NEW BERN – The first in-person NC TECH Summit for Women in Tech continues Friday in New Bern, and the two-day event is full of networking, keynotes and motivational moments, and panel discussions covering a slate of topics. which include the future of technology, how to negotiate your value, and career paths and choices for women in technical roles.
Prior to the event, WRAL TechWire connected with Michelle Calton, Vice President of Strategy and Development at NC TECH, and a slightly edited Q&A style interview with Calton follows.
WRAL TechWire (TW): Tell us about this year’s event and what to expect
Michelle Calton (Calton): A few years ago, when NC TECH decided to add a women in tech summit to our lineup of flagship events, our intention was to make it a destination event that would attract women from across the state. . After two successful virtual events, our third event will finally be held in person in beautiful New Bern. There is also virtual access for those unable to attend in person, and virtual tickets can still be purchased on the event website.
Summit attendees can expect to engage with women in a variety of roles, career stages, and locations, both in tech and tech-enabled organizations. Attendees will enjoy a variety of networking activities and hear from keynote speakers Savita Raj and Laurie Ruettimann, as well as keynote speakers Dante Anderson, Robin Gordon and Anne Hungate, who will provide shorter “motivational moments”. The agenda will also include panel discussions focusing on topics such as the future of technology, negotiating your value, and Pathways + Choices for Tech Women. Our vision is to provide an event rich in content, mentorship, inspiration, takeaways and fun!
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Learn more about the Summit
TW: Will there be a theme for the event this year?
Calton: We engaged a host committee, comprised of female technology leaders from across the state, to identify a relevant theme and plan the event.
The theme chosen this year is Solve for W – The Women in Tech Equationwhich aims to highlight the strengths that women bring to work, such as problem solving, team building and communication skills, to name a few.
The goal of the summit is to improve opportunities for women in technology at all levels, especially in leadership positions in technology companies and technology-focused organizations. As such, the theme felt fitting as we strive to provide a forum for relationship building and sharing best practices.
TW: What is the thing that excites you the most?
Calton: While the agenda is incredibly exciting, the various networking and relationship-building opportunities with other tech women from across the state are what we’re most looking forward to after two years of hosting virtual the event.
We made sure to incorporate social and networking activities to provide attendees with options to enjoy local sites and get to know each other.
We are delighted to offer options to attendees including a boat trip to New Bern, a visit to the Tryon Palace as well as a trolley tour of local historic sites, a welcome riverside reception and group dinners. hosted by female tech leaders. .
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TW: NC TECH just released the latest IT Employment Trends Report and job openings for IT positions fell again in August. Additionally, many companies have started announcing layoffs. Are there concerns that this could impact the ability of North Carolina companies or NC TECH member companies to continue to move towards greater gender diversity?
Caltron: Although IT job postings fell from an all-time low in May 2022, we continue to celebrate announcements from major expansions, like Wolfspeed and Live Oak Bank. Additionally, tech giants Apple and Google continue to increase hiring for projects announced in recent years. The size, scope and high-tech nature of Toyota, VinFast and Boom Supersonic’s expansion plans are also exciting.
North Carolina continues to receive accolades, such as the state with the best business climate in the nation by Business Facilities magazine, America’s best state for business by CNBC, and the inaugural Platinum Shovel award for economic development from Area magazine. Development.
We see signs of continued growth for existing industry moves and expansions, despite news of layoffs and downsizing. It will be interesting to see what impact the volatility of the economy and the upcoming midterm elections might have on the remaining months of the year.
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TW: What’s the latest data on gender diversity at NC tech companies, particularly at the leadership and executive level?
Calton: NC TECH publishes an annual State of the Tech Industry Report in which North Carolina is highlighted as one of the top states for women in tech.
North Carolina ranks second in the nation for the percentage of women employed in the tech industry, with 35.7% of the workforce. Although this number is not broken down by employment levels, the state’s ranking, second only to Maine, shows the strength of workforce diversity and the importance tech companies place on teams. diversified.
Earlier this year, NC TECH launched a Diversity Benchmarking Initiative to set a baseline of how technology and technology-focused companies/organizations are doing on diversity, equity and diversity. inclusion. Although baseline data has shown that there is still a large disparity between men and women in leadership and leadership roles, we hope to see progress in the years to come. This first year, 12 employers participated and we hope the business pool will continue, bringing greater awareness and action to increase diversity at all levels, including leadership.
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