I had been a member of the ABI list for a few years before, but my first 'real' experience with ABI was in 2008 after I established a nonprofit organisation, W.TEC, focused on mentoring Nigerian women and girls in their use of information technology (www.w-teconline.org). We were planning a pilot technology camp for teenage girls and sourcing for funding when I learnt of the Pass it On grants. We applied and got it. I was thrilled and that was the start of a wonderfully supportive relationship with ABI. The funding from the PIO grant was instrumental in getting the girls tech camp going (it is now in its 4th year).
In 2009, I was nominated for and selected for the ChangeMaker award. As part of my prize, I was invited to the Grace Hopper Conference to receive my award and participate in a panel with other ChangeMaker award winners. I can honestly say that GHC is the best conference I have been for (and I have attended a few). All the women I met (the ABI staff) were warm and everyone shared their experiences as women in computing freely. I learnt so much from the sessions and other attendees that I could apply to my work in Nigeria.
Through this network of incredible women, the GHC, the lists and regular newsletters, ABI has supported and encouraged many women in their technical careers (no matter what stage they are at).
ABI is the kind of organization that one is lucky to find. I found them when I was just starting my career in technology. In fact, I barely knew I was in technology but I was working as an application administrator and learning my first programming language and I didn't know anyone else who did what I did. One day I did an internet search and found Systers, one of ABI's great programs. That was in 1997. Thirteen years later I am a senior software development manager and I have been a Systers member the entire time. I have found a fantastic community of interesting and intelligent women who actually "get" what I am talking about and have been able to answer questions and offer moral support simply through the reliability and respect of the community. No other tech women community is like this one. Because of all the things I have gotten out of my relationship with Systers, I joined the Pass-It-On Awards committee when it started and have served on the review committee ever since (something like seven years now). I am a regular contributor as well. The Pass It On program is amazing. Targeted micro-funding is all someone needs some times and am I continually impressed by the projects and the women that we fund. Reading the reports of the success projects: teaching girls programming, buying computers for class rooms, funding studies, and simply helping a young woman make it to class. The Pass It On awards are particularly important because they have the component to pass on the value of the award to the community (women in computing technology) as part of the award. ABI crafts unique programs for and supports its community at a fundamental level that I don't often see with other organizations. It is really committed to its founding principles. I am honored to be a part of it.
It is dedicated volunteers like Elizabeth who make this program of Systers helping Systers work. Thanks for your commitment to the Systers Pass-it-on Awards!
Not too many people know or remember that my career in California started thank to ABI. In 2004, I got my current position after reading the job posting in its Systers community. Since then I have found my way to work with them. Why? ABI helped me to discover my passion for diversity and equality of technical women in computer related fields. I have personally profited from the excellent work ABI does with its Industry partners and I have attended the Grace Hopper Celebrations since 2004. Aside from the benefits in my professional career, ABI has been fundamental for the success of Latinas in Computing (LIC), a grass-root community born at the 2006 Grace Hopper Celebration. As a chair of LiC and a female engineer working in a high tech company, I can testify that ABI has positively impacted the professional lives of many of us.
Thank you so much Gilda! Your work with the Latinas in Computing community is a great example of what can result when ABI programs bring technical women together. We have used LiC as an example - many times - when asked advice by newer technical women's groups.
Anita Borg Institute adn the Grace Hopper conferences have been instrumental in keeping me form leaving the computer field! It is so hard to work with all men and without the support of these folks adn the Systers list I woudl have give up long ago!
Thank you, Kari! It's wonderful to hear that our Systers community has provided such support. And also wonderful how you've given back by volunteering.
I went to GHC in 2008 for the first time. Being involved with the online communities truly enhanced my conference experience. I was able to meet several people online before the conference and then meet them in real life! After the conference, I've kept in touch with the women I met through the communities. Prior to the conference, I submitted my resume to the conference resume database. From that, I was contacted by several companies for interviews at the conference. As a direct result, I received a job offer! It was great to know that GHC really supports students by offering resume workshops and encouraging companies to recruit at GHC. At GHC 2008, my good friend, Ashley, and I started a video blog, Ed & Ashley's 5 Minute Show. Our aim is to create visible role models. Volunteer-created content is highly encouraged in the communities and we've loved speaking with lots of inspiring women. Thank goodness the Anita Borg Institute gave us such a great opportunity!
