August 29, 2012 by Tobias Rich
Due to the awe-inspiring success of our New York office’s monthly meet up event, Women Inspire Technology, we decided to bring the event to Silicon Valley this month, and I am glad to report it too was a great success. And while we of course offered all the benefits of an ordinary networking event: free cheese and wine, I promise you Women Inspire Technology was no ordinary meet up!
I am here to tell you that this event had so much more than your average networking gathering in that it truly provided a means to an end. The mission of this solutions based meet up was to increase the amount of women leaders in the tech industry. Yes, that was and continues to be our goal, and once women are finally ruling and dominating the tech world, don’t worry, you will be free from the Sophie Levy invite every 3rd Thursday of the month to join us for Women Inspire Technology SF. That being said, until that day comes be prepared to get my invitations to these amazing events, and if after hearing about the greatness of this past event you for some crazy reason are not inspired to join in the next one, I am sure you will want to come for my great conversation abilities if nothing else!
As far as this month’s event, we must thank Tiffany Roesler, a manager in our NYC office, for making it a reality. Tiffany came up with the idea one day when thinking that albeit a minority, there are quite a bit of women in technology who could benefit greatly from such a networking opportunity. By meeting one another, women in the tech industry could open up doors they did not know existed, and as a minority group in the industry, they would benefit greatly from helping one another out. As a recruiter, Tiffany understood she could act as a facilitator and be the common denominator in bringing all these hard working women together. Talener Group then simply provided the means by which it could occur.
As a direct result of Tiffany’s brainstorm, last night 30 like-minded women varying from interns to directors of large corporations came together to empower each other to contribute more than they ever have before to their communities. Unless you are Kim Jong Ill’s son, we all know, leaders are not born, they are made. We become leaders when we rise to the occasion. And this group of women came together cheering each other on to become bolder, to speak louder and to dare to reach higher when the occasion arises!
Roxane Williams, the Senior Web Architect at DocuSign, graciously came to the event as our keynote speaker and was an inspiration to us all. In walking us through her fascinating story of where she came from and how she got to where she is today, Roxane made each of us feel a bit more like reaching for the stars. As her story unfolded it was clear that Roxane truly was a self-taught engineer whose interest in the field began when she was merely a child and her parents gave her a typewriter. Unlike most children who might be inspired to begin to write their first story with such a gift, Roxane did not start typing at all, rather Instead of using the device for its intended purpose, she took it apart, figured out how it worked, and then put it back together again.
Not surprisingly, she explained her first job was working at a computer store fixing computers and selling internet….remember the good old days with dial up existed and AOL was not yet in existence? Or the days when you were given a list of 10 phone numbers to input if a line was busy? Roxane Williams started her professional career in that world where she built an intranet system putting her on the map with Google who in turn recruited her into what she believed would be her dream job. Yet, after a year of endless hours working for Google, she quickly burned out and took the next year off to travel the world, which as she explained was really the best thing she could have done such that she gives all credit to her current success to that year of travel and adventure. She strongly encourages others to do the same.
As we all know, it is important to have a mentor – it is one reason why these events can be so important. Roxane Williams explained that her mentor was Robin Ducot the VP of Engineering at DocuSign and attendee at Women Inspire Technology. What a wonderful duo who both serve as inspirations to us all! Clearly, we were so lucky to have Roxane Williams as our keynote speaker and to have other great women like Robin Ducote join us at our event. I am looking forward to seeing you all at our next meet up where we will continue to expand our horizons together!