March TechTalk: KCWiT Celebrates International Women’s Day

Friday March 8 KCWiT decided to do something a little special for International Women’s Day. We got together with KC’s Women Techmakers and featured three inspiring women working in the tech industry. KCWiT’s Diversity and Inclusion Director Rhia Dixon, designer Pamela Porto, and developer Krista LaFentres shared their stories of getting into the industry and encouraged audience members to reach for their dreams. Follow our panelists’ tips below and you’ll be well on your way to working in technology!

audience at techtalk event at VeriShip

Our panelists kicked off the event by describing their background and what they have learned over their careers in tech. Pamela said the biggest challenge was becoming a mother and finding her work-life balance. However, having good mentors and being able to work from home were instrumental to her success. And you can find that perfect balance too! Rhia encouraged participants to not let self-doubt keep you from applying for the jobs you want:

“The worst someone will do is say no. Then why wouldn’t you just go for it? Our hiring manager said they don’t get a lot of resumes from women. It seems at times women feel like they have to be perfect before they even try to do something. Usually not the case with men. Just think of what the man version of yourself would do, and do that,” – Rhia Dixon

Panelists then took audience questions and shared their specific tips for thriving at work. Attendees who asked questions received a fancy notebook from KC Women Techmakers!

Helpful Tips for Working in Tech

  • Speak up! Don’t be known as the Yes-Woman because that’s how projects fail
  • Find your community (hinthint join KC Women in Tech!)
  • Don’t be intimidated if tech people use acronyms or buzzwords you don’t understand, just ask the person or Google the word
  • Self-care is important: you cannot pour from an empty cup
  • If you have trouble bouncing back from rejection, just think back to where you were when you started. You’ve probably improved your skills!
  • If you are having trouble with a task, try to figure it out yourself first and then ask for help

The panelists have had some challenges  working in a field where men and even other women can be discouraging. One attendee asked specifically what to do if you are discouraged by women at work. Check out the video below to hear their answer.

 If you’re interested in learning more about the tech industry in Kansas City, sign up for our April TechTalk: What is a PM? Our panelists will discuss what they do, what the difference is between project management and product management, and more. This will also be a great networking opportunity so you can make connections and find your community, just like our panelists encouraged!

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