Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Low-down on Speaking at GHC17

So you're speaking at GHC17. What do you need to know? How can you prepare to be the best you can be? How do you calm your nerves?!


Although I wasn't lucky enough to have any submissions accepted to this year's conference, I have spoken at Grace Hopper before along with many other venues. Let me start by reassuring you that this is one of the very best places to present. I have rarely found a more wonderfully supportive audience.

Let's get some of the official stuff out of the way. As a speaker, you need to thoroughly read through everything on the speakers section of the conference website. In particular, note the quick references on the right.

I'd like to draw your attention especially to the Speaker Ready Room info. There, you'll learn about uploading your slides before your presentation, and you'll see a link to the slides template. Please take the time to design your presentation using the template right from the get-go. Trying to shoehorn an existing presentation into the template tends to look unprofessional, and not using the template at all even more so. Also make sure to leave plenty of time to upload your presentation and test it. You'll want to make sure any embedded media is actually embedded, and that your fonts and colours look ok.

The conference website also includes some tips on speaking. I'd also like to share another amazing resource that brings you weekly inspiration and advice on speaking: a newsletter called Technically Speaking. Subscribe now and you will benefit leading up to your talk, and check out the archives as well.

Finally, I have a few tips of my own:
  • Design your slides with as few words as possible. Convey the main idea through pictures and a short phrase.
  • Add speaker notes into the notes section of the slides. When practising, you can simply read the notes at first. This should make you familiar enough to be able to improvise more day-of.
  • Practice in front of colleagues at some point with enough time to receive feedback. Provide them with a written feedback form they can use to give you anonymous ideas for improvement.
  • On the day of your talk, arrive in the room early to give yourself time to calm your nerves.
  • Make sure you have access to water during the talk.
  • Before you start, take some deep breaths, maybe with your eyes closed. Think yoga breathing.
  • Invite the audience to chat with you after the talk, and stand somewhere where it's easy for the audience to actually do so.
Good luck with your talk – I'll know you'll be awesome!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Childcare at GHC

Are you a mom in computing planning on attending Grace Hopper this year? Then I highly recommend considering bringing your kid(s). Not only is there a huge opportunity to visit Disney while you're already in Orlando (shh, I'm planning on surprising my daughter with this), but the childcare option is top notch. And it's FREE!

I brought the whole family to Grace Hopper 2012 in Baltimore when my daughter was ten months old. We made a road trip out of it, visiting some other states along the way. Since my husband was also registered for the conference, we made use of the daycare a lot during the day, and once in the evening for the sponsor night party. We were really happy with the care, and I was easily able to stop in and nurse or provide expressed milk as needed. We noted the fun the older kids seemed to be having when we caught glimpses of them on their scavenger hunts and such.

Ready to roll on our big GHC road trip back in 2012!

This year, my daughter will be almost six, and we have a son who will be 7 months old. The whole family is coming again so we can hit Disney afterwards. I figured my daughter would have a blast in the childcare, where her outgoing personality would means she'll easily make some new friends. My husband, who is currently on parental leave, will mostly take care of our son, but I signed our son up for a day of care as well in case daddy wanted to play tourist a bit.

If you want to sign up for childcare, the deadline is September 20. Make sure you have a good idea of when you'll actually use it, because there is a charge for missing sessions you sign up for. Otherwise, it's totally free!

Get all the info on the childcare page of the conference website.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Traveling to Orlando and Packing Tips for GHC

This will be my fourth time attending the Grace Hopper Celebration and I get just as excited as the first time I attended.  There are so many things to see and do but to have the best experience possible, you need to prepare before you go.  Here is my essential list of tips on travel and what to bring.

What to Bring

Comfortable Shoes

Pack two pair of shoes – one casual pair and one professional pair.  DON’T PACK HEELS!  GHC is huge.  Do yourself a favor and pack the most comfortable shoes you have.  Your Fitbit will shower you with accolades halfway through each day because of the amount of walking you will do. 

