The new organizers of Tech Lady Hackathon have big shoes to fill - Technical.ly DC

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Sep. 20, 2016 10:18 am

The new organizers of Tech Lady Hackathon have big shoes to fill

Kate Rabinowitz, Jessica Garson and Joy M. Whitt are hoping to build upon Leah Bannon's past magic.

Leah Bannon at a Tech Lady Hackathon.

(Photo by Lalita Clozel)

Leah Bannon’s Tech Lady Hackathon is a D.C. institution. And this can be an intimidating fact if you happen to be taking on the organization of the first such hackathon since Bannon left for San Francisco — but it’s also a huge blessing, as co-organizers Kate Rabinowitz and Jessica Garson are quick to point out.

Rabinowitz and Garson, along with Joy M. Whitt, are working to put together Tech Lady Hackathon’s fourth event on Oct. 22 at iStrategyLabs in Shaw.

“With the three of us its been running really smoothly and going really great,” Garson told Technical.ly. Yes, there’s an element of working to fill big shoes, but all three co-organizers are really devoted to seeing Tech Lady continue.

For Garson, who has helped with the organization of Tech Lady in the past when it was under Bannon, the event is really special. Her first time attending was her first time really building something with a group in a hackathon setting, and the following year saw her leading her first-ever workshop. In other words, Tech Lady has proven a safe place for Garson to try out new things.

"We've been really overwhelmed by the community of support around the hackathon."
Jessica Garson

Rabinowitz agrees. “It was certainly my first exposure to this amazing women-in-tech community,” she said, of her first time at Tech Lady. And that same community has been invaluable in supporting the work Rabinowitz, Garson and Whitt are doing. “We’ve had a lot of help from people who love the project,” Rabinowitz said.

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“We’ve been really overwhelmed by the community of support around the hackathon,” Garson added.

Now Garson and Rabinowitz are hoping to bestow on the next generation the gifts and opportunities that Tech Lady gave them. And they want to build on Bannon’s foundation, too.

Garson was sure to mention that while Tech Lady is and will always be beginner-friendly, she and her co-organizers are working to make sure that there will be something for everyone. And Rabinowitz is proud of the fact that, of the more than 20 workshops that will be held during the day on Oct. 22, many will focus not solely on tech but also on professional development, leadership skills and broader questions about diversity in the industry.

“It’s such a great community to become a part of,” Rabinowitz said.

Ready to join in? Keep your eyes here for details on October’s event.

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Tajha Chappellet-Lanier

Tajha Chappellet-Lanier was the lead reporter for Technical.ly DC. The California native previously worked for NPR and the editorial board at USA Today. She can talk travel plans all day, and has strong opinions on the best doughnut in D.C.

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