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My first GGD event …

Report by Nicola Mancell

I had no idea what to expect from my first ‘Girl Geek’ event.  I’d met a couple of people before, at the monthly pub social*, but other than that, my only experience of the Geek Girl Movement was what I had read on the internet.

Would it be super technical?  Would it be full of super powerful executives?   Would it be full of young feisty students looking to fight the good fight for women everywhere?  Would there be any men there?  Would I actually have anything in common with these people?

It turns out:

  • No;
  • I don’t know (and it didn’t matter);
  • I don’t know (and it didn’t matter);
  • yes (1), and
  • yes.

It was technical enough to keep everyone engaged, yet entertaining enough to ensure it didn’t feel like an extension of the working day.  I don’t know if there were any super powerful executives or feisty students were there, but I can say that there was a wonderful mix of ages, backgrounds and perspectives, and there was no hierarchy to speak of.  Our second guest speaker had come along with her boyfriend (the only man in the room), whom I hope felt as welcomed as I did.  As for having things in common, aside from the obvious interest and career in science & technology, people were relaxed and friendly enough to start conversations with me as we waited for the evening to begin, or grabbed some (pretty incredible) sandwiches and snacks (the mango and brie parcels were my particular favourite), or even as we walked back out to our cars.

imageGGD talk Vinita Nawathe

The two guest speakers, Vinita Nawathe and Cariad Eccleston gave fascinating talks on getting beyond “give me the numbers” and social media platforms.  I won’t go on and on describing them – Lucy does a much better job at communicating their content in these wonderful pictures, but I will say I got home and was excited to talk to my husband about tools for communication and the alternatives to Facebook and Twitter.  Obviously not all future talks will be ‘gender neutral’, given the ethos behind Girl Geek Dinners, and I for one am looking forward to having the opportunity to hash out some of the challenges we face as professional women in science and technology.

So, to anyone who is reading this and wondering if Girl Geek socials are right for them, I’d like to encourage you to try it out.  I promise you’ll find friendly faces and interesting conversation, and you never know what you’ll learn!

* We meet on the second Tuesday of every month at 8:30pm at the City Gate pub in Exeter for a drink and a chat; next one is on 10th December 2013. Come along and say hello! 

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