Authored by Whitney Bertram and Loren Gassaway
We love being part of Colorado’s tech community. There are so many dynamic voices and creative thinkers here that we are always learning something new to take back to our clients, our candidates, and our daily lives. For example, the most recent Women in Technology (WIT) Conference, held by the Colorado Technology Association on June 10th, gave us more than just food for thought: it gave us new perspectives.
The over 600 women gathered at the Denver Botanic Gardens in Chatfield to participate in the WIT Conference was an incredible sight to see. Everyone, and we mean everyone, was there to have meaningful conversations, find their inspiration, and forge new opportunities for growth. The Botanic Gardens offered a gorgeous setting for some of Colorado tech industry’s best and brightest minds to dig into new knowledge and come out stronger.
Now, imagine volunteering at the Women in Technology Conference like we did and you can guess how excited we were to put this recap together. We learned so much about the challenges and opportunities facing women in the industry. Plus, we gained some real-world strategies from inspiring women in leadership roles throughout Colorado.
There were no shortage of lessons for WIT Conference attendees, but we’ll stick to what we’ll remember most. Speakers and interactive sessions were dedicated to build up professional women as a whole, on both the technical and interpersonal side.
For instance, one speaker gave us ways to expand our technical toolkit even when we might not be in a technical role. In today’s business world, technical comprehension is like a Wonka bar’s golden ticket: it can open the gates to your dreams. As part of a technology staffing firm, there were so many resources and tips we picked up that will help better us connect with and serve our clients and candidates.
One of the most inspiring parts of the Women in Technology Colorado event came during an armchair discussion on the, “Art of Being a Sponsor.” In front of 600 women, she explained how our success relies on one another. Together, we can foster our growth and uplift others. So many talks about achieving success overlook how important it is to have other people at your side to complement your skills and refine your knowledge.
The talk really focused on how important it was for professionals, at any level, to have someone sponsoring them and engaged in their career success. And it’s not just a one way street. Women who choose to be sponsors also learn how to be better leaders and grow to understand their own craft in more nuanced ways. Everyone involved in these types of partnerships become more well-rounded individuals, giving their careers the fuel to thrive in a sometimes tough as nails world. Just looking around the crowd, you could see that idea taking root.
What everyone takes away from an event like this is different, but we both walked out of there ready to tackle anything that comes. Just thinking about some of the best quotes of the day gets us energized. We both had our own favorites. The keynote speaker, Cathy Avgiris, Executive Vice President and CFO of Comcast Cable, said something simple but profound that stuck with us.
Cathy said, “Let them tell you no,” reemphasizing that you should never be the one to get in the way of your own goals and vision. There are an enough people out there who will try to be an obstacle to your success. Don’t let yourself be one of them. Her point was to recognize your self-value and chase what’s important to you. Often, that means setting goals, taking risks, and having a willingness to learn along the way. And most importantly, not talking yourself out of going for things that you know you want to accomplish.
Bijal Shah, Vice President of Analytics & Data Products at Ibotta, also shared some sage advice. She stated that, “You cannot be, what you cannot see.” The act of envisioning and planning are the first steps to achieving what you want. It’s as simple as that. You have to start thinking about how to reach your goals before you know how to act. From there, all of the stepping stones will begin to fall into place with hard work on your part.
With a chunk of the event focused on giving back to others, we were reminded that our work, day in and day out, has us on the right path. Volunteering at an event like the Women in Technology Colorado Conference helped us to give back to our community, strengthen the bonds within our networks, and recharge ourselves for the challenges ahead.