Celebrating Women in Technology in the Roanoke-Blacksburg Region
If you Google “women in technology,” many of the top results provide information about how to support colleagues in tech-based fields.
With monthly opportunities for professional development and social networking – the in-person kind! – WoTech is a safe space to share experiences and learn from others. It’s an opportunity to make new connections with career-oriented women, build each other up, and strengthen the skills needed to grow and thrive in today’s tech world.
“WoTech means a village of women where I can connect and grow, somewhere I don’t necessarily need to pre-explain what’s going on because they are living my experiences as well,” said Wendi Pannell, Vice President of Digital Content Production at Ozmo. “Women and allies that want to see me be successful, where I can also give back, save someone time by sharing my experiences and lessons learned.”
WHAT IS WOTECH?
WoTech exists to champion and celebrate women and diversity in our region’s growing tech community. Our aim is to support and connect women working in technology in any season through mentoring, education, networking, and events.
“WoTech gives me a village and tribe of people that support and encourage the ecosystem of women in technology,” said Katie Beach of Katie Beach Consulting. “This is so important to grow the entire technology sector as well as to support what is still a very small population of the technology workforce.”
WoTech is a space where strong women are encouraged to be their authentic selves and when they rise, they look behind and pull the next one up. It has been a safe space to share fears and failures, as well as celebrate successes. The goal of the group is to see each other grow and offer support along the way.
WOTECH MENTORING AND NETWORKING
WoTech exists to fill a need in the community.
“We have a focus on women because we as women in IT saw the need to have a dedicated ‘space’ to talk about our challenges and a way to find each other so we can lift each other up,” Pannell said. “Especially in today’s world where we’re not running into each other at conferences or meetings or social events – it’s even more important to not feel isolated, not to stall your growth and an opportunity to make an even bigger impact. While the challenges we face as women in a male dominated space have improved greatly – there are still incredible opportunities to shine a light on what good looks like and challenge the status quo.”
There’s a lot of value in networks that can help you grow and develop in your career and help you feel comfortable within the greater tech community.
“I’ve learned over the past couple years that having a strong network truly does open a lot of doors. In the couple years I’ve been involved in WoTech, I’ve been amazed at how much my network has grown – both in quantity and quality,” said Amanda Smith, Product Manager at Qualtrax. “Not only will you get fantastic advice from women who have conquered some of the obstacles you may be right in the middle of, but you’ll find that each new connection really equates to several. I’m so much more comfortable going to RBTC and other local events knowing that I’ll find a least a couple people there I’ve met through WoTech. Having that strong support system can really build your confidence if you’re new to networking.”
HOW TO GET INVOLVED WITH WOTECH
Getting involved with WoTech is easy. There are monthly opportunities to join in conversations and engage with the community or participate in a networking event.
Many women come to WoTech because they may feel alone in the workplace or like they have experiences that aren’t shared within their current networks. Others attend a meeting or networking event because they want to help get more connected in the constant-growing tech community.
“I really like that the regular events hosted by WoTech vary in style and purpose,” Smith said. “The Power Hour events appeal to those looking to network over a glass of wine, Morning Jolts are more of a casual open forum, and the quarterly events provide relevant content from quality speakers. There’s a nice mix of virtual and in-person options, and you can dip your toes by starting with events that aren’t traditional networking/social style events.”
- Monthly coffee chats with relevant conversation and helpful tactics.
- 3rd Wednesdays each month
- Social networking filled with fun, new friends, and local spirits.
- Quarterly (March, May, July, September)
LUNCH & LEARN
- Top-notch speakers discussing forefront topics.
- Quarterly (February, May, August, November)
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The Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council is the region’s premier technology community comprising nearly 300 of western Virginia’s leading companies and institutions that together employ more than 25,000 of our best and brightest.
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