It was just a few months ago that a new idea was born, and here we go: The new Geekettes Chapter in Hamburg was officially launched on this past Thursday, September 12th!
About 40 women were eager to hear about what “Hamburg Geekettes” is all about, listened to great keynote speeches and most importantly got to know each other. The launch party started at 6pm with a warm welcome speech by Hamburg Geekettes Ambassadors Diana Knodel and Tina Egolf, who highlighted our mission: Getting more girls and women into the tech- and startup world! Jess Erickson and Denise Philipp followed and told us the story of Berlin Geekettes. I was deeply impressed by what they had already achieved in Berlin. Tina Kulow (Corporate Communications, Facebook) welcomed us as the kick-off was hosted by Facebook and Inga Halpin (Partner Engineer, Facebook) told us about how she became interested in tech at a very early age and how this passion lead her to her current position as an Engineer at Facebook, first in Dublin and now here in Hamburg. Thanks so much to Facebook for hosting this event and supporting us!
How did you fall in love with tech?
Many women get into tech by coincidence, rather than choosing IT/computer science as their favorite choice in the first place. So was the case of Susanne Kaiser, CTO at JustSoftware, who is a great role-model for aspiring female tech enthusiasts. Susanne discussed how she got into tech and what should be done to get even more women interested in technology. Her career path is far from being a typical tech career path. It took Susanne quite a while before she started her studies of computer sciences, as she had to get around several obstacles, such as negative stereotypes of technology. Susanne pointed out the importance of reducing these negative stereotypes of a male-dominated tech world with the stigma of boring, uninspiring work places and of spreading the fascination of tech at an early stage - in schools.
Those women that are already in tech need to be more visible as role-models to demonstrate to other women: Here we are - it's feasible and fun - be part of us!
Thank you Susanne for being one of these role-models!
Just today I read an article stating that the EU estimates that 900,000 IT vacancies will not be filled in 2015. We definitely need to inspire more women to start a career path towards tech. And we can take action to achieve it, I believe, by having a joint vision and a strong community, given that it was passion for technology that brought us all together. As being one of this rare species myself (I work as an IT consultant), I kind of got used to the underrepresentation of women in tech throughout university and my career, as well as to the lack of female role-models in my field. When I was talking to all these passionate women at the kick-off, I realized, that the Hamburg Geekettes community is giving us something, that many of us have missed for years, the sisterhood of like-minded female tech enthusiasts. It reaches and connects women across companies and fields of expertise, bringing us all to the next level.
Remembering your childhood to find your passion
Do you remember what you loved to do most when you where a child? Maybe this is the key to finding your passion. Natalie Richter (Founder and CEO at SlashCup) discussed her inspiration for founding Slash Cup, an eco-friendly and sustainable Coffee-To-Go Cup, which creates less waste in order to shrink the mountains of unrecyclable trash caused by non-recyclable Coffee-To-Go Cups. When Natalie stepped to the front, she woke up the little girl in me by letting us all remember our sweetest childhood memories. When she was a girl, she loved the process of crafting, building and producing things with friends, rather than just playing. That’s how Natalie remembered her childhood and she found her passion by following a simple rule: She decided to do exactly what she always loved most: To build and invent things and to work together as a team to pursue a vision. And it is just this experience that she is now feeling again in entrepreneurship and founding SlashCup. Moreover, it became clear how important networking is for getting a start-up rolling. Without networking and sharing experience on events like this, her start-up probably wouldn't exist and wouldn't be half as much fun either.
After having a couple of delicious snacks, we popped back and listened once more to Tina and Diana who outlined upcoming events and talked about what else is to be expected as part of the Hamburg Geekettes movement, e.g. the Berlin Geekettes Hackathon in October (11-13th) where we will have a sponsored bus by XING from Hamburg to Berlin and back. Sweet!
It's all about networking
In the end, I was truly inspired by the ladies I had met at this kick-off event. It had been a nice mixture of programming experts, tech enthusiasts, start-up women, designers, and other creatives. I was excited to find more women passionate about IT and technology as I am, to share experiences and to feel the spirit of sisterhood. With Hamburg Geekettes we are given an open, supportive and encouraging community platform, a breeding ground for great ideas and great careers. You could really sense the passion these talented ladies had. Not to mention the fact that no one wanted to go home and conversations were lively continued after the event.
I’m pretty sure everyone returned home still keeping the excited grin on their face, knowing that this was … just the beginning!
Hope to see you ladies soon!
About the author
With a professional background in Technical Communication and Information Management Theresa Grotendorst has always been working at the interface between technology and the rest of the world. After graduating from university in Glasgow, Scotland, she moved to Hamburg, currently working as an IT Consultant with regards to Content Management. Theresa is passionate about content strategy with heavy interest in making content mobile-ready, dynamic and smart, working for a better content experience. Besides that, she loves to travel the world, always trying to get more female friends into tech.