Girl Geek Dinners is a worldwide initiative designed to raise awareness of women in IT and to provide a supportive network of like-minded female ‘geeks’.
The Auckland chapter puts on four events each year, each event featuring three or four female speakers who give presentations about themselves, their careers and their experience of being a woman in IT.
The final Auckland event for 2014 was sponsored by Assurity and featured our very own Katrina Clokie as one of the guest speakers. The event was held on 15 October at Toto’s Montecristo Room, where the audience ate their famous pizza before sitting down to listen to the four guest speakers.
The first speaker was Victoria Crone, a Marketing and Sales Executive for Xero. Victoria touched on the notion of ‘having it all’ – family and a career - and how it required a lot of hard work. Victoria spoke with excitement about the advances of technology, such as mobile access to home security systems and the prospect of driveless cars.
The second speaker was Kelly Ann McKercher, a user research and design specialist at user experience consultancy Optimal Experience. Kelly Ann presented her four key takeaway messages from her work which can apply to all areas of life: talk to real people, solve real problems, do no harm, nothing for no good reason. She placed a lot of emphasis on empathy and keeping the human user in mind at all times.
Katrina was the third speaker and presented the story of a bug that made her decide to become a tester. Katrina spoke in hilarious detail how she realised how sneaky users can be when exploiting a bug in a prepay mobile system and had to get creative with the fix. Katrina described the job of a tester as a fun, challenging, investigative role and one that she’s loved doing ever since that sneaky prepay bug.
The final speaker was Jodi Mitchell, CEO of SimplHeath. Jodi talked about her unconventional career path to her current role – from fainting in job interviews to moving to England to work as a developer, despite having never sat in front of a computer. Jodi also spoke about the need to get out of your comfort zone (for her, this included completing a half-Iron Man!) and working in an area that you’re passionate about.
All four speakers are inspiring, interesting and intelligent women in a variety of IT fields and it’s incredibly encouraging to see females breaking ground in the technology area.
Girl Geek Dinners Auckland will be back with more events in 2015. Check out their website for upcoming events in Auckland or to find events in your area.