This year I had the opportunity to attend one of the tech world’s most prestigious conference celebrating women in computing, the Grace Hopper Conference (GHC), organized by Anita Borg Institute (ABI). FirstRain has a deep connection with ABI and I am glad I got an opportunity to attend GHC this year in Bangalore, India.
Our FirstRain CEO, Penny Herscher recently stepped down from the ABI board but continues to be actively engaged- in the spring she was the Master of Ceremonies at the annual Women of Vision awards and also moderated a panel on Male Allies at the 2014 GHC conference in Phoenix, US. Our Managing Director of our India operations, Aparna Gupta is also very involved in ABI as part of the India Council and has been a part of the Advisory committee and panels over the years. With our leadership team, committed to diversity and ABI’s primary aim to recruit, retain, and advance women in technology, participating in the conference is a great opportunity to further this important cause.
During my two days at conference, I had the opportunity to meet many women professionals and exchange views on various topics like technical acumen, team work, work life balance etc. The beauty of the conference is the fact that it creates a platform for collaborative proposals, wherein women connect and share knowledge and expertise for the benefit of others, which is truly inspiring.
I would like to segregate my overall experience of conference in two parts:
i) Technical Learning
ii) Motivational Boost
The most impressive talk that I attended was:
1) Analytic Footprint’s- The session was around Big Data analytics and the key take away are:
a) How to manage data
b) selecting right kind of data
c) know when your sample size is sufficient
d) good data science
e) good technology
f) social media data can also be used for critical analysis
2) Another great session was on “Machines that learn to make difference” Some live projects like Electronic Toll collection that aims to eliminate the delay on toll roads by collecting tolls electronically, Parking fee collection based on number plate recognition, parking space management were discussed.
3) A Poster session where engineers represented their creative innovation in their company
• Generic server failure analysis Tool that gives frequent reason of server failure by filtering, gathering and analysis of logs
• Framework that provides visual help for installing/configuring new software
• Sentiment analysis –to analyze problem like downfall in Credit card users
1) We attended some sessions around career development topics like Discover and Build your strengths , The Career Guidance and Think Different – See Abilities where Deepa Narasimhan (President EMC) and Sushmeetha B.Bubna (Director of ASCENT Networks Pvt Ltd) shared their real life stories about how they conquered obstacles and battled social stigma due to their physical disabilities but they explored technology, tweaked them as per their requirements and made themselves to be at par with their non-disabled counterpart.
2) “Idea to Execution”- This was my favorite session. The key points I learnt are: Believe in your ideas, feedback from critics, how to influence-be simple and memorable, use right engineering approach, do not over-engineer, do personal branding, networking, collect enough data for your work etc.
Attending the conference allowed me to connect with prominent leaders in the technology field and get a better understanding of their research while sharing ideas with them. The conference really instilled a sense of togetherness among attendees, as we were able to connect with one another and share similar struggles that we go through on a regular basis.
I feel that the Grace Hopper Conference is THE platform for women in tech as it aims to empower everyone with equal opportunities and unending inspiration, by bringing together a community that is life-changing. I hope to volunteer and be a more active part of planning this conference next year!
Ritu: is a Software Engineers in Tools Engineering. In a very short span, she has proved to be a key member of the Tools Development team and was awarded the “Rising star” award recently. An enthusiast engineer, she works to develop Highly Available applications. She is an expert in developing the middleware systems used in the global enterprises..
Neha: is a Software Engineer in Content Engineering and works with the Data Science group. She works on cutting edge problems and new Analytics ideas and is responsible for building a framework to rapidly prototype them. She also works on providing quick solutions to content operation to increase their work efficiency.
Dreamforce is less than a month away, so if you’re going we can only assume you’ve been busy planning your trip to San Francisco. With all the preparation necessary just for the conference itself, having to find time to plan for all the little details of traveling into a foreign city can be overwhelming. We want to make sure you have the best possible experience at Dreamforce and that the inconveniences of travel don’t spoil your time there, so we’ve put together an infographic with tips and tricks to make your Dreamforce not only survivable, but the best it can be! From the little things you may forget to bring to tips on where to grab some food and drinks, we’ve got you covered.
Overloaded 2014 has come and gone, and our presentation about role-based information overload was a great success!