Thanks for sharing your story, Erin! We love the way students like you keep coming back to the Grace Hopper conference after graduation, and giving back to the community by volunteering, speaking, and serving as role models yourself. The Anita Borg Institute staff loves the way your video program, Ed & Ashley's 5 Minute show, highlights technical women. We share your desire to update our websites. Resource limitations keep us focused on our programs, but it's definitely on our list.
We have sponsored students to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing each year since it began in 2994. This annual event is co-sponsored by the Anita Borg Institute and the Association for Computing Machinery. Every student who has attended has been enriched by the experience of attending a conference that is supportive of women in computing. I have "thank you" notes from students who say things like "I had no idea I could go this far in the IT profession," "it was wonderful meeting so many women who have chosen IT as a career," and "thank you so much for sponsoring me-I know that I've made the right choice in my academic preparation." The IT profession needs people with as many diverse backgrounds to enter into the IT field, and the Anita Borg Institute has been instrumental in providing a forum for women who might otherwise see this profession as a "male field." Some of the students who we have sponsored have gone back to serve as panel presenters, track chairs and mentors and role models to current students.
Thanks, Connie! It's great to hear such positive comments about the Grace Hopper Celebration from students you have sponsored to attend our annual conference. GHC plays a critical role in providing students with role models, success stories, and a supportive community to ease the isolation of choosing a nontraditional career for a woman. You'll be happy to know that for the second year we are partnering with CSTA on a K-12 Computing Teachers Workshop at GHC, to help address the K-12 pipeline. And check the program for this year's conference (it will be posted soon at http://gracehopper.org/) for other sessions on outreach to girls.
Wow -- where do I start? I first became aware of ABI when I attended GHC 2006. It was the first conference I had attended that was female dominated, and what a difference it made! Instead of being exhausted by constantly having to put myself "out there", I could relax and enjoy the technical and non-technical conversations, sessions, and networking. I came back to work invigorated, motivated, and energized. ABI has also been invaluable in hosting a community for Latinas in Computing, where we've been able to reach out to Latinas throughout the world to promote and develop them as they move through their career stages. The staff is dedicated and tireless in their advocacy, and their leading edge research has greatly benefited the women in my organization. Participating as part of the conference team has been tremendously rewarding, knowing that you are positively impacting the lives of women in computing.
Thank you so much, Patty! Your story is a great example of why we do this work. And Latinas in Computing is a model of what happens when we facilitate and support technical women in coming together. And while we are completely in favor of you winning Powerball :-) our partners in academia, industry and government do a fantastic job of supporting our work. We are grateful to them every day!
I found support and career advice that helped me advance and assist other women in the technology field. Excellent organization that promotes women in technology and encourages young women to enter the field.
One of the things we love about our work is the way the technical women and diversity champions in our community help each other. It is so important for young women to see role models like you with long and successful careers. So thank you not only for your review, but for assisting other women in tech!
The Anita Borg Institute is doing great work. They run the fabulous Grace Hopper Conference for Women in Computing that brings together a lot of great women in the industry and helps new women entering the industry to get great jobs at all the tech companies around the country (particularly Silicon Valley). They also do a terrific job sharing resources, ideas, news with their community through their Systers list and their social media activity. Their events are well-run, they are highly professional to deal with as a speaker, and they have a lot of dedication to their cause.
Thank you so much, Denise. You make us blush! Of course it's fabulous speakers and awesome volunteers like you who make our events so wonderful.
The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology is an incredible organization that CA is very proud to partner with. Their work in connecting women and technology is inspiring and has made a huge impact on our company and its employees.
Thanks, Erica! We simply couldn't achieve the results that we do without the support of committed partners like CA. We are proud to have CA as a part of the Anita Borg Institute.
Coming from Africa,an exposure to other women from across the world doing computing was a great moral boaster. Women in computing make up less than 15% of the total computing world, in Africa, that percentage is almost halfed, so meeting women who inspire you to keep at it was i needed to swing me right back into the narrow and straight path of computing. Since the conference i have learnt a lot from numerous women through the various online tools that ABI has provided in addition to the ABI newsletter KUDOs ABI and the ABI team!
Great suggestions! Although we don't have immediate plans for an event in Africa, we have started working with partners to create events, with GHC as a model, around the U.S. and in other parts of the world. Stay tuned!
Anita Borg Institute helped me get the word out about my iPhone app, leading to some great reviews and positive feedback from the community. Specifically, they are very active on Twitter and are instrumental in informing their community about key events, deadlines, and issues.
