“Get out of the mode of what you do day-to-day and what is important today, and get a new perspective.”
By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)
In the days leading up to the Google developer confeerence – Google I/O 2012 – a Women Techmakers event at Google’s San Francisco office was the hottest ticket in town.
Women building products at Google sat on the panel moderated by Megan Smith (VP, Google), who kicked off the panel by citing Alice Walker – “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for”. She encouraged the audience to take ownership of projects to reap benefits for both your company and your career. She moderates a thoughtful discussion on women in technology today.
Here are some of the discussion topics the panel touched on -
On Ideation And Turning An Idea Something Big
When asked about innovation, Angela Lai (VP Payments, Google) talked about Google engineering culture -
“The spirit of pushing yourself beyond the comfort zone – what more can we do? Think of ways to look at your job differently. Get out of the mode of what you do day-to-day and what is important today, and get a new perspective.”
Susan Wojcicki (SVP Advertising, Google) recommended leading a product by vision. If you can explain where you want to go in two years, you can find the right people to join your cause and figure out the tactical steps to get to that vision.
On Women And Representation In Computer Science
To encourage more girls to go into engineering, Gayathri Rajan (Director of Product Management, Google) broached making engineering more social or philanthropic.
Anna Patterson (Director of Engineering, Google) focused on the media’s role in discouraging women from STEM, adding that -
“Media portrays it.. as a loner thing [when] actually working in an engineering team is a remarkably together thing, like rowing crew together. It’s really intense social interactions and a lot of teamwork and I think women could bring a lot to tech teams.”
Susan Wojcicki pointed out that computer scientists are makers, but it’s not represented that way in the media. So how do you make it seem as creative and interactive and team-oriented as it really is? This is the question of the decade.
On Women And Confidence
Megan Smith told a story about Mary Lou Jepsen taking testosterone after having a brain tumor removed and her body didn’t make any neurotransmitters and hormones anymore.
In a guest blog post for Women 2.0 last year, Mary Lou reported on her experiments taking testosterone -
“I thought I was the smartest person in the whole darn world. And super confident, which is a lot like a teenage boy! I think the hyper-confidence comes from a place of insecurity, while women underestimate themselves and try to be humble. I got off the testosterone, I couldn’t handle it.”
On Women Supporting Women
Gayathri Rajan applauded the Google women on the panel for sponsoring women -
“They have really given back. They found ways to sponsor other people at work, sometimes women, sometimes men. They invested, often not overtly, behind closed doors, sponsoring you in a meeting when you are not present. Every woman – regardless at thir level – this is something we can do for each other.
Research found that women tend to ask for themselves. They are not liked as much as when they ask for others. If this is what we have to do, let’s make the most of it. Sponsor someone. Say something nice about someone. Seed those thoughts in people.”
Grab your own thought-provoking nuggets of wisdom from the . What did you think of the discussion? Let us know in the comments below.
Angie Chang co-founded Women 2.0 in 2006. She currently serves as Editor-In-Chief of Women 2.0 and is working to mainstream women in high-growth, high-tech entrepreneurship. Previously, Angie held roles in product management and web UI design. In 2008, Angie launched Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners, asking that guys come as the “+1″ for once. Angie holds a B.A. in English and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter at @thisgirlangie.