GHC14 Day 2 – Megan Smith, Maria Klawe and Satya Nadella take the Stage

Summing up the morning keynotes in one emotion: awe. The surprise speaker that GHC had kept a secret until she walked out on stage was, as I expected, the new CTO of the United States of America, Megan Smith. What an inspiring and well-spoken woman! And though Satya Nadella’s interview stirred up quite a bit of controversy on the net, I was impressed by his support and bravery in being the first major tech CEO to speak out in support of women in tech on such a broad scale. Yes, he said what he said, but the internet seems to have forgotten all the other great, positive things he said in his interview, including his feelings that he enjoys working with women, that “working hard is something that is worth doing,” and “each one of us has a few superpowers.” But I’ve written a whole other post on that issue, so check that out and let me know if you agree!

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This is probably the only tech conference in the world to have a long line for the women’s bathroom and none for the men’s. How refreshing!

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Until now I haven’t really shared much from the sessions I went to. These pictures are from one of my favourite sessions, lessons in graphics from a Disney engineer! She showed us a lot of behind-the-scenes images and before and after stills from Disney’s Frozen.

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When not in sessions, Sarah and I spent a lot of time in the Google lounge, charging our phones at the charging stations and taking advantage of the comfy chairs and lego block stools for those necessary feet-up moments. Being on your feet all day at a conference is no easy feat – notice that I ditched my Day 1 heels and wore flats on Day 2.

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And then of course there was the ever-enticing career fair, which somehow managed to hold new surprises and more companies every time we visited. Below are some of the most entertaining booths we found on Day 2: HBO’s virtual reality Game of Thrones experience using Oculus Rift, Pinterest’s beautiful DIY-inspired booth, and an unexpected temporary tattoo booth hosted by Simple, a digital bank. Yes, that’s why I tweeted about getting a tattoo from a bank that day.

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PS: My trip to Phoenix for the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing has been sponsored by Dalhousie University and Syncfusion, my official corporate partner! A HUGE thanks to both, I am so grateful.

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Syncfusion is the enterprise technology partner of choice for Windows development, delivering a broad range of software frameworks and tools. Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, Syncfusion has more than 10,000 customers, including large financial institutions, Fortune 100 companies, and global IT consultancies. Find out more in my announcement post about our partnership, and find me at Grace Hopper to get your FREE software license!

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