Thanks, Carlos! We completely agree that K-12 is a critical part of the pipeline. Because our expertise and focus are on university and beyond, we work with partners like the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT) K-12 Alliance and ACM's Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA). CSTA is our partner on the K-12 Computing Teachers Workshop held at Grace Hopper in 2009 and also planned for this year's 2010 conference. For more on these organizations see: http://ncwit.org/alliance.k12.html http://www.csta.acm.org/
When I went to my first ABI conference, it was a life-changing experience. I was first introduced to ABI through Systers, and ABI program via email community for technical women. It was enlightening to know that other technical women share my struggles and career goals. Being able to share and vent was comforting, but also inspirational because I received incredible advice on my career track, how to tackle the "woman" issue in the technical world, and most importantly, how do I encourage other young women, including my own daughter, to pursue careers in technology. Thanks ABI for the continuous encouragement.
We completely agree that K-12 is a critical part of the pipeline. While our focus is on university and beyond, we collaborate with partners like the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT) K-12 Alliance http://ncwit.org/alliance.k12.html You might want to check out the National Girls Collaborative Project, which has a national database of STEM-focused programs for girls: http://www.psctlt.org/ngcp/
The number of women in computer science and engineering is dwindling. I have felt very alone while pursuiing my doctoral degree of computer science. ABI has provided a venue, GHC, where I can meet with other women in CS, and discuss issues we are currently facing. The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is a series of conferences designed to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront.
It's great to hear the impact that attending GHC 2009 has had! Every year the Grace Hopper conference grows, and that's the way we want it too. This year in Atlanta -- with your help -- we'll be even bigger and better.
The ABI is a fantastic organization. My experience with them, until lately, has been through the Grace Hopper Conference which is run annually and helps celebrate women in computing. I think that the most important thing about this organization is that it proves that women have a way of working, and creating change in the world that is honest, open, and value laden. Each year they manage to bring together over a thousand people, and they do it in a very personal way. The twitter feed is great, because it creates a sense of community is a desperate community of women and shares our accomplishments and echos our concerns. The Systers listserve, which I help with to organize and collect the posted links, is also invaluable. The initiatives that the ABI takes on are always done with care, and the outcomes are felt broadly through the entire community of CS professionals.
Thank you so much! We couldn't do it without volunteers like you! And while we blush at the idea we should change nothing, we are always working to increase our reach and impact.
I first learned about the Anita Borg Institute when I won a scholarship from them and Google. I travelled to New York City, where I met a group of amazing fellow women in computer science, most of whom I still keep in touch with. They were my first network of women in same field I ever had. While in New York, someone from the institute spoke to us via video link, and told us about the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC). I attended later that year with fellow co-founders of our school's Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) group after I convinced them that we really could raise the funds and make it there. I strongly believe that GHC is the main reason our WISE group has succeeded as much as it has, and my own career has greatly benefited from the networking and learning opportunities there. I always feel re-energized to keep pushing myself to be the best I can in my career when I return. Now I try to pay it forward and give back to the Anita Borg community every way I can.
It is the commitment of volunteers like you that make GHC work! We look forward to hearing your ideas for Canadian outreach.
The Anita Borg Institute has touched me in many ways over the past few years and provided me with priceless opportunities to grow professionally as a Computer Scientist and also to expand my network. I have had the opportunity to travel, speak at conferences, and meet many valuable connections through their Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) and their scholarships and awards programs. Because of the wonderful experience I've had dealing with them through these activities, I decided to get involved as a volunteer to 'give back' and hopefully help others find these opportunities as well. Currently I am a volunteer as a member of the GHC Communities Committee, where I am working with other committee members to encourage and promote our online communities and reach out to women in Computer Science. I can honestly say I have never heard anything discouraging or negative from any of the Anita Borg Institute staff or volunteers. They have been very welcoming and open to new ideas and are genuinely happy with any effort, big or small, that volunteers can contribute. Having done a lot of volunteering throughout my life, I find it refreshing that they are as interested in my growth in skills, experiences, and professionalism as I am in helping them achieve their goals. I would highly recommend the Institute to anyone who would like to get involved or work with them on projects, events, or other activities.
We hope you'll take a look at the Industry and Technical tracks when we post this year's program (coming soon). We always work to balance the program between academic and industry tracks. We welcome your input on how to improve that balance, and how to help recent graduates transition to attending as professionals.