From the moment I walked into Twitter Headquarters for OUTC (Out for Undergrad in Technology Conference) 2015, I was greeted with warmth and excitement. Everyone was all smiles and eager to begin what was to be three days of growth, learning, and meaningful connections. Day two (company representatives didn’t come until the second day) kicked off with an inspirational keynote from entrepreneur, theoretical neuroscientist, and technologist, Dr. Vivienne Ming. Dr. Ming shared that people have 11 opportunities in life to maximize their full potential. She expressed to students the importance of taking advantage of opportunities that come their way. Dr. Ming’s keynote set the tone for the remainder of the conference by challenging conference attendees to maximize their full potential. By doing so, not only could each individual thrive, but also the entire workplace community could grow.
Following Dr. Ming’s keynote, students were asked to reflect on their own strengths, areas of development, and what they are truly looking for in a professional work environment. I, along with other VMware and industry volunteers, helped guide the conference attendees in this reflection exercise. Through this, students were able to define what they are looking for in a career by reflecting on likes and dislikes from previous roles. It was inspiring to hear how many students were interested in gaining a mentor. I have personally grown through my mentorship at VMware, so it was rewarding to be able to share more about our mentor program for students with OUTC participants.
VMware’s own VP of HR Centers of Excellence, Rich Lang, also spoke with students during one of OUTC’s Lightening Talks. Rich shared with students how he has been more successful and an all around happier individual when he has brought his full self to work. It was inspiring to see how Rich’s talk resonated with students. During the career fair later that day I had an attendee tell me that she felt that Rich’s words were shared directly to her. She went on to add that after hearing Rich speak, she now had the courage to be her true self back at school.
Overall, I was blown away by the intellectual prowess of the students and their drive to grow in their careers after school. I’m proud that VMware was a part of such an inspiring weekend that empowers future technology leaders in the LGBT community and am happy to know that our workplace community fosters an environment where all people can thrive.
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