Tech Lady Hackathon is coming back bigger - DC


Sep. 28, 2017 9:38 am

Tech Lady Hackathon is coming back bigger

The Washington Post will host the Oct. 21 event, and a BEACON DC grant is providing support for some new programming.

Kate Rabinowitz, Joy M. Whitt and Jessica Garson.

(Photo via Twitter)

Organizers are getting ready for the fifth Tech Lady Hackathon.

Scheduled for October 21, Tech Lady Hackathon will be hosted in the Washington Post this year to accommodate a record 250 attendees.

“In previous years we’ve had to cap at around 170 and have always run out of tickets within days of making them available,” organizing team member Kate Rabinowitz said via email.

Meet the Organizers

Rabinowitz and Joy M. Whitt are both reprising their roles as organizers this year. So is Jess Garson, a longtime hackathon volunteer who teamed up with Whitt and Rabinowitz last year to run the event.

The trio took up the mantle after the hackathon’s founder, Leah Bannon, left D.C. for San Francisco last August. The 2016 hackathon was a sold-out event that Garson described to us as, “super electric.”

This year, the trio becomes a quartet with the addition of one more organizer.

Alexis Johnson-Gresham is a senior associate at Precision Strategies in downtown D.C., and one of last year’s speakers. The 2016 Tech Lady Hackathon was Johnson-Gresham’s first tech speaking engagement, and she told us it led to her joining Code for DC, more guest lectures, a panel at General Assembly, and then full circle back to the hackathon.


More Money, More Programs

Also new this year is a $1,000 grant for hackathon resources from BEACON DC to the hackathon, as we reported earlier this month.

Additionally, the team shared a host of activities they are planning to usher in this year, including:

  • More advanced hacking workshops for Tech Lady veterans.
  • Structured discussion groups to cross-network the different groups of attendees including “queer, people of color, mid-career” and others, Rabinowitz said.
  • A potential partnership with Color Coded to carry out the most successful hacks after the event. “Our goal this year is to have just 2-3 quality hacking projects that are owned by inclusive groups like Color Coded and Tech Lady Hackathon,” Whitt said.

Despite the changes, the organizers seem keen to preserve the original focus on welcoming newcomers.

“We always aim to make the event very newbie friendly and build a sense of community,” Rabinowitz said. “Every single Tech Lady organizer, and many D.C. women, has experienced an important ‘first’ at Tech Lady. We hope to continue that trend this year.

According to the organizers, registration for the Tech Lady Hackathon will go live two weeks before the event. In the meantime, you can check out their website for updates.

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