Thanks for Stopping By, Geeks!

Last night we hosted the 16th Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner, and we had a blast! The first Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner was hosted in 2008 at Google, and ever since they have been organizing great events focused on giving women in the Silicon Valley a place to meet, network, and discuss the topics that are facing women in technology today.

As many of you know, I have a deep personal interest in the presence of women in technical fields and the advancement of women in the workplace. I started my personal blog – The Kitchen Sync – as a place where I can openly discuss these topics, as well as tackling subjects like work/life balance, travel, and other passions of mine.

So when we had the opportunity to host the Girl Geek Dinner, I jumped on it! I was excited for a couple of reasons, but primarily:

  • I believe that women in the Silicon Valley need more venues where they can meet, network, and support each other – so I applaud the mission of Girl Geek Dinners in making this happen.
  • I have been extremely fortunate in my career, and have learned a lot along the way, and I value the opportunity to mentor people whenever I can.
  • And, from a company perspective, SugarSync is growing like crazy and we have a ton of open positions we are trying to hire for, and I viewed this event as a great way to meet a bunch of smart, qualified women.

We were asked to speak to the group, so after I addressed the crowd, I invited Paula Long one of our Board members and the co-founder and VP of Engineering of EquaLogic (acquired by Dell) up to share her thoughts on how to build your career and be successful as a woman in technology.  Overall it was a spirited conversation.  The group had a ton of great questions, and I feel like we all got to learn a little more about each other.

We had over 110 attendees show up for the event, and we had a great time speaking with and getting to know you all. Thanks again for attending, and we look forward to hosting more geeky events (regardless of gender) in the future!

Here are a few pictures – the full event album will be on our SugarSync Facebook page soon.

Good Old Fashioned Networking

Last week was an interesting one in the “why aren’t there more” and “should there or shouldn’t there be more” women CEO’s. Lots of posts and a lot of anger on all sides and finally some humor. For a sampling see here:

http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/11/stop-telling-women-to-do-startups/ 😦
http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/12/stop-telling-women-not-to-do-startups-in-paris
http://zachholman.com/posts/women-should-do-startups/
http://www.gothamgal.com/gotham_gal/2011/12/a-.html
http://birch.co/post/14117221851/stop-telling-cats-to-do-startups  🙂

I got super turned off by the anger and then fortunately a few rational posts were written and published so I decided to move on from this flurry. The fact that I had a super busy week was probably part of it. I spoke at a conference in Half Moon Bay and we are knee deep in 2012 planning at SugarSync.

To top off this busy week I had committed to attend an event sponsored by Dell, the “Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN).” They had invited me to a big event they organized in Brazil last spring. Although typically eager for a chance to go back to Brazil I couldn’t make that trip work in my schedule. Last weeks event was logistically easier – a cocktail party in San Francisco, but I must say by Thursday evening, I was pretty tired and the idea of a networking event where I knew nobody seemed a stretch.  Fortunately I HATE the idea of cancelling last minute so I didn’t.

Dell’s VP of Corporate Marketing, Kelly McGinnis, hosted the networking event at her home. There were probably about 30-40 women there. Well, first off, it was an incredibly friendly group. Plus, it turns out that when nobody at the party knows each other it’s very easy to meet people and strike up conversation. It seemed like each person I met was nicer and even more interesting than the last person. Many good business connections were being made all over the place. I talked to several potential partners on the business development side, agencies, and several of the women’s companies were even interested in SugarSync for Business accounts. The women there were at all stages of growing their companies and their families and lots of advice was shared on both topics ☺. Dell is organizing the next major DWEN event in India and expecting the quality of the attendees to be as good as this event I really look forward to attending.

Kudos to Dell who is an important business partner of ours for sponsoring this program.  Lots of business was getting done which certainly in a small way and possibly in a large way helped the women entrepreneurs and their companies. Most importantly, this event was a good reminder to focus on doing not whining – better results happen and it’s a lot more fun!