I had the great pleasure of being invited from the Microsoft Blog Platform to the Women Think Next 2010 event that was held today.
I have to admit, when I first heard of the event I couldn’t help but think to myself – why do I as a woman need an event focused on women? Am I really interested in “special treatment”? Isn’t equality (also in events) the best?
So I did go feeling somewhat skeptic.
But the event itself was quite thought provoking and so I’m very happy it was held and even more so that I was invited and came!
First of all, I would like to mention that I saw quite a few women there from Intel, SAP, IAI and Freescale and kudos to those companies for giving their female workers some time to invest in themselves.
Secondly, even before the event started, you could see Microsoft gave it quite some thought, as we were given business cards with our info to hand out. In the event itself we were encouraged not to be shy, but rather network and exchange those cards.
Everything seemed very thought through.
The speakers included:
Tali Heruti Sover – a journalist from The Marker who was the master of ceremony. She started the event by giving us a few statistics on women in the Hi Tech industry: Israeli women earn about 25% less than Israeli men in the Hi Tech industry. The average salary for a woman in Hi Tech is about 13,000 shekels (which is twice the average salary for women in general in Israel). She works about 45 hours a week (which is also 4 hours more than the average woman in Israel). And obviously, we’re all preoccupied with Work Life Balance and pushing away those guilt feelings…
Moshe Lichtman – President Microsoft R&D Center and Corporate VP Microsoft spoke about women in science in general and of their place in Microsoft specifically.
Dina Dublon – a member of the Board of Directors of Microsoft. She gave her 4 tips on advancing yourself in your work place:
- Being demanding – of myself, my staff, my boss and my organization. Men usually ask 4 times more than women for what they want – so don’t be shy.
- Perseverance – don’t give up, don’t get stuck, strive forward.
- Own your development – learn on the company business and how you can contribute to it, solicit feedback, seek support and advice.
- Have confidence in yourself – or at least pretend to have it. Thank your boss for the added responsibility, don’t talk to him about your anxiety from it.
Don’t show your frustration in your work place.
Change happens because of how you act and not because of what you know.
Leadership is a matter of choice – your choice of your actions.
Dr. Taly Weiss – CEO and Founder of TrendsSpotting. One of the points she talked about was of using social media to share knowledge and insight as a way to distinguish yourself in the crowd (professional blog anyone? ;))
Eran Yaniv – Dev Manager ILDC Innovation Labs. Spoke to us about having diversity in the workforce as a way to promise innovation in the workplace. He also showcased several new developments coming out of the Innovation labs.
Yoelle Maarek – Research Manager of Yahoo! Israel. She talked about developments in Dynamic Query Suggestion and Query Flow Graph. She also mentioned 3 women she follows in the industry: Marissa Mayer – Vice President of Search Product and User Experience at Google, Susan Wojcicki – Vice President, Product Management and Carol Bartz – CEO of Yahoo!.
Orit Zuckerman – photographer, interactive designer and researcher at the MIT Media Labs. She showed us very interesting works of interactive art she did and talked about a venture she headed which was recently sold to Barnes and Noble.
I have to admit the event really made me think about my place in the organization and the opportunities it offers me. I hope Microsoft holds a similar event next year as well…