Femgineer Forum: Because Knowing How to Code Isn’t Always Enough

By Sujata Menon

If you have ever been in a bind to figure out how to ASK – for a raise, change in role, work life balance, or anything that affects your work life, Poornima Vijayashanker has some simple, well thought out strategies and solutions. Her forums are in the format of a workshop; it is not just all talk. You get to practice what you just heard and receive instant feedback from a group that gets it. This is what makes Poornima’s forums unique!

Poornima’s upcoming Forum at CoverHound in San Francisco, is about Fostering Female Friendly Companies. Here’s the agenda:

  • Strategies on how to build up the confidence you to need to approach supervisors regarding sensitive topics
  • Provide you with effective communication techniques for dealing with difficult teammates and supervisors
  • Give you a guide to building a culture that attracts and retains females, and is known for being female friendly organization

I have attended both of Poornima’spast forums and left with some great usable tips. Poornima’s first forum on Compelling Communication aka how to craft an ASK helped me out a ton! I took a break after I had my first child. 6 months into the motherhood, I started interviewing. I wasn’t sure if I could tell my interviewer that I had a child, and if I should cover up an important aspect of my life. I didn’t know that I could seek out specific jobs based on how supportive the workplace would be, and accepting of the fact that I am a new mother.  I constantly wondered the following: Are startups ruled out for me? Or am I destined for a boring job? I had so many questions and I was not even sure if these were valid questions. After meeting the femgineers, I got a lot of feedback and ideas to approach my job hunt which proved very helpful.

The second forum covered yet another important topic of how to change roles at workplace. Poornima had ideas as how one can build up an experience even without the title, look for a job internally or externally with experience and portfolio to prove that you have the experience for the new role.

A typical forum is structured like this:

  • Poornima will discuss her strategies about the topic at hand like how to craft an ASK.
  • The participants pair up and discuss, practice the solution to their problem based on Poornima’s ideas.
  • A few of the chosen participants will get to present to the entire audience for feedback and more ideas to solve the issue.

You will leave the workshop with many tips and ideas to apply at your workplace. Plus, you get to network with fellow femgineers! And, dinner is covered. What’s not to like?

To sum up, here are 6 reasons why you should attend femgineer forums:

  1. Network with fellow femgineers.
  2. Get help from other professionals with similar workplace challenges.
  3. Hear tested solutions about the chosen topic.
  4. Get feedback about your specific issue from a supportive audience which gets it.
  5. Propose new forum topics that Poornima will think about and help you solve.
  6. Enjoy free food.

Even though this event is primarily focused on women in STEM, men are welcome to join.  In fact, we had an amazing event atiSocket, where many of the men on the team participated, because they too wanted to know how to change roles in their career!

Hope to see you at the next Femgineer Forum!

Sujata Menon holds a Masters in Computer Science from National Institute of Technology Karnataka, India and works as a developer in SF Bay Area.

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