Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

First ever Women in Tech Summit brings nearly 200 regional women technologists

The Women in Tech Summit, part of Philly Tech Week Kickoff Weekend, drew about 200 women.

The first Women in Tech Summit attracted about 200 women from the local technology community.

(Photo by Yael Borofsky)

The Women in Tech Summit, part of Philly Tech Week Kickoff Weekend, drew about 200 women to Wharton’s Jon Huntsman Hall in University City on a warm, sunny Saturday.

Both panelists, presenters, and audience members alike discussed lessons learned, offered professional advice, and gave hands-on workshops on a variety of topics relevant to careers in technology.

AboutOne founder Joanne Lang announced the launch of beta version of the online household organizing application for Windows, adding a telling example of success to those attending the first Women in Tech Summit. The application, which has been widely covered, is designed to help organize household information, such as financial, medical and other personal details, all in one place. Lang told the audience that the updated version of the app went live at 5:30 a.m. that day.

But the app itself was not the focus of founder Joanne Lang’s presentation.

Instead, her early afternoon presentation built on a theme already in place at the first Women in Tech Summit, by focusing on sharing lessons learned from launching her own startup.

The day started off with introduction from organizers Tracey Welson-Rossman and Gloria Bell followed by a panel entitled “Getting In,” led by Wharton’s Chief Innovation Office and Associate Dean Deirdre Woods. The panelists included Techwise Group CEO Lauren Schwartz, 123LinkIt founder and founder of the Philly chapter of GirlDevelopIt Yasmine Mustafa, software engineer Pam Selle, Burst Online Entertainment community manager and Girl Geek Dinners cofounder Tristan Hightower and Xercel founder and CEO Patricia Tawadros, all local female tech leaders who told varied stories of making successful careers in the tech industry.

Woods leads the “Getting In” panel with Schwartz, Mustafa, and Selle (from left to right), Hightower and Tawadros not pictured.

Throughout the day hands-on workshops ran along many of the panels and presentations on topics including, test-driven development, open data, gender diversity and responsive web design. Other panel and presentation topics included mentoring, being second in command, finding your dream tech job and adapting in a quickly changing tech world.

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The final panel, “Giving Back,” with Chariot Solutions Chief Marketing Officer, conference organizer, and TechGirlz cofounder Welson-Rossman, Sepiida founder and Techgirlz cofounder Anita Garimella Andrews and Hightower, brought the day’s broader theme full circle.

Tracey Welson-Rossman, Anita Garimella Andrews, and Tristan Hightower discuss ways to give back to the community of women in technology.

“In terms of your ability to give back, don’t say no. Saying no is the best way to kill an idea,” Welson-Rossman told the audience. “If you want to do something, go find someone as passionate as you are.”

Welson-Rossman told Technically Philly that the idea for hosting a women-only technology conference struck her after Steve Jobs died.

“I just sort of felt empowered by a lot of the things he had done in technology,” Welson-Rossman said. “I thought the women’s community should be getting together and giving back and supporting each other. We’re there, but not really there.”

The Women in Tech Summit is the only women-only event out of all 80+ technology events taking place throughout Philly Tech Week.

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