2017 Girls in Tech Catalyst Conference Recap

And, that’s a wrap! The Girls in Tech Catalyst Conference, our largest annual event, was held last week in San Francisco, June 20-22. The event brought together more than 800 women in tech and top-tier speakers, allowing for intimate networking opportunities and the crux of the event: short, Tedx-style power presentations. It was in these presentations that leaders came forth to ditch the corporate power point presentations and deliver incredibly personal and powerful talks about their life, their journey to leadership and all the obstacles, achievements (and grit and grime) they encountered along the way. It was one generation of leaders pulling up the next generation; it was about women connecting with other women in an authentic and long-lasting way; it was about our attendees looking within to find answers for where they want to go next.
If you missed Catalyst 2017, please keep your eyes peeled for an announcement regarding next year’s event. The 2017 event will surely be hard to beat—in fact, we received more positive feedback than we’ve ever received, for any event, period. But our goal will be to continue to deliver world-class speakers to women in tech, to continue to defy the typical conference experience. As in, no giant sterile conference rooms, the food kicked ass and we took cues from Virgin America with some amazing mood lighting.
We’ll be seeing you in 2018. But in the meantime, take a peek at a few of our top soundbites from our incredible speaker line up.

Adriana Gascoigne, founder and CEO of Girls in Tech

Adriana Gascoigne, founder and CEO of Girls in Tech, takes the stage.

“When a defining moment comes along, you can define the moment or let the moment define you. In my 20s, I was letting the moments define me.”

  • Jennifer Tejada, CEO, PagerDuty, on the mistakes she made in her 20s

“When you have imposter syndrome, there’s a voice in you that says, I don’t deserve this, I made a mistake. I need to prove I’m worthy. Those voices hold us back and they take away from being able to achieve and own a role.”

  • Donna Boyer, Head of Product for AirBnB’s Host and Homes, on confidence and imposter syndrome

“The number one mistake that women make is they think networking is like school. Us women love to get As. But work is not school. If no one knows you’re doing great work, you might as well not be doing it. Get to know people. At the startup. At the school, in the next department.”

  • Sallie Krawcheck, founder of Ellevest, on the importance of networking

“I hope they would describe [our culture] as fast moving, highly collaborative, a place where we can sort of orient toward getting shit done—in a way where you’re not being a jerk about it. Some companies have a No Asshole rule; we have a low tolerance to jerks in the business.”

  • Aaron Levie, founder and CEO, Box

“If you’re being interrupted by a man, or a “Manterruptor” – just keep talking. Maintain your momentum.”

  • Kim Polese, Chairman of ClearStreet and CrowdSmart

“What I see in a lot of great founders: they are good storytellers.”

  • Aileen Lee, fonder and partner, Cowboy Ventures

“You need to understand what you need to do to get to the next level. I didn’t know what I wanted to be, but I knew what I wanted to do next.”

  • Tamara Mendelsohn, VP of Product, EventBrite, on how she quickly moved up in her career

“With the exception of my mom, I had no working women around me. I had a thousand dollars from my dad, and two suitcases, and that’s how I came to this country. 25 years ago it was unfounded that a non-married woman would come to the U.S. by herself.”

  • Nidhi Gupta, VP of Engineering, Hire

“Silicon Valley doesn’t have a woman’s problem. It has a management problem. More diverse teams are more successful teams. It’s a truth that is universally acknowledged.”

  • Connie Guglielmo, Editor-in-Chief, CNET

“Ask yourself, are you having fun? Are you competing with yourself or competing with others? Every day you should be having fun.”

  • Merline Saintile, Head of Operations for the Executive VP & CTO, Intuit

“There is always an emotional side to every project. The similarity between what happens when a loved one dies and when a project dies is incredible.”

  • Obi Felten, Director, X Foundry

“Math takes problems that seem unsolvable and breaks them down into a series of small problems. That’s the key to life. If you can do that, you can do anything.”

  • Tammy Schuring, VP, Worldwide Sales, HPE Security

“It’s so easy to accept what everyone else is telling us is risky. Risk is so subjective. It’s so personal. You may not want to get on a surfboard because you’re not a confident swimmer, but it may be no big deal for someone else.”

  • Marnie Rosenberg, founder, Crossroads Coach