Lesbians Who Tech & Allies Summit

SO I ATTENDED MY VERY FIRST TECH SUMMIT!!!!!

Lets Talk About It!

The 3rd annual Lesbians Who Tech & Allies London Summit took place on November 16th 2019.

I initially came across LWT San Fransico on Twitter and had major FOMO, it looked so badass! Luckily for us on this side of the pond, LWT also has a London Summit.

I personally want to give a shoutout the organisers for offering ticket scholarships (discounted ticket price)! As I’m in a non-tech role and organisation, I don’t have the luxury of my company providing tickets. I came across the tickets pretty last minute but knew I just had to be there.

THE MORNING OF

I arrived super early, fired up, ready to be in a room full of badass women.

I’m skipping the part of the awkward elevator journey of dead silence and everyone avoiding eye contact.

Lesbians Who Tech event space @ Facebook

As I was one of the few early birds, I decided to hover around the coffee machine, hoping to bump into other addicts that I could get the small talk going with. It is quite nerve-wracking attending events alone, but I always push myself to do it and to make the ‘first move’.

Me listening intensely

I met this lovely woman who works at ThoughtWorks by the coffee table and it turns out that she is a self-taught Software Developer! She taught herself Java for a year and successfully career transitioned into a software developer.

Those of you who have been following my blog or me on twitter know that I began my self-taught journey earlier on this year. It’s pretty tough! Her experience was really encouraging, she shared a couple of online resources to help me on my journey which I greatly appreciated!

The summit kicks off with our wonderful hosts Amy Lynch and Ruky South.

I previously met Ruky at the WOMEN DRIVEN DEVELOPMENT EVENT AT DELIVEROO. It was really good to catch up and see Ruky up their hosting. The Women in tech scene in London gets smaller the more events I attend!

All of the women who spoke on the day were amazing, I mean look at the agenda:

Lesbians Who Tech + Allies London speaker agenda

I’ll briefly touch on the highlights of the day:

Radha Narayan, Product Manager, Google

Radha spoke about ‘Addressing systemic inequity in large-scale technology.’

Radha used an analogy of the Sorting Hat from Harry Potter to explain how a machine learning algorithm can look at patterns encoded by humans and come to a false interpretation. For example, a machine learning algorithm trying to replicate the Sorting Hat’s decisions may come to the conclusion that you need red hair to get into Gryffindor.

Credit to @GalaxyAllieCat

“We need to be building things with everyone, not for everyone.”

Radha posed this great question, “What are the values of the society that brought these structures and systems into being?”

Let that sink in.


ADEOLA OGUNWOLE, Head of Digital Media, Here Technologies

Adeola spoke about ‘Owning a purposeful ‘No’: How to Achieve Success in Tech’.

I really felt Adeola was speaking to me here, many of us find it hard to say no to people for one reason or the other.

Adeola provided us with 2 main rules:

FIRST RULE: YOU MATTER

Credit to @helentr

SECOND RULE: NO = KNOW

Takeaway: ‘Owning a purposeful no will help you focus and achieve success.’


CAREER FAIR

What’s a tech summit without a career fair!? I don’t know the answer to this BUT there was one present at Lesbians Who Tech!

Organisations present @ the career fair:

  • Google
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Github
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Thoughtworks
  • Splunk
  • Facebook

Github are hiring content creators, Morgan Stanley are hiring software engineers in Budapest and Goldman Sachs are doing a lot of interesting work in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

I must admit, I did a whistle-stop tour of the career fair and didn’t speak to most of the organisations. As a code newbie, I often shy away from recruiters and reps from tech companies as I feel like I have nothing to offer at present.


SOCIALISING

I’m going to be brutally honest here. When I first arrived at the summit, I sat very up close to the front, eager beaver, I know. The row I was sat on was quite reserved and consisted of pairs who attended the event together. I felt like I wasn’t doing myself any favours by sitting in an unsociable row so I scouted the room and spotted a seat a few rows back and moved there. I’m not a douche, I promise, but no one was talking to me, so felt it was wise to spread my wings.

This was the best decision I made that day.

I sat next to two badass women who are working on some pretty cool projects in the tech space. We had lunch together and met a few other women. We laughed, joked, and spoke about our goals in tech.

We also done a group boomerang landed on the lwtech IG stories!

All 4 of us were pretty inseparable from that moment and it felt like we knew each other for a long time. We now have a WhatsApp group with one of the speakers included and we’re planning a brunch for the new year!


AFTER PARTY

So I must admit I had way too much to drink. Like wayyyyy too much to drink.

Our group of 4 arrived pretty early at the bar so we had first dibs on the complimentary beer and wine. This soon ran out so the organisers started a tab. Throughout the evening, people were feeling very generous with purchasing me drinks, I’m not sure how I ended up doing tequila shots!

The one conversation I do remember that evening was a group of us talking about the comeback of ‘The L Word’. If you’re reading this, and you’ve never watched it, I’m judging you. Haha!

The consensus was that we all felt sad for Jenny but really didn’t like her in the end, ugh. We all mentioned who are favs were and mine was, of course, Bette, I can’t wait for the new season!

All in all, it was a freaking great summit! Informative speakers, badass women, and great conversation.

I’ll be attending next year, and so should you!

That’s all from me folks.

Rach, Millennial Rach.

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