Last week, a group of women from Arcurve had the opportunity to attend Geeky Summit, an annual conference put on by Chic Geek, a local non-profit that aims to support and build community for women in technology. Insightful speakers, good food, networking with technical ladies, and even a few well-placed squats and lunges filled the day.
Conference content covered a diverse range of topics, from inclusive design to cyber security. Here are a few of the lessons that stood out to me:
1. Elevator pitches work for people too
Nicole Tsui, an experienced human resource professional, delivered one of the day’s first breakout sessions. She advised using a personal elevator pitch as a tool for networking. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has met someone new in a networking situation and experienced an awkward pause after covering the basics—name, job, and company.
Often, we default to rattling off our job title when asked what we do, instead of talking about how we spend our time. By making this small shift, and sharing how we contribute in our job role, we invite curiosity and set the tone for a much richer conversation.
2. Learn from disability and they way people adapt
Product designer Andrew Wright delivered a quick, but jam-packed talk on inclusive design. He drew on a definition of disability that focused on the mismatch between a person and their environment within a specific context. In this view, disability includes permanent conditions such as blindness, but also expands to temporary conditions like broken limbs, and situational conditions like a bartender unable to hear in a noisy bar.
Andrew encouraged us to look for mismatches around us, and to learn from how people adapt to overcome those mismatches. These solutions can be extended to inform our own inclusive designs.
3. Prioritize like it’s a matter of life and death
It was a treat to hear from adventurer Julie Angus as the day’s final speaker. Julie was the first woman to ever row across the Atlantic Ocean, from mainland to mainland. Rowing across the Atlantic delivered many lessons in how to conquer the unexpected, but the standout was a lesson in prioritization.
She told us about how the vessel’s GPS and the desalinator broke at the exact same time. She and her partner argued about which was the priority and needed to be fixed first. They decided to work on them both at the same time—and in their distraction, almost got run over by a large freighter. It makes me wonder what ‘freighters’ I have missed by being distracted by other significant, but ultimately less urgent problems.
All in all, the Geeky Summit was a fun day and one that gave me plenty to think about. Thanks to Chic Geek for putting on an informative conference and to Arcurve for sponsoring and supporting a great event!