The Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner is in full swing. Amazon Lab126 is our host. We network at the luxurious Moffett Towers Club, a 48,207 square feet amenities building inclusive of a state-of-the-art fitness center, gymnasium, game room, outdoor pool and whirlpool, full-service spa, café, and credit union.
By Leslie Murdock, Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners storyteller
The lushness of the bluest sky hued by the piercing brightness of the orange sun causes me to pause. I stop. I stare. The sun sets slowly as it journeys to greet the other side of the world. The gentle breeze across my face turns my attention toward the path that leads to a long table where chefs are in full prep mode. They sort and put to order the most exquisite looking Vietnamese Finger Foods. Waiters carry huge trays overhead.
The happy greeters sit adjacent in the shade. Dressed in all black everything, they register and badge me in. I check in at the gates which open up to poolside elegance. The Amazon Lab126 Girl Geek Dinner on July 17, 2014 in Sunnyvale California is in full swing.
The ambience is poolside laid back. The accouterments include overstuffed chaise lounges – some trimmed in black wood with leather pillows colored in bright white, canopied covered round tables display sliver tiered tower trays layered with banana leaves. Situated just so, are plates full of assorted stuffed rice rolls – some with shrimp and veggies, others with pork and noodles. The smooth creamy dipping peanut sauce is a tasty compliment. At the bar, glass shots filled with mango alcoholic deliciousness. It all went down smoothly and to the sheer delight of my taste buds.
We exchange business cards. Take group selfies. There is much geek chic glamour on parade. I spotted a few of us geek girls in designer gear – one sported a Tory Birch Clutch, many wore patent leather Ballerina Flats (black, beige and orange with bling), slicked pony-tail up do’s, mirrored aviator silver rimmed sun glasses (so cool), super skinny jeans with black t-shirts. The cutest and most coveted must have the swag – the Queen-of-Code T-shirt with black lettering, trimmed in orange and white – Amazon Labs126 colors.
Advice is shared onstage about navigating techie culture in the corporate meeting rooms by some ‘phenomenal’ women leaders running major product designs inside Amazon Lab126.
“Don’t just sit there,” said Jaee Patwardhan, Amazon Lab126 Senior Software Development Manager (Fire TV Project). “Speak up in meetings,” she said. “Take risks. You may say what some of your counterparts are already thinking. You may make a mistake. It’s okay. Just speak up. Contribute. It could be your idea that’s make the difference.”
“It’s important to play to your strengths, said, Patricia Gilmore Director, Kindle Program Management and Quality at Amazon. “Never stop learning and ask questions,” she tells me.
The lines are long, as I look around at each of us waiting for a chance to capture 1:1 moments with the speakers. It’s not lost on me the value of the moment. Their willingness to emerge from behind the metal veils of secrecy to inspire those of us on the career climb is generous.
Stepping away from their daily grind of project demands, pounding deadlines, global people management, and boom-pow product ideation deliverables – well makes wait without impatience. An opportunity to speak to one of these women leaders whose brain power and expert know-how contributes to the Amazon Labs126 revenue generating machine – predicted by analysts to reach $20.81 billion-dollars by this summer’s “end” is incomparable.
They listen. Nod in agreement. Pause before they answer. They encourage and inspire. Shake hands and smile ready to do it all over again for the next girl geek in line.
I meander about smiling after my turn was up. I sit on the chaise to jot down my notes. Savor the wisdom. This was me – a girl-geek-interrupted – living my best moment. Wow!! A million times – Thank You Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner!
Pictures from the Amazon Lab126 Girl Geek Dinner are posted on Facebook here.
Leslie Murdock is a girl geek that works in the high-tech industry as a storyteller / communications professional. Connect @ PRMaven24.firstname.lastname@example.org