A Portable Charger

Listen, there are 18,000 of us coming together for GHC.  EIGHTEEN THOUSAND.  And I would venture to say that we will all have at least two devices that will need charging sometime during the day.  There will be places to charge your devices but it will be easier to get to every activity on time if you bring a portable battery charger so you can charge on the go.


Plus, I always feel a little bit sad when I see a group of women huddled around an outlet, waiting to get enough charge on their devices so they can rejoin the celebration.  So let’s resolve that we will have no downtime at GHC due to drained devices, m'kay?

Business cards

I know I just mentioned it, but there will be EIGHTEEN THOUSAND people at GHC this year.  That is an incredible network of industry and academic professionals, executives, and students waiting to connect with you!  Make sure you have business cards (and a pen) on hand.  Exchange cards and jot down tidbits about the conversation you had on the person’s card so that you can easily follow up with them via email later (e.g. Hello Rosalind, it was wonderful speaking with you during the Women of Color luncheon about research opportunities at your AI lab).

Printed resume

Step 1 is to upload your resume and/or CV to the GHC17 Resume Database

Step 2 is to bring printed copies of your resume to the Career Fair, even if you have secured an interview with an organization prior to attending.  Did I mention that there will be EIGHTEEN THOUSAND people in attendance this year?  Recruiters will generally ask for your resume so they can jot down their impressions of you and notes about your conversation for later review.  Again, make sure to have a pen on hand to jot down the name of the person with whom you spoke and any pertinent information they may provide.  You can even ask a recruiter if she minds if you snap a picture of her and her badge.  It’s nice to be able to put a face with your notes later.  A career fair program will be one of the items provided in your GHC bag so you can make notes near the description of the organization.

Refillable Water Bottle

There will be plenty to eat and drink during GHC.  However, I always bring a refillable water bottle to make it easy to stay hydrated throughout the day.  This is especially important for those who are not acclimated to very warm and humid climates.

Indoor and Outdoor Weather-Appropriate Garments

I lived in Orlando several years ago, and I must say that October is usually the best month as far as weather is concerned.  It is less humid but still warm and sunny.  However, the daily afternoon rain showers may still occur (it’s a Florida thing), so you should be prepared with a pocket umbrella.  Also, the sessions can get a bit chilly, so pack a thin sweater or wrap.  I personally carry an infinity scarf; it can be worn around the neck or around the shoulders but it folds up into a small package.

NOTE:  Get up-to-date local weather information from one of the local station's weather app:

A Sturdy Bag

You’ll be provided with a bag at check-in, but they have varied in capacity and storage capabilities (i.e. number of compartments) over the years.  I would advise bringing a bag that you will feel comfortable carrying around all day, just in case.  Some people carry book bags; others carry a large purse.  Just make sure that it is something that allows you to be comfortable while keeping your hands free.

Me my first time at GHC

Leave Space!

This is one that I learned the hard way my first year at GHC.  The shear amount of swag that you will be offered at GHC is incredible.  Save room in your luggage for swag - especially if you are flying.  I generally use one of the canvas bags you will undoubtedly be given as swag to store my other swag in so I can carry it on the plane.  Just be mindful of FAA regulations regarding the types and sizes of items that can be brought onto domestic and international flights.  There is nothing worse than a TSA agent confiscating your really cool swag items.

How to Get Around

Ok, now that you know what to bring to GHC, let's focus on getting there and getting around.  Here are my best travel tips:


First, let’s clear up what is always a bit of confusion for newcomers to Orlando.  Don’t panic if your Uber driver asks if you’re going to OIA but your itinerary says MCO.  It’s the same place.  You will hear people call the Orlando International Airport by its abbreviation, OIA.  But you will see its callsign written as MCO.  It turns out that McCoy Air Base occupied that location before OIA was built, so the callsign MCO remains.  Orlando International Airport (MCO) is the airport most people use, but it is by no means the only one in the area.  There is also Orlando Sanford Airport (SFB) if you don’t mind a bit of a drive and Orlando Executive Airport (ORL) if you plan to take a private jet or a helicopter (I’d like to ride with you if you plan to take a private jet or a helicopter).    

