Girl Geek Dinners was established in London in 2005. The New Zealand chapter has been running for a couple of years now, and Xero recently got involved with sponsoring a New Zealand event. The concept is an evening of three inspiring women speakers who are either a business, technical, or creative type of geek.
I first heard about the Auckland Girl Geek Dinners on twitter and was unsure if I would qualify, I’ve really only considered myself a ‘wannabe’ geek. However inclusivity is the core value of the organization – “to be geeky is to be intelligent, have a passion for a subject and to know that subject in depth”. I AM a geek! I spend my days geekily creating videos used for training and in the Xero help center.
Tuesday night was the most recent event of the Auckland chapter, held at a gorgeous intimate venue, which filled up fairly early on with interesting women – as well as a few male guests. I met geeks of all types; start-up founders, IT consultants, lawyers, designers, database specialists, some like me had been to prior events, some were new to the concept. Enthusiasm abounded.
The evening’s speakers provided a good balance of career types – Shona Grundy, founder of Trigger Happy, Courtney Johnston director of The Dowse Art Museum and Dr Michelle Dickinson Nano-technologist, all talked about their personal career journeys, challenges they faced, and their vision for women in business.
Now I’m, almost, a ‘woman of a certain age’ and over the years have worked in a broad range of industries, many male dominated. The tech industry, despite it being very nimble and new, still manages to harbor some old school biases I’d previously only seen in old-school-entrenched industries. It’s mind boggling to think in this day and age there are still some workplaces, or conferences, which aren’t inclusive nor consider the benefits to being so. This is why Girl Geek Dinners exist, a place where women can talk openly about what they do, what they’re passionate about and can share knowledge and life learnings.
I’m thrilled to work at Xero, not only because it’s a great place, but also because they are one of the few companies I’ve worked for where you’re respected for what you do, not who you are. When I found they were to sponsor this particular Auckland Girl Geek Dinner, it just reiterated to me that Xero walks the talk when it comes to not only creating the best online accounting software there is, but to also provide an inclusive, awesome, workplace.
Next week there’s a Girl Geek Dinner is in Wellington on one of the evenings of the NetHui conference.