In early 2007 a group of women working in the high-tech sector in the San Francisco Bay Area recognized a need for a gathering space where women who self-identify as geeky could meet in person to support, educate, and share experiences with each other. While some organizations already existed for women in different areas of technology and others encouraged girls to pursue careers in such fields, there was no single group that:
- brought all interested individuals and organizations together;
- supported peer-to-peer learning exchange;
- built connections and established relationships across diverse communities and disciplines to support women technologists; and
- specifically attended to retaining women in technology fields through community.
Rather than creating yet another niche women-in-tech organization, we decided to work with and promote existing activists and organizations, inviting them all to meet at an interactive event called an unConference.
The first She’s Geeky unConference was held in October 2007, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. Approximately 200 women in a wide range of technology fields (computing, hardware, software, open source, entrepreneurship and media) attended. The extremely positive response created the demand for a similar event on the East Coast. The second She’s Geeky was held in New York City at the Microsoft Corporate offices in early December, 2008. The third unConference was held at the end of January 2009 back at the Computer History Museum. This time more than 240 attendees, including CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen and Assemblyman Sally Lieber, put forward over 80 sessions during the two day event,
From its inception She’s Geeky has taken a unique approach. We are not a once a year big national conference like BlogHer with a created purpose for the event. Nor are we an open source brand where anyone can produce an ad-hoc event with our name, like BarCamp, without attention to quality. Demand is high: at present, we inquiries from a range of cities keen on having our event in their region.
Our vision is making She’s Geeky available regionally around the United States and beyond so that women from different technology and science sectors can come together, collaborate and develop a larger integrated community. Our goal is to produce consistently high quality unConference events that include women’s groups and individual women in the full range of geeky fields including Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) as we hold events in cities and regions where specific industries flourish.
Offering She’s Geeky at different locations will make the event more affordable to a larger number of women, since they will not have to travel too far to access the means for the development of local and regional relationships. We believe that the key to a most effective and successful She’s Geeky is collaboration with local host organizers on promotion and marketing, while providing core support for event registration and production.