For Tristin Hightower, it was Girl Geek Dinners that started it all.
Hightower, Philly’s 2012 Geek of the Year, said that, despite having moved to the city in 2003 to do technical writing for Comcast, she wasn’t really involved in the local tech scene until the early days of Girl Geek Dinners, the women in tech meetup that she cofounded during Philly Tech Week 2011.
Hightower will soon leave the city for Colorado because of her husband’s job. But in the few years since her entrée into the scene, she’s been able to watch local women in tech scene blossom.
Before Girl Geek Dinners, there were no women-focused organizations other than the youth-oriented TechGirlz, Hightower said. Today, along with Girl Geek Dinners, there’s Web Start Women, Girl Develop It, the Women in Tech Summit.
“It’s just booming,” said Hightower, who will continue as Operations Manager for the International Game Developers Association after she leaves Philly.
One of her favorite memories was LadyHacks, Philly’s first women’s hackathon that Hightower co-organized. In Hightower’s words via email:
“Overhearing women say that our comments made them feel welcome and safe, getting 60+ women to participate in a hackathon (80 percent of them for the first time!), hearing women say they’d never thought they’d be on stage for a tech event, let alone PRESENTING at it — it just really moved me and made me excited for them.”
As for aspiring Philly Geeks of the Year, Hightower offered this piece of advice: JFDI.
Knowledge is power!
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