Speakers at this year's Women in Technology (WIT) events at Microsoft Ignite will be taking on a wide range of issues that are changing and challenging tech, business, and innovation: Closing the gender gap. Why diversity is good for business. Leadership. Male allies. Women inventors filing their first patents. Here's who's coming—and a glimpse of what they have to say.
Luncheon with Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code
"Empowering Women Across the Globe"
Wednesday, Sep. 28, 12:00–1:30 PM
By 2020, there will be 1.4 million new jobs available in computing-related fields. US graduates are on track to fill 29 percent of those jobs. Women are on track to fill just 3 percent.
Join Reshma Saujani as she talks about working to close this gender gap in technology, and why embracing risk and failure is key to success. Reshma, who has been named one of Forbes' Most Powerful Women Changing the World, will also share how she has charted her own course personally and professionally as a woman in leadership.
As part of this session, you'll hear how Microsoft is empowering young, female inventors from around the globe through the Microsoft Patent Program to #MakeWhatsNext—and meet these innovators who are realizing ideas that are transforming local communities and ultimately changing the world.
Women in Technology Reception
Tuesday, Sep. 27, 6:00–7:30 PM
Julie Haley, Edge Solutions, CEO and Founder
Serena Sacks, CIO at Fulton County Schools
Leanne West, Chief Engineer for Pediatric Technologies for Georgia Tech, a Principal Research Scientist for the Georgia Tech Research Institute, and the Chief Innovation Officer for the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Pediatric Technology Center
Moderator: Denise Reese, WIT Board Member
Hear award-winning female technology executives share their best leadership tips.
At this reception, three of WIT's Women of the Year Award winners will discuss how they have become successful and respected female business leaders, visionaries of technology, and women who make a difference in their communities.
Get ready for an evening of entertaining and insightful conversation—plus the opportunity to network with others who have a common interest in technology—as these execs share the challenges, learnings, achievements, and best practices that have led them to their success.
Theater Session: Diversity as the Key to Growth
Sharon Chang, AgilePoint
Diversity is no longer a nice-to-have. It's now a must-have for companies as a strategic business imperative, because diversity is about meeting the needs of changing customers in a changing world.
In this session, Sharon will discuss why organizations that seek global market relevancy must embrace diversity—in how they think, act, and innovate. And why diversity is no longer just a matter of hitting hiring quotas, but rather how an organization treats its people down to the root of its business model.
Theater Session: Kickstarting a Male Allies Program
Ti Jefferson, Microsoft
What can we do to engage and keep women in technology? This session highlights the efforts and successes of a dedicated group of people who are changing the culture of their organization by engaging male allies. In showcasing this journey, Ti will provide you with tools and strategies that you can leverage immediately within your business.
Theater Session: Microsoft Patent Program
Jenny Leahy and Markus Weickenmeier, Microsoft
Currently, women hold only 7.5 percent of all patents and only 5.5 percent of commercial patents in the United States. Women also represent no more than 15 percent of all inventors.
The Microsoft Patent Program brings together teams of women inventors from around the globe who are realizing ideas that can change the world—everything from early detection of sickle cell anemia to how to counter bullying—with legal support and guidance from the Microsoft patent board and senior executives. Plan to be inspired and come hear these amazing teams talk about their first patent submissions.
Mark your calendar now for the luncheon with Reshma and for the reception, and if you haven't already, register now for Microsoft Ignite! We'll be posting times and dates for the Theater Sessions soon. We look forward to seeing you at what will be an incredibly powerful series of events in Atlanta.