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August Recap: Season Kick-off

August 23rd, 2011



Last Monday, forty of you joined us for a free beer at Benelux to share our vision and your suggestions for the upcoming Montreal Girl Geek 2011/12 season at our Kick-off meetup. And, of course, to celebrate!

For those of you who missed out on the exciting news (and those who had trouble hearing over the bar noise):

We Have a New Major Sponsor!

TELUS - The Future is Friendly

We’re thrilled and proud to announce that we’ll be working with the generous folks at TELUS Shared Hosting to bring you bigger, better, bolder initiatives. Product Manager Al Davis came all the way up from Toronto to meet us all, seal the deal in person and spend some real face time with our fabulous community. His cheerful announcement, “I’m here to give you money!” was met with a great round of Girl Geek applause. It’s been a dream working with him so far, we can’t wait to build on this amazing partnership over the years.

So what does that mean for Montreal Girl Geeks? Well, we’ve never needed a bank account before, so that’s a big step in the right direction! And in addition to the usual things that come up like redoing our website, some more publicity, miscellaneous costs in case we need to rent chairs or bigger venues, we’ve planned three big new initiatives for this year to make a difference in our community.

Through the women in tech debate this summer, it became clear to us that there are three general areas organizations like ours can help encourage the success of women in tech fields. So we thought about how we could:

Inspire the next generation of girl geeks.

Help women in our community develop new skills.

Promote visibility for the many girl geeks kicking ass out there in Montreal and beyond!

 

So here’s more detail on our specific new projects to tackle each area. If you have any ideas or would like to get involved, that’s what comments fields, emails and tweets were made for, so shoot!

 

1. The Next Generation

 Girl Geek Upstart – Events organized with schools, girl geek members and partners to promote hands-on tech knowledge in primary school girls (shown to be the key age to build interest in tech) and consideration for careers in technology among pre-teen and teen girls.

2. Develop New Skills

Hands-on Workshops – Longer, more practical sessions where members can learn hard skills in a welcoming environment. This season Montreal Girl Geeks is planning workshops on public speaking (tentatively slated for October), to address the need for more female speakers at conferences and events, as well as a hands-on PHP coding session (Spring 2012) to introduce members to the language—inspired by Montreal Python’s highly successful May 2011 intro class for women.

3. Promoting Visibility

Definitely Does Compute – A video series to promote the visibility of women in the tech community, where each instalment profiles a girl geek member on who she is, what she does for a living, and her advice for young girls thinking about working in the same industry.

 

Your Feedback

After announcing these new initiatives, we received valuable feedback and suggestions from you at our first-ever meetup-only style event at Benelux. Here are some of your awesome suggestions (write in the comments below if you want to weigh in!)

Post podcasts or videos off our events for those who can’t make it, or use Google Hangouts to let 10 interested members follow along live and participate in Q & A.

Provide more Francophone support. Géraldine has graciously offered to help us with site content, and we’re looking in to what else we can do to better serve our French members. If anyone has any ideas, post them!

Offer on-site daycare/babysitting for longer events (e.g. workshops). This is something we’ve talked about a lot to help our moms come out: we’ll try this out for one or more of our events this season to see how much this adds to the coordination and venue requirements, as well as how many families take advantage of the offering. So if this is something you’d like to see more of, please support our trial!

Rebecca gave us several useful ideas to pursue for Upstart, and also suggested the book Climb: Leading Women in Technology Share Their Journeys to Success. We’ve ordered our copy already!

Monthly Domain & Hosting Give-Away

Lastly, just so we REALLY feel the love, TELUS Shared Hosting is throwing in a free domain and shared hosting package to be won by a lucky Girl Geek after each event this year! All you have to do to win is:

Come to our monthly event

Tweet a response to our announced question- This time it was “Which of the new initiatives are you most looking forward to?”

Include @MTLGirlGeeks and #TELUShosting in your tweet.

Sit back and cross your fingers!

 

This month’s package went to Isabelle Melnick: congratulations on being our first winner!

 

Thanks to all of you who came out in person to kick off this new season, and to all of you who tweeted, blogged, Facebooked, plussed, LinkedInned and carrier pigeoned messages of support. Thanks to Benelux for hosting us, and one last big thank you to TELUS Shared Hosting!

It’s gonna be a great year…


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