Women In Tech: The Best Talk I’ve Ever Listened To

Back in January, I had the opportunity to host a panel at Podcamp 2017 with an incredible group of people that I admire greatly and I wanted to take the time to talk a little bit about that experience. This isn’t so much a review of that talk but rather how and why we put that panel together and the key takeaways from that session.

I was not supposed to host a panel on Women in Technology at Podcamp 2017. I wasn’t supposed to speak at all as one of the main organizers. But we had a speaker and a host drop out pretty late and so I was really excited to get to join the panel (and also to add my own talk later in the day.)

When we were looking at doing a panel on women in tech, we reached out to a few people that we thought would be excellent fits for the conference, the community and the talk itself. We wanted the panel to encompass a wide variety of experiences and so we asked an entry-level developer who’d been active in the tech community in university, a mid-level marketing manager who represented an enormous local inbound marketing agency and a founder and CEO of a start-up who’d grown her business and her reputation over a number of years.

Brittany Kelly, Laura Hawkins and Katelyn Bourgoin represent such a vast array of personal histories that it was impossible to not be motivated and inspired by their stories. From the cautious, fearful optimism of your first gig to the intense stress of running a team to the incredible responsibility of defining a business’ future, what these women have in common is their ability to take their natural talents, combine that with being great human beings and then work harder than you could ever imagine to dominate their fields.

One of the important things that I learned from this entire session, especially as the host, was to shut the fuck up. We don’t listen nearly enough when we have these opportunities placed before us. We use confirmation biases to say, “I know exactly what they’re talking about” and then we tune out. I recommend that when you get the opportunity to hear people share their story, whatever that story is, that you listen.

To hear about impostor syndrome, failure, success, work ethic, priorities and everything else that makes up the life of an entrepreneur was a great experience. To come to understand that people don’t get to positions of power and influence by just putting in time. You need to put in the work.

I’m as excited as ever to see what Podcamp 2018 is going to throw our way but I will not soon forget when I got to hang out and chat with three incredible people who shared their journey in the digital world.