Diversity & Inclusion

Tech the Halls is getting #dctech groups together for the holidays

DC Web Women is bringing the event to iStrategyLabs for its sixth year. We're raffling off a ticket.

D.C. technologists of all stripes attended the third Tech The Halls, held Dec. 3, 2014, at Capitale. (File Photo)

The holidays are a time to get everyone together. That often means an internal holiday party for the company. For DC Web Women, it was a chance to bring groups together.

About six years ago, the group was organizing speed networking events to bring together local technologists. It grew into a big holiday event reaching out to technologists from all corners of the community.

This year’s Tech the Halls is set for Thurs., Dec. 14, at iStrategyLabs. The event will feature a keynote from Hatch cofounder Param Jaggi, raffles, a DJ, photobooth and more.

Get tickets

Technical.ly DC is giving away a ticket to the party. Sign up for our newsletter and put “TechTheHalls” in the “Organization” field. If you’ve already signed up for our local Technical.ly DC newsletter, sign up to get updates from Technical.ly National and do the same. We’ll choose a winner December 12.

To learn more about how the event got started and what this celebration means for #dctech, we sent some questions to marketing lead Abby O’Brien. Here are her responses:

-How did Tech the Halls originally get started? How has it evolved over 6 years?

The event started as an outgrowth from the speed networking events we were doing with a few of the local tech organizations in and around DC. The speed networking events were hugely successful bringing together different groups with a different constituent focus like DC Web Women (DCWW), UXPA, Web Content Mavens, Reaching Latinos Online, Color of Tech, Society for Technical Communication (STC WDCB) and others. So one day after a speed networking event, DCWW President Sibyl Edwards, came up with the idea to create a multi-org holiday event to bring all of these groups together, to connect, network and cross pollinate resources and members. Every year Tech the Halls just keeps growing as the quality of the event has increased. As a result, the team in charge of putting the annual event together were made up talented and passionate people determined to make Tech the Halls one of DC’s premier end-of-the-year tech events.

What are some of the goals for Tech The Halls?

DC Web Women’s mission is to promote and advocate for women in technology and to increase diversity and inclusion in tech. We accomplish this through our regular networking and professional development events and through connecting with male allies. Tech The Halls creates a unique opportunity to bring together like-minded partners such as: User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA DC), Society for Technical Communication (STC WDCB), Web Content Mavens, Color of Tech, Greater Than Code (> Code), Black Female Founders (#BFF), The Mentor Method, Women Who Tech (WWT), PyLadies, AIGA DC, Lesbians Who Tech and Byte Back. These groups have a similar mission of supporting tech inclusion, innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.

What are some of the highlights of the event that you’re looking forward to?

It’s going to be an all-around fun event no matter who you are. The event space is one of my favorites. i Strategy Labs is hosting and it’s just such a cool creative space I think people are going to be really blown away once it’s all decorated and set up for the event. We have a really cool DJ this year, DJ Clinton Matthews. We have a photo booth. Our caterer this year is awesome. We took full advantage of Black Friday to get solid prizes for our raffle (such as Beats headphones, $100 Apple iTunes gift card, Topmaxions 3D VR Headset and more…) and as a bonus, our clothing drive benefitting Thrive DC will result in a free raffle ticket should guests choose to participate.

Given the “Tech” in the title, who is the event aimed at attracting? Does it cut across sectors/disciplines?

Being the broad field “tech” is, we anticipate our guest list being equally diverse. For instance, I’m in marketing and see it as a great opportunity for networking given some of our community partners. I’ve seen a number of graphic designers on our social media countdown, we have a two-time recipient of Forbes 30 Under 30 startup entrepreneur as our keynote who’s the CEO of a tech company who’s having a positive impact on the quality of air. It really is for everyone, including but definitely not limited to software developers, content specialists, UX designers, product managers and engineers. In my opinion, it’s very beneficial for the “tech” related employee at a company that isn’t necessarily tech, because it provides guests the opportunity to network and meet others in their fields.

How does the event help DC Web Women? Are there any other community members that benefit?

When people are back from the holiday break and are telling coworkers about the awesome holiday party they attended where they learned something new, made a great connection or were intrigued by someone they met, they know DCWW helped make that happen.

So then they’re also wondering how they can get more involved with this organization and other DCWW events because of how awesome Tech the Halls was.

The event will also give guests an opportunity to connect with leaders from some of D.C.’s top tech organizations such as Byte Back who provides necessary tech training and development for underserved communities. As I mentioned earlier we’re doing a clothing drive to benefit Thrive DC so that will be our community partnership for this event.

What’s the best reason to attend?

I would have to say networking. Our development team has done a great job of creating a broad spectrum of partners (who will be at the event) so there’s going to be an amazing opportunity to meet someone who could be your next mentor, job lead, business partner, missing piece to your project’s puzzle, friend…really endless possibilities after seeing our amazing guest list and the companies and diverse sectors they represent.

Companies: DC Web Women

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