2015 marks the third year of Groupon’s attendance at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC). Each year, we have encouraged women within our Engineering and Product teams to participate in the conference, which brings together attendees from across the globe in a forum that celebrates diversity and women’s achievements in tech.
Groupon has sent over 60 employees to GHC in Houston, including some who are traveling from as far away as Santiago, Chile. We’ll be on the lookout for new recruits, we’ll be meeting colleagues we’ve only ever seen via video conference, and our employees will be expanding their minds by learning from other individuals who all appreciate the positive impact that diversity can bring to tech.
In a blog post I wrote for Groupon last year, I spoke about the impact that male allies can have in encouraging more women to pursue paths in technical fields. I’m happy to report that we are again joined by several such allies, who will be side by side with us at GHC, supporting their female colleagues and actively listening for ways in which they can help diminish the unconscious bias that exists for women who pursue technical careers.
This bias was recently summed up by a male student of mechanical engineering, who expressed a sentiment that continues to resonate with women who choose to enter STEM fields: even in 2015, women still face sometimes subconscious efforts to dissuade us from these paths. Overcoming those efforts requires public consciousness, including events such as GHC.
I am especially honored to represent Groupon this year at the Student Opportunity Lab. I will be speaking about my own career path, one that has taken many twists and turns. I, too, was a victim of the mentality that girls aren’t as technically gifted as boys, and only once I found myself working for a tech company did I realize the error of my ways. I’ve now spent nearly a decade working in tech, learning from women who are just as successful as men, and discovering my own ability to understand, appreciate, and contribute to technology.
Grace Hopper is a forum that enables us all to think about ways in which we can make tech more inclusive. Groupon’s participation is a testament to our dedication to improve our own diversity and to encourage our employees to constantly strive to be their best. My colleagues from Groupon will certainly be leaving Houston with renewed enthusiasm for innovation, and the knowledge that they are not alone in choosing a career in a technical field. That alone is cause for celebration!