Peters & Associates recently sponsored the first Networking Event for the Chicago West Suburban Chapter of ChickTech. As Co-Director of the chapter, I was honored to kick off our inaugural gathering to share more about the innovative programs they offer, as well as provide an opportunity for local women in technology to connect and learn more about networking. I am proud to be a part of both organizations and excited about future events!
What is ChickTech?
ChickTech is a not-for profit organization that was founded in 2011 in Portland, Oregon. It is now a national organization serving thousands of girls and women every year through tech programs and events. The mission of ChickTech is to retain women in the technology workforce and increase the number of women and girls pursuing technology-based careers. The high school program is specifically targeted towards girls who don’t think of themselves as technical, but who have the aptitude to do well in the technology industry.
The vision of the organization is to help create a safe, inclusive, and innovative technology future that includes equal participation, pay, and treatment of women. To accomplish this, ChickTech chapters facilitate hands-on technology-centric programs to empower, support, and increase the confidence of women and girls.
Due to the smaller numbers of women in the tech field, it can be more challenging to find opportunities to connect with other women. While there are definitely more programs now, it can still be difficult with so many other obligations to carve time out for personal development.
In that spirit, our first event was an after-work ‘Meetup’ that provided an opportunity for both. Lisa Snyder, Chapter Finance Director, gave an excellent presentation on networking. It was helpful to learn more about how introverts and extroverts handle networking differently. While we may know ourselves well enough to engage with others in these situations, we often don’t consider the differences in styles or personalities that can help us more effectively connect with others.
Lisa walked everyone through tips and tricks from initial meet and greet to follow up after the event. Using this new knowledge, the women attending then engaged in a ‘Speed Networking’ exercise in which they circled around two tables and used question prompts to quickly engage with several other women. It was a fun and low pressure activity followed by open networking time.
We received a considerable amount of positive feedback on the event as well as a large number of women who have offered to volunteer for future events. This chapter will be hosting a one day event focused on providing hand-on workshops for high school girls in the fall. Planning is still underway for that event and the next ‘Meetup’ for the summer is being scheduled as well. Stay tuned!
Want to Learn More?
If you want to learn more about ChickTech, its mission, or upcoming local events, contact us at Chicago.firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our website at https://chicagowest.chicktech.org/.