Every second Tuesday in October, we come together to celebrate Ada Lovelace Day. Ada Lovelace Day is an international celebration of the achievements in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). This year, alongside many incredible women and men, I attended the Ada Lovelace Day celebration sponsored by Thoughtworks.
Over the course of the evening, there were three amazing talks on returning to work, the role of diversity when hiring for teams and how we can better support Women in Tech.
Sarah Taraporewalla kicked off the evening with her talk on Tech Lead to Motherhood; one women’s journey from changing systems to changing nappies, and back again.
Sarah talked us through her journey, the challenges that she was facing and the skills that she gained as a parent. One of the key takeaways of her talk is for us to be aware of the fact that technology will change while you’re on a break however, with a strong knowledge of the fundamentals and principles, you’ll be able transition through any technology changes. Sarah also says that there are a lot of skills you strengthen as a parent such as empathy, creativity, resilience, multi-tasking, adaptability, being able to work on little sleep which are 100% transferable to the workplace. She certainly showed us a different perspective and and definitely provided confidence to those who are returning to work.
Andrew Hardcourt followed Sarah with his talk on `Hiring the best team, not the best heroes.` Andrew spoke on the importance of hiring the best team rather than hiring the “best” person for a role. Throughout his talk, Andrew reinforces the importance of team composition as at the end of the day, the success of a business is reliant on the work that is done by the team as oppose to the work of a single “best” individual. Andrew also spoke about the importance of diversity when building the best teams. Diverse and inclusive teams bring so much value into the business and encouraged the audience to implement blind code reviews, candidates screening and eliminate any data points to reduce unconscious bias.
The evening ended on a high note with Sammy Herbert and Larene Le Gassick presenting on ‘What WORK180 is doing to change the landscape for women in tech’. Sammy works at Work180 as a inclusive strategist where she ensures the companies that they partner with meet Work180’s criteria through pre-screening every employer on their jobs portal to see where they stand on pay equity, flexible working, paid parental leave, equal opportunities and so on. If you are employed, it would be nice to talk with your company about getting the Work180 certificates and officially shows that your company provide equality, good working conditions for women and cares about diversity. While Sammy spoke about how Work180 can help the companies make their environment more diverse and desirable for women. Sammy highlighted that in order for technical women to become more visible, we all need to work on building a larger network, providing feedback early and often and finding a tribe of supportive individuals to help encourage you to grow.
Larene spoke about data driven diversity with focus on the visibility of women in technology speaking at Brisbane Meetups. It is always brave to stand on with the numbers and when the things are transparent, it is easy to see the reality. Larene says after she started to post the ratio of female speakers in Brisbane meetups every week, in the “brisbane-developers” slack channel, meetup organisers started to take actions about this problem! One of the examples is that the number of the females who submit a talk to DDD Brisbane (http://dddbrisbane.com) increased significantly compared to the last year. Larene encouraged us to provide feedback to meet up organizers and continue to nominate, support and champion positivity, encouragement for Women in Tech through getting #BrisbaneTechQueens trending.
I hope everyone got value from this event as much as I did. I am looking forward to the next Ada Lovelace Day!