sx. Your niece is lucky to have such strong heritage in her family. She will surely do well.

  2. Geoff, your daughter Soleil is fortunate to have a father who is already perceptive of the continuing challenge for women in business (and technology) to oftentimes have to swim upstream (or in other words, tap dance at double time) to keep up with their peers.

    Applause to you and your team for the NCWIT initiative and good luck with the fund-raising efforts between now and Thursday, May 5.

    And (because I know you are already in Cincinnati for the Cincinnati Social Media event this Thursday morning) … welcome to our city.

      • Geoff, thanks for the excellent CincySM (Cincinnati Social Media) presentation this morning. I had to leave early for a client meeting … or I would have said hello in person.

        I’ve come back to the office to learn a little more about the Haagen-Dazs Honey-Bee Cause Marketing Campaign you referenced in your presentation.

        You are spot-on in your observation that the company incorporated strong strategy behind their efforts … including …
        – adding the important social media elements to the campaign;
        – tying the efforts and traffic back to the Haagen-Dazs website itself;
        – sustaining the campaign’s/ participants’ energy, momentum, interest past the initial excitement; and
        – leaving the participants with a good ‘taste’ in their mouth (i.e., they really made a difference by participating.)

        Good luck as well to you and your Zoetica team for your own NextGen Tech Women campaign. By the way, the campaign donation system on your site is painless and user-friendly. I appreciated that.

        My best to you,
        Joanne

  3. My female hero? It might seem corny–but my mom. She does everything and serves so many out of true empathy, compassion, kindness, gratitude and humbleness–expecting nothing in return and asking for nothing in return. She acts out of true faith. That’s who I want to be.

    Great blog, a great guy and a wonderful cause–thank you Geoff for all you do, give, share and celebrate!

    • Thank you for sharing this story, Alex. What an example, and so nice to hear a real person as opposed to a celeb or an ideal.

  4. Geoff, I’m really glad to see that you’re continuing to embrace the cause. I am the chair of the Women in Technology Education Foundation. Our vision and mission are:

    Our Vision: Empowering women to change the world by excelling in technology-related careers.

    Our Mission: Use education to create awareness, excitement, and opportunities among girls and women to pursue successful technology-related careers.

    Through our partnership with Women in Technology (a DC based organization of nearly 1,000 women and men) and their Girls in Technology Committee, we seek to provide role models and programs to help solve the growing workforce issue of not enough people to fill the openings that local technology companies have. According to NCWIT, in 2009, 57% of students graduating from college were women, yet only 18% of the students graduating with a computer science degree were female. As you say, talk is not enough. Without taking very proactive steps to attract women into the technology workforce, it won’t be long before companies can’t find enough employees to fill their openings without going offshore.

    Thank you for helping to raise the visibility of this important issue.

    Dede

    • Dede:

      Definitely an ongoing issue, and one that can only change with mindful progress. Now what can we do about the 43% men figure, that’s not good either! Sigh. WIT is a great org, and has been in DC for a long time. Glad you and Kelly are involved.

      Hope all is well, Dede!

  5. Pingback: NetSol Matches $1000 in NextGen Tech Women Donations | Geoff Livingston's Blog

Comments are closed.