You got the love, we got the love.

We just want you to know that in spite of the evidence, we never lost that lovin’ feeling. We just kinda mislaid it. BUT we’re bringing back the love for 2012! So, forgive the gap in posts. The committee has been reincarnated (sort of) and below is one perspective of what it means to girl-geek.

I (Rachel) originally got involved with Girl Geeks in Scotland, UK, at some point in 2009 I think. I can’t remember what initially triggered my exploration of industry meet-ups. Perhaps it was a tweet, the desire for debate or the need to up my tech quotient. Anyway, it started with Tech Meet-Up in Edinburgh.

Tech MeetUp, Edinburgh

Tech Meetup, it’s cool for cats.

When I went to my first Tech-Meet-up, I spent ten minutes sitting on my own as male developers gravitated to every table around me and even when the brave few did finally join me, they brought out their holy water and crucifixes once they discovered I worked in marketing. I persevered and now the same developers who were so wary of me that evening are some of my closest friends today.  It was through meeting a handful of women at Tech Meet-up in Edinburgh, that I was introduced to the Girl Geeks network. 

Since Girl Geek Scotland was founded by high-flying women in academia, the talks/dinners were exceptionally well run, centrally located and always featured interesting speakers. As the profile of Girl Geek Scotland picked up, alongside the founder’s exceptional ability to secure funding – we enjoyed some amazing workshops and before long a robust network formed that really allowed us to support each other in the pursuit of our professional goals. 

Girl Geek Scotland

Girl Geek Scotland and a passionate Ali Webster…

Girl Geek Scotland "Creativity in Business" workshop

“What makes a perfect female entrepreneur…” brainstorming

Fast forward two years… 

When I arrived in Toronto in 2011, the Girl Geeks group here had stagnated. By chance I met one of the founders at a PechaKucha event and then following a series of other random and less random encounters with other women in tech in Toronto, we eventually organised a meeting where the original Girl Geeks committee could hand over the reigns.

And here we are, a new committee for 2012.

Image

With a background in advertising and agency life, I’m the first to admit that women can be their own worst enemy. Advertising persuades us that our progression in the world is based on looks, rather than intelligence and there are too many women who invest their time in personal grooming rather than intellectual development. This isn’t to say that you can’t do both, or indeed be beautiful AND smart (b*tch!), but some women will as quickly climb up on that dagger in your back as they will reach out to pull you up the ladder. So weird that we’re called the fairer sex. 

The Girl Geek network has always been refreshingly different and without a doubt, the most supportive network I’ve discovered and as those close to me will know, I network a lot. And for the guys reading, we don’t sit around ranting about the glass ceiling …  or making out (sorry).  We simply exchange notes on how to do business, in our various disciplines, more effectively and it’s a chance to pat each other on the back if recognition is a little light from other sources.

Since becoming an admin of the Girl Geeks Toronto meet-up page, I receive a notification of EVERY new meet-up that’s created in Toronto and there are A LOT of groups pitched at women, but let’s get a few things clear:

  • We’re not going to offer any talks on social media
  • We’re not going to offer any talks on what it’s like to be a woman working in a male-dominated industry
  • We simply seek the best speakers for an enthusiastic audience. We have male speakers lined up and men are welcome to Girl Geek dinners at the invite of a woman. Pro-women is not the same as being anti-men
  • We will be addressing unusual…or at least less usual subjects, perhaps topics you haven’t heard of. Don’t be deterred, ALL talks will be accessible to a mainstream audience – we assume no specialist knowledge
  • Be aware. If you can see someone standing on their own at an event – invite them into your conversation. Smile, play nicely, enjoy and remember we’re in this together

Finally, in case I’ve made us sound too serious, I’ll leave you with Florence and her sparkly hotter-than-very-hot hotpants. The boys will probably like those too…

http://youtu.be/mzMcNAe4nE8

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