On April 23rd, VMware hosted the fourth annual Women Transforming Technology (WT2) conference at VMware Headquarters in Palo Alto. WT2, founded by VMware, is a consortium of companies and organizations in the industry, academia, and non-profit sectors that are committed to building a community and tackling issues that are top of mind for women in technology. Along with VMware, this Year’s sponsors included Cloudera, Mozilla, Pivotal, Rubrik, Toyota Research Institute, Workday, MotherCoders, Women Who Code and the VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab at Stanford University. The event is designed to create space and opportunities for women and allies to discuss topics and tackle issues that are top of mind for women in tech.
The morning of WT2 kicked off with a keynote from Joy Buolamwini, an MIT Algorithmic Bias Researcher at the MIT Media Lab. Joy spoke about her ground-breaking work on AI, facial recognition and the “unsampled majority.” After Joy’s keynote, a distinguished plenary panel, including VMware’s own Executive Vice President and CTO Ray O’Farrell, CEO of tEquitable, Lisa Gelobter, and New York Op-Ed Technology Editor Susan Fowler, explored this year’s conference theme “Inclusive Innovators.” The discussion centered around how meaningful change towards greater diversity is realized in engineering cultures.
Over the course of the day, 500+ attendees also had the opportunity to attend many interesting breakout sessions given by merging industry experts and insiders across three tracks: Diversity & Inclusion, Emerging Leadership, Executive Leadership, and Technical.
Actress and Activist Ashley Judd closed out the day with a wonderful keynote that centered around vulnerability and the importance of listening without being triggered. The event really resonated with the people who attended in person and virtually as 91% of attendee survey respondents said the conference was very good or excellent. The event hashtag #wt2sv highlighted the conversations being had in real-time online; at one point it even trended on Twitter. VMware employees from twenty-two countries were invited to stream the day’s content from their workplaces. The day wrapped up with a relaxed networking session and some refreshments.
Feedback from WT2 2019 has been overwhelmingly positive with 90% of attendee survey respondents saying that they would recommend the conference to others; this important conference is gaining momentum every year and we are all looking forward to what’s in store for WT2 2020.
Author: Arti Sharma – Diversity and Inclusion Program Manager at VMware.