Elizabeth Bates, Founder of The Petite Shop, an online clothing boutique for women 5’4″ and under, attended the first ever Women in Technology event in New Orleans last week. The “Five Foot Founder” wrote about her experience and the future of the meetup.
Over forty attendees gathered in the Burgundy Bar at The Saint Hotel last Wednesday evening to welcome New Orleans Women in Technology to the local IT scene. Torrie Adams, Product Manager at Kickboard, founded the group after a presentation at BarCamp in early July. In the six weeks since first concept, Adams brought her idea to fruition for the approximately 2,400 female IT workers in the Greater New Orleans Area.
The mix of mostly women – and a few men – represented a number of different local as well as global companies, including Google, GE Capital, Tulane University, TurboSquid, Kickboard and a number of freelancers, just to name a few. The generous sponsors, Susco & Touch, Kickboard, TurboSquid, Voce Media and WebDevrs, provided the first cocktails of the evening and a laptop bag door prize.
After some time to network, Adams welcomed the attendees, and shared a few interesting statistics: New Orleans is a step ahead of the national average in that women in technology make up about 34% of total IT workers in the Greater New Orleans area, compared to the national average of 30%. However, Louisiana is behind with regards to the gender pay gap, with women earning only 69% of what men earn. Given this, the mission of New Orleans WIT is to increase the salaries of women in technology as well as increase the number of women in technology through professional development, mentoring and career advancement. Bolstered by the energy and enthusiasm felt at the kickoff party, New Orleans WIT is ready to take action in the New Orleans professional community.
The main focus, at least initially, is to channel this energy into monthly roundtables, which will meet the 3rd Thursday of each month at The Dojo coworking space. The roundtables are a facilitated conversation where women share their professional experiences and questions and identify solutions together. This may include career advancement skills such as interviewing and negotiating, or social issues like workplace relationships. After the first roundtable, registration will be limited to eighteen people per meeting in order to concentrate on meaningful, productive discussions amongst women who have a specific interest in the topic at hand.
The Director of Community Relations for New Orleans WIT, Voce Media founder Lyndsey Young, keeps everyone up to date on group goings-on via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
After you’ve followed New Orleans WIT on social media, register here for the first monthly roundtable, coming up this Thursday, August 22nd at 7:00 pm! This first roundtable will go over the mission of New Orleans WIT, the format of the monthly roundtables, and choose the topics for the following months.
If your company is interested in sponsoring a future New Orleans WIT event, please contact the group’s Treasurer, Melissa Geiss at Melissa@neworleanswit.org.