GHC 2015 with Shivi Singh

The Grace Hopper conference was an amazing experience in that it not only gave me the opportunity to learn about new topics and ideas from the various fields of Technology - both in industry and academia, through sessions and labs led by seasoned professionals and college students, but also gave me the chance to talk to and hear the experiences of women from all walks of life and in different stages of life (e.g. college, early career, senior). The career fair at Grace Hopper was also an amazing experience, it truly boosted my confidence as it made me realize just how important it is to have women in the workplace and how much we, as women, deserve the positions that we often deem ourselves as being unqualified for. We are truly our harshest critics and should build our confidence by realizing that our talents as technologists are amazing. We deserve to be here!

I wanted to zone in on the aspect of Grace Hopper that truly had the greatest impact on me - the amazing women that I was surrounded by, especially those who have been in the industry for many years. In all honesty, even though co-op has given me the opportunity to create a place for myself in the workplace, I have always been out of place by being surrounded by men and only ran into a couple of which I asked to be my mentors – only one of which had actually upheld his duties as a mentor. After being given the opportunity to network with so many amazing and talented software engineers turned staff engineers or members of tech leadership, I have met many women I can look up to as mentors. I was actually approached by a few women who reached out to me and asked to be my mentors, something that I never had experienced! It is so difficult to ask someone to be your mentor, let alone find someone who has the time and energy to be a mentor. To have these women, who have gone through the hardships of a male-dominated workplace and consistently proved themselves as qualified leaders in their fields, provide me with advice and ask as counsel to my decisions on opportunities and issues I am presented with is beyond amazing. This is the epitome of women helping to raise each other up – something that we are learning is vital for retaining and cultivating female talent in technology. To see this reminded just how far women have come and how far we have to go! By developing a network of mentors, we are one step closer to helping each other reach professional, personal and social goals; being at Grace Hopper and talking with so many supportive women reminded me how important it is to give back to the community (CS female community in this case) and keep sharing all that support and confidence so that no one feels like it is them against the world. I have truly seen the force women have on the world in motion, something I am inspired to keep at full force!