A volunteer from last year’s Women 2.0 conference lists six ways the experience was awesome.
By Maral Kalajian (Digital Marketer & Women 2.0 Conference Volunteer)
I left Stockholm for a six-month inspirational trip to the Bay Area early 2013. In love with the tech startup world, I was looking to experience a taste of Silicon Valley, home to my beloved Steve Jobs. Women 2.0 was already on my radar, having followed women in tech news via blogs, newsletters, and social media. I knew about the SF conference, so I volunteered.
I will highlight my experience in six points:
I do not want to call it networking because it was more than networking. I met many interesting people from all walks of life and we even managed to keep in touch. Forming a group of 25 volunteers, we had coffee breaks together, had lunch together and ended up meeting for various activities after the conference was over. Many of us were not from the Bay Area or the States. So it was interesting to get a diverse mix.
The speakers, the volunteers and the attendees were all inspirational. Everybody I met had a great story to tell, a story I could learn from. I recall when we met on the 13th of February to do some prep work before the big day we were 25 people, and most of us either had startups or were planning to have one, which showed the Silicon Valley spirit at the conference.
So Much Learning!
I learned how to tweet and follow a hashtag stream. I think hashtags are a revolution. I have met many people from the hashtag. It was a full-blown day, and I felt I was working in a startup, where you get to wear different hats at a fast pace in a dynamic environment.
You Are Part of the Majority
I love diversity, but gender-related variety is rare. How many of you have felt yourself to be a minority every time you attended a tech meetup or a conference where, among hundreds of men, there were only a handful of women? Well, the SF conference of Women 2.0 was the opposite and the first one I attended where it felt nice to be part of the big crowd.
Volunteering was the cherry on top! And volunteering at an event that I am passionate about was a real treat. If you, like me, are interested in women’s role in tech startups in general, you will enjoy the experience as much I did. I seriously recommend you pamper yourself with this event on Valentine’s Day.
Getting a peek at the behind-the-scenes action was the best part, sort of like seeing the bloopers of a show. Many things didn’t go as planned yet we were able to pull it off and find a solution on the spot. And you know what, it was great fun!
Coming back to my question: ‘Ever spent Valentines Day with 1000+ inspiring women?’ Yes, I did spend Valentine’s Day with wonderful women and I would do it again anytime! Unfortunately, I couldn’t fly to SF this year. But perhaps in 2015, I can attend again with some of Stockholm’s tech startups that I am working with today. But if you are in SF or in the area, I highly recommend you to go for it!
Interested in volunteering? This is the form for you!
About the guest blogger: Maral Kalajian (@Maralkalajian) is a digital marketer who loves working with startups. She has a passion for tech, social media and HR! She is helping two early-stage startups: @eQidz, an Emotional Intelligence mobile game for kids and @Skillable, a new platform for HR analytics.
Image credit: Photo by http://elvinabeck.com/