ACT-W, a conference to advance the careers of technical women convened in Portland for the fourth year on April 23 & 24. The conference scheduled included workshops (Women in Tech: the Past, Present & Future; Easy Web Applications with React & Redux; Level Up as a Leader), panel discussions and a job fair with mock interviews. Several Jama employees attended the conference, Customer Support Manager Megan Bigelow spoke on a panel, Jama hosted the conference kick-off happy hour and we attended the job fair.
This was Jama’s first year of sponsorship for ACT-W and we kicked off the weekend by co-hosting a happy hour with Jive Software. Huge thanks to Guardian Games and Red Castle Games for loaning 200+ board games for the event! (And a big thanks to the Portland spring weather, which held off on raining so we could enjoy the patio!)
Kristina King, Jama’s Support Community Manager and conference attendee had high praise for the event, “This was my first timing attending an ACT-W conference, and I’ll definitely be back. Two experiences stick out for me. The first keynote, delivered by Grace Andrews, was about finding your “authentic voice,” and it was captivating and inspiring. Grace weaved in her personal story about trusting herself and her skills while encouraging the audience to speak their truth. It is too common to have a comment like “but you’re so pretty” or “women don’t have coding minds” weigh us down and cause us to doubt ourselves and our path. It was invigorating to be reminded to listen to ourselves and help others find their own voices. Secondly, I attended a workshop to create an LED lantern with Arduino. Not only did I learn how to solder in this class, but I also did some coding and uploaded it to an Arduino trinket to make a light change color. I’m not a programmer, but this class gave me a little taste of what it entails and left me empowered to try new things. Overall, I would suggest anyone working in tech, or thinking about working in tech, attend this conference. (Particularly if they are a woman or identify outside of the gender binary.) It was overwhelmingly positive and drove valuable introspection for me.”
Senior QA Engineer, Hang Dao, (who spoke on our own panel last year at a Women Who Code event at Jama) was excited to see the growth of the event and increased energy among women in tech in Portland. Her favorite session was the React/Redux workshop with Folashade Okunubi and was encouraged to see so many other local companies employing the technologies used at Jama.
Megan, a member of the Portland tech community for the last 16 years, and Co-Founder and President of PDX Women in Tech, spoke on the Women in Tech Community Leaders Panel. “It was an honor to share the stage with such brilliant and active women in tech leaders. The candid conversation amongst the panelists acknowledged the hardships we’ve faced, while highlighting the good. The most rewarding experience was seeing (and feeling) the support of the hundreds of conference-goers while we were speaking. ACT-W does a fantastic job of bringing resources, learning and connections to women in an effort to support their technical careers — a critical asset to our community.”
The conference wrapped up with a Career Fair and mock interview sessions. Several Jamanian’s were on hand to share insights into life at Jama, as well as talk with candidates interested in our open positions. The full room of attendees was promising, as Portland continues to crusade for more gender diversity (as well as diversity of all kinds) in it’s tech community. “Chicktech’s ACT-W career fair was one of the most energizing I’ve been to in awhile. The quality of conversation with the attendees, their passion and enthusiasm for technology was inspiring,” said Lauren Espinosa, Jama’s Manager of Talent.
We were honored to be a part of such a fun and impactful event — thank you to ChickTech, ACT-W and all of the conference attendees for making such a great event possible. ACT-’s mission to help women professionals network, grow their skills, and discover employers looking for exceptional talent is something we were proud to be a part of.