Nima Niakan, Executive Fellow and Faith Chiang, Director of UX at FirstRain spoke about how context affects information architecture. People process information differently—we process it given the situation we are in and the task we are trying to accomplish. It’s not the amount of information that’s the problem, then, but the form in which it’s presented to the user. It’s critical to personalize what sort of information to deliver, and how to deliver it, to each business role—because role, device, origin and situation are the difference between information overload and information paradise.
For most sales and marketing professionals, there is too much content on the Web to be able to efficiently find useful, relevant business intelligence. Being able to find what you need to know, and knowing why you need it, are essential to do your job better. But in today’s world, it’s a problem of noise. And we at FirstRain are solving information overload every day with our personal business analytics solutions.
Watch the video below to see the whole talk!
The FirstRain team had a very successful and productive day at the Salesforce1 Tour’s Dallas Stop. Besides announcing Personal Business Analytics for Salesforce1, the expo floor was lively and the FirstRain staff was busy all day giving demos and talking to attendees—not to mention that we got lots of compliments on our booth! Even SaaSy stopped by.
It wasn’t all work for our team, though. They were able to get a real taste of Texas at a pit-style BBQ joint, complete with live country music. Then, after the Salesforce1 event, they had great appetizers, drinks and conversation at the FirstRain happy hour. All in all, it was a great trip for FirstRain. We loved mingling with other ISV partners & looks forward to seeing them at other events… and at Dreamforce in October.
Yesterday, CEO Penny Herscher took the stage on the Women of the Channel West’s Power Panel with other female leaders in the tech industry: VMWare’s Laurie Evans, Symantec’s Jana Valenti and Google’s Francine Geller, to help women understand what the next big trends are in tech, and what they need to know so they can best position themselves for success.
While each woman had a different take on what the most important skill would be going forward—financial fluency, coding, or something else—they all agreed that it was important to be as well-rounded as possible. Each one of the panelists stated that their companies don’t want someone who is specific to one skill—they want a generalist. Lay a good foundation and it’s easier to climb farther.
They strongly emphasized having a plan, but being flexible enough to roll with the punches. Laurie Evans put it beautifully when she said, “Have a plan. But if life zigzags, that’s OK—just hang on for the ride.” All of the zigs and zags will give you the experience you need to both decide what it is that you want to do, and prepare you for anything that may come your way. Find strong mentors and form partnerships that will endure no matter the twists and turns.
Their advice boiled down to a few powerful statements: Articulate your vision. Enlist allies. Remain fully present. Be joyful. Be authentic.
I’ve also gone back through the full video archive (thanks Gigaom!) and selected three videos that I’ve been sharing with my colleagues and some of our enterprise B2B customers thinking about big data projects:
Thanks again to all who stopped by! If you didn’t have a chance to stop by our booth, email firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can setup a time to discuss how FirstRain Personal Business Analytics can give you a big-data view on your customers and markets.
The panel agreed that the most effective aspect of stiletto networks is that they are truly helpful to the women involved. They’re not a place to vent or complain; women come up with a concrete action plan and challenge each other intellectually as they navigate being leaders in the male-dominated fields of both Law and Tech. As Kathi stated at one point, “We interact with the world differently, and that’s OK. And it’s good to have a network of people to think through it.”
As Penny highlighted, it’s precisely for this reason that FirstRain has made a concerted effort to have a diverse leadership team: when you assemble a group of people with differing opinions and experiences, you end up being much more creative as a group—and more effective. As stiletto networks grow and empower the women involved, everyone—including businesses—benefits.
All of the panel discussion really boiled down to one idea, whether it’s women helping women or women interacting with men. Patricia said it perfectly—that empowering women is “about relationships—baby steps, and building relationships. It’s not going to happen overnight. You have to be in it for the long haul.”
We’re excited to announce that Penny has been invited to speak at the Ark Group Women Legal Forum on Wednesday, Feb. 5. The Women Legal Forum is advancing the increasingly important dialogue on gender diversity in the legal profession, while illustrating the business imperative for the retention and succession of female leadership.
Penny will take part in a panel discussion around the themes of the book Stiletto Network: Inside the Women’s Power Circles That Are Changing the Face of Business. The panel will focus on shedding light and sharing insight on models used in business that the legal profession can learn from and adopt.
For more information on the Ark Group Women Legal Forum and to see a complete list of speakers, please visit http://usa.ark-group.com/events-details.aspx?eid=142.