How I imagine the shuttle to heaven looks
Once you are in town, you have several options for ground transportation.  Uber and Lyft were just recently given permission to pick up and drop off at OIA.  Check with others about arrival times and departure times so that you can share a ride.  Taxis and hotel shuttles are also available.  The MEARS shuttle service can bring you to International Drive (I-Drive to locals) where GHC17 will be held.  Once you’re on I-Drive, you can catch the I-Drive Trolley to the attractions.  And don’t forget that GHC is providing shuttles between the GHC hotels from the venue.

Toll Roads

Orlando has a system of toll roads that lead into and around the city.  If you’re a Floridian, you may have a SunPass (E-Pass in Orlando) that will allow you to zoom through the toll areas without slowing down.  If not, be prepared to throw change at a toll booth if you plan to drive.  Florida’s Turnpike is a toll road that connects to I-75 and leads into the city. There are also several toll roads around Orlando such as the East-West Expressway that can get you across town relatively quickly.  GHC is being held in venues on I-Drive and there are plenty of places to shop, restaurants, and attractions in that area, so you may decide not to venture out into the city.  But I hope you do because there are some fantastic local places like Lake Eola and Waterford Lakes Town Center that are great ways to spend an afternoon.  Just know that the traffic on city streets can get heavy during rush hour, which is why the toll roads are convenient.

sidenote: Yes, Rosalind Ave is named after me.  No, no it really isn’t but I like to pretend that it is.

One last note…

Orlando is a relatively safe and fun place, but the constant influx of tourists does make it a thieves' paradise.  Be sure to secure your belongings while out and about – don’t leave your purse/bag/shopping bags hanging on the back of your chair.  Some attractions have trained security who will actually take such items when you are not looking in order to highlight how easily things can go missing.

Ok, go get packed!  GHC is almost here! And don’t hesitate to say hi if you see me wandering around; we'll exchange business cards!

Rosalind loves her dog and the beach in that order.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

ABIE Awards

There are a number of women technologists around the world who commit their work and time on making the world a better place for the future generations. In honor of their commitment to the social responsibility, Anita Borg Institute awards them with ABIE awards every year.

Each year these awesome women will be honored with a cash prize, and all expense paid trip to GHC and an opportunity to speak at GHC to motivate other women. The award has 7 categories to cover a wide area of involvement in community.

Technical Leadership ABIE Award

This award is to recognize women who demonstrate leadership through their contributions to technology and achievements in increasing the representation of women in tech.

ABIE Award for Leadership

This is for the women who serve in significant leadership roles in advancing technology, who has a strong focus on increasing women’s representation and success in the field.

ABIE Award for Technology Entrepreneurship

This award recognizes women who build innovative, ground breaking, and game changing technology venture startups.

Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award

This is for junior faculty members for high quality research and significant positive impact on diversity.

Richard Newton Educator ABIE Award

This is for the educators who develop innovative teaching practices and approaches to attract girls and women to STEM fields.

Student of Vision

This award is to recognize a young female student who commit their time to facilitate the development of technology in their communities.

Social Impact ABIE Award

This recognizes a women whose work is making a positive social impact on women, technology and the society.

Change Agent ABIE Award

This goes to a non us resident (specially the women in developing countries), who makes a change by creating and expanding opportunities for women in technology.

Want to see these awesome women who won the ABIE awards in 2017? Here is the list of the award winners with their profiles. Join with us at GHC 2017 to listen to these awesome women speak and share their experience.

Systers: Your Global Community

“Until Systers came into existence, the notion of a global community of women in computer science did not exist.”    — Anita Borg Lo...