By Tanya Wolf
On the 20th of July I had the chance to attend the networking event of We Shape Tech in Zurich. To put it straight: it was a blast. Again. Read on for some personal experiences.
A Little Bit of History
We Shape Tech hosted three events so far. Each one was different from each other but all of them turned out to be very inspirational. The inauguration event in March assembled more than 100 women from all IT areas. Several interactive workshops were held to develop the manifesto of We Shape Tech. Well, I was skeptical about that. But it worked out and it was fun!
The second event was a lecture about successful public speaking held by the former SRF anchor women Beatrice Müller. What an impressive presentation. I consider myself an experienced speaker but the take-aways from that lecture were numerous.
The Rooftop Event
The third event was dedicated to pure networking in order to get to know each other better. About 70 women gathered at the rooftop of Puzzle ITC at the previously warmest evening of the summer.
A fotobooth with a short statement about everyone’s personal role model was the first mission to complete. My personal role model is Grace Murray Hopper, one of the first women to work on a real computer in the 1940ies. I admire her most for her creativity and her idea that computers need languages that are machine-independent.
The board was extended due to the active participation of many women. Janine Fuchs, Tanya Wüthrich, Valérie Vuillerat, Angela Dannhorn, Marike Carstens and Petra Ehmann presented themselves and their individual motivation in very personal and entertaining speeches.
They informed us about the upcoming plans too. A lot of enhancements are on the plate to keep We Shape Tech exciting. There will be panel-discussions, company memberships, smaller events with specific topics and much more.
The sponsor of the evening – Puzzle ITC, an open-source IT company – presented themselves with a very personal speech by Gertrud Schober, head of Human Resources.
And then it was definitely time to step into active networking.
In her introduction Petra talked about feeling a little misplaced and lonely on most of the business networking events. I am convinced that many of us felt like that before. That is why the organizers opted for guided networking. All participants received one question at a time with the challenge to speak to another women that she never talked to before. The gong sounded after five minutes and the next round was up.
So everyone surfed the room, seeking for unknown companions and a lot of positive vibes floated around. I shared and received a lot of input. The topic pane was long, spanning from how a PADI course can help you leave your personal comfort zone, discussing the characteristics of our role models, wondering how complex the definition of a “NO” moment really is (we ended up with negative experiences in business) and much more. At the end I was a bit husky but happy and much impressed like @Tarya:
After that we faded out into an easier networking with Prosecco and very good Apéro plates.
One of the most heard feedbacks last week: “It does not happen that often that I have the chance to have good chats with women that I never met before”. Everyone I talked to was grateful for the chance for active networking a bit beyond the personal comfort zone.
The We Shape Tech crew is well aware that it takes more than just a room to foster a reliable and inspiring network. You need some diversity too. All past three events showed that kind of diversity spirit with their different approach. Maybe that is the secret.
I’m always in when it comes to sharing experiences, driving things from within, out-of-the-box solutions and networking in general. We Shape Tech has it all and – last but not least – it is open minded to all our different professions that shape IT. This is my very personal motivation to join. Could not express my feelings better than by the words of @simonefelicitas: