Menlo Park, CA, May 16, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hundreds of community and technology leaders gathered today with middle and high school students for a conversation about diversifying leadership in Silicon Valley and how best to inspire more young women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math at the annual Girls @ The Tech Luncheon, presented by The Tech Museum of Innovation. The luncheon, held at the Sharon Heights Golf & Country Club, featured a conversation with Carol Bartz, former CEO of Autodesk and Yahoo; Aileen Lee, founder of Cowboy Ventures; and moderator Nita Singh Kaushal, founder of Miss CEO. They shared some of their challenges and advice for students.
"There are plenty of times in people's careers where we don't feel like we fit,” said Lee, who recently joined with other female venture capitalists to hold regular office hours for female founders to help them finesse their startup pitches. “That's what we want to change for the next generation.”
Bartz encouraged the young women in the room not to worry about choosing a career path too early: “You’re going to work for 50 years — you don’t have to get it right the first time,” she said. “Stay curious. I enjoyed working in tech because it's complex. You think through different questions every day. If you keep curious, you'll keep learning.”
The Tech Museum of Innovation launched the Girls @ The Tech initiative in 2015 to build a pipeline of opportunities for girls that nurture their interest, boost their skills and solidify their confidence in STEM. The initiative supports a series of Girls Days @ The Tech events that engage girls and their families in STEM activities; girls’ participation in the annual youth engineering program The Tech Challenge, which has a high percentage of female participants; and professional development for educators focused on inclusion and engineering design.
“I want a world full of strong women leaders,” said Tim Ritchie, president and CEO of The Tech. “It’s aggravating and surprising that that’s not the world we have. But it’s the world that you can help make happen, and it’s the world that The Tech can help make happen.”
The event also featured remarks from Rita Holiday, community engagement manager at Intel; Mauria Finley, CEO of Allume and member of The Tech’s board of directors; Marisol Barahona of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County; and Anna Schlegel, senior director of globalization programs and information strategy at NetApp.
Many students at the luncheon said they had their sights set on careers in STEM.
“I don’t always see Latina representation in STEM, and I want to create a business that allows more people of color to be in tech,” said Jennifer Delgado, a senior at Cristo Rey San Jose High School who plans to study computer science at UC-Irvine in the fall. “I often underestimate myself, so my favorite piece of advice today was that it’s OK to be yourself and not assimilate to other people’s opinions.”
Girls @ The Tech is made possible by the generous support of Gilead, Intel, Milligan Family Foundation, NetApp, eBay, Gregory P. Luth & Associates, Inc., KLA-Tencor Foundation, Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner, BNY Mellon, Arm, Bank of America, EY, First Tech Federal Credit Union, Hitachi Vantara, Mike Jacobson and Trine Sorensen, Mayfield, PayPal, SAP, Seagate, Peter and Renuka Relan, Mauria Finley and Greg Yap, Tim Haley and Ethna McGourty in appreciation of Charmaine & Dan Warmenhoven, Cooley, IBM, PwC and Zoom. Additional support provided by Jami and Stephen Nachtsheim, Wayne and Janie Lambert, John and Barbara Glynn, Mona Sabet, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Rhonda Mahendroos and Dr. Myriam Curet.
About The Tech Museum of Innovation
The Tech is a hands-on technology and science museum for people of all ages and backgrounds. The museum — located in the Capital of Silicon Valley — is a non-profit experiential learning resource established to engage people in exploring and experiencing applied technologies affecting their lives. Through programs such as The Tech Challenge, our annual team-design competition for youth, and internationally renowned programs such as The Tech for Global Good, The Tech endeavors to inspire the innovator in everyone.