Girl Geek Dinners turns 3: here's what next - Technical.ly Philly

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Mar. 4, 2014 8:30 am

Girl Geek Dinners turns 3: here’s what next

The Philly chapter of the national meetup group for women in technology started in the spring of 2011 shortly before other women-focused groups like Girl Develop It and Web Start Women (now the Women's Coding Collective and less active than it used to be).

Girl Geek Dinners' 2014 Town Hall was held at Indy Hall.

Girl Geek Dinners was one of the first.

The Philly chapter of the national meetup group for women in technology started in the spring of 2011 shortly before other women-focused groups like Girl Develop It and Web Start Women (now the Women’s Coding Collective and less active than it used to be).

Launched locally by Nicole Kline and Tristin Hightower, the group feels like the hobbyist arm of the women in tech scene here. It’s not education-focused or outspokenly mission-driven, the way Girl Develop It or Ladies in Tech is. Rather, it’s for women who love crafting, Dungeons and Dragons and cosplay to hang out, meet one another and make cool stuff. There is, of course, overlap: some Girl Develop It teachers are members of Girl Geek Dinners, for example.

At the group’s January Town Hall meeting held at Indy Hall, co-organizer Kline recapped 2013, listing the group’s 15 events, like the LadyHacks hackathon, dinners with guest speakers and the popular monthly craft nights now held at Bella Vista’s Chapterhouse Cafe. (Hightower has since left Philadelphia but remembers Girl Geek Dinners fondly.)

The group of roughly 10 women at the town hall consisted of developers from Neat Company and Chase Bank, a newly hired tech evangelist at Microsoft and staffers from Drama Fever, a New York City startup with a tech team based in Narberth.

Over homemade chocolate chip cookies, chips and guacamole and wine (it was potluck night), the women suggested possible events and speakers for 2014. A board game night? A book club? Dungeons and Dragons for beginners? (“I’ve been playing D&D since I was like, six,” said Kline, who also writes video games.)

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The group faces challenges that other volunteer-run meetups might: It’s hard to find sponsors for events, Kline said. The group has no budget and has to pay the annual $144 Meetup.com fee.

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