The Center for Innovation and Economic Development (CIED) was home to a unique new speaker series this week, launched by local 11th-grader Delaney Rua, focused on Women in Technology for an audience of local high school girls. Delaney was selected in 2014 as an #include Fellow by Stanford's SHE++, an organization devoted to inspiring young girls to pursue and excel in technology industries. As part of that Fellowship, Delaney created two initiatives of her own to help inspire other local girls: 1) launching this Women in Technology Spring Speaker Series and 2) developing The Ultimate Women in Tech Video App, to collect and share inspiring stories of female role models in technology. Those efforts are also part of her attempt to win an all-expense paid invite to the annual she++ #include conference to present her work, including in-person interviews with women leaders near Stanford like Marissa Mayer (Yahoo), Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook), and others.
The kickoff speaker for the Women in Technology Spring Speaker Series was Priya Rudradas, the Chief Operating Officer of fast-growing edtech company Shadow Health. Priya shared with attendees how she got interested in technology, what that career path is really like, and how her role at ShadowHealth is impacting the future of interactive edtech and nursing education. The format was a roundtable with Q&A.
The second part of the event took the topic from local to national by screening "she++ The Documentary, Good Girl Gone Geek" -- one of the videos included in Delaney's Ultimate Women in Tech Video App. The Documentary shared some startling facts, like "Between 2000 and 2009, there was a 79 percent drop in the number of first-year undergraduate women considering computer science, even as products such as Facebook, Twitter, Angry Birds, etc. began making technology 'cool' again" and included multiple interviews with women engineers from Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Box and other Silicon Valley success stories.
Overall, it was a successful kickoff for what should be a great Spring of Women in Technology Speakers. Delaney has more great role models scheduled for March and April. Any GAIN members with daughters who might benefit from these events are encouraged to comment below to get a personal reminder from Delaney, to download/share her Women in Tech android app and to keep an eye on the GAIN calendar for future speakers, times and locations.