VMware interns contribute their intellectual curiosity, innovative ideas and refreshing enthusiasm to VMware every day. Do you want to know what it would be like to walk in their shoes? Let’s find out with the help of Palo Alto-based intern Manasvi Somaiya as she shares her experience at the 2012 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.
I first learned about Grace Hopper when Rose Robinson from Anita Borg Institute (ABI) spoke about the need to promote and empower women in technology at a Women Connecting Women (WCW) event held at VMware. Rose’s talk left an impression on me; I was amazed by the hard work that she and many other great women have put into fostering an environment where young women can connect and pursue a career in technology. When I found out that VMware was going to sponsor me and a few other female interns to attend the Grace Hopper conference I was thrilled and could not wait to attend!
The 2012 Grace Hopper Conference was held on October 3-6 in Baltimore, Maryland. With over 3,500 attendees, I saw a blend of women from diverse backgrounds, industries and cultures. The conference provided a great platform to network with students and faculty from a variety of institutions, as well as industry leaders and research enthusiasts. The main theme of the conference was based on one simple question – 'Are We There Yet?'. This question was spread across multiple tracks – Academics, Career Development, Leadership, Research and Social Collaboration just to name a few. Speaker sessions, group meetings and seminars held by prominent women from various technology sectors spoke on these topics.
One of the most inspiring talks that I attended was, ‘Are you Ready to be Thought Leader?’. This session focused on the importance of being a thought leader in technology and it encouraged attendees to sharpen their creative skills and to be open to expressing their own ideas. It questioned the confines that we often put on ourselves and pressed the significance of thinking outside the box. The panel discussion, ‘Letters to my younger self’ was a great to way to learn from stories shared by women who overcame the barriers of working in a technical role. This was beneficial for me since I will be starting my professional career soon.
During my internship at VMware many of the interns grew to become close friends. As a dual benefit, I got a chance to reunite and spend some time with them at the conference. I am proud to say that I interned at a company that supports and sponsors women like me in this field.
Alas, the four days at the Grace Hopper Conference ended all too soon, but not without a big bang. The conference closed with a fun filled celebration event at the Maryland Science Convention Center. As a first timer, I made the most of it and enjoyed every opportunity provided to conference attendees. Overall, the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference was an enlightening experience that helped me see the importance of thought-share and connecting women in the technology sector. Given, the opportunity I would love to participate, contribute and continue to become enlightened and inspired by other women through initiatives such as Grace Hopper.
- Manasvi Somaiya, 2012 VMware User Experience Intern
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