Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner - definitely does compute!

Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners – Definitely Does Compute

Hewlett Packard Software (HP) recently hosted the Bay Area Girl Greek Dinner at their headquarters in 2014.

By Leslie Murdock, Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners storyteller

Before I knew it, I popped up out of my seat at the salon, feet wet from the luxury soak in scents and hot sudsy water. I danced in step to the tunes of girl geek giddiness.

“I won the lottery!” I blurted out loud – “I won the lottery! I won. Yippee!” I said, twisting about.
I came back to the awareness of my surroundings when I heard people clapping and congratulating me.

“You won the big one?” the lady sitting to my left asked.

“How much did you win?” another asked.

“Um, I won something just as valuable as money” I said, looking around at all the eyes now on me.

“What could that possibly be?” said my manicure tech. “Come on girl tell it, tell it now!”

“Only the most coveted dinner seat in all of Silicon Valley” I said, furthering the intrigue.

“You dance around like that for food?” said the lady sitting next to me.

A roar of laughter punctuated the atmosphere as I settled back into my comfy leather seat. My now cold wet feet plopped back into the cozy warm water still bubbling with flower petals and smell good stuff.

I explained how I had been selected to receive an invitation to mingle with some of the best and brightest of women that work in Silicon Valley’s technology industry.

Hewlett Packard Software (HP) hosted the 2014 HP Bay Area Girl Greek Dinner at their Moffett Towers Campus in Sunnyvale. A befitting venue, on Enterprise Way, the iconic Moffett Towers is a gateway to Silicon Valley. Touted as the next generation working environment, the impressive structure of steel, glass, stone, and metal panels is specifically designed to facilitate innovation, productivity, and balance for industry influencers like HP. The clatter of high-heels and the screech of walking flats scurried across the high-gloss shine of HP’s lobby floors, as we the fortunately selected few, chatted about the evening that awaited us.

After our security clearance check-ins, we filed into the elevator and moved up to HP’s Software Girl Geek Teams out stretched hands ready to shake, with eager smiles and warm welcome.

I bop a bit to the tunes spinning by the Live DJ. I ooh and awe at the white linens covering round tables adorned with fresh flowers. I scope out my seat. The catered gourmet international food dishes smell delectable. Pretty tasty too! The many choices of beverages included a variety of wines, fancy sparkling waters and lush desserts were a nice compliment.

Town hall style was the format – complete with an HP camera crew and Jennifer Rickard, Director of HP Software Talent, Learning and OD, served as our moderator. With CNN news flair, she guided us through the flow of the evening’s activities. Presentations and speed networking followed. Facilitators stationed at each of the dinner round tables, led us through ice-breaker conversation topics and thought provoking questions. Eclectic, dynamic and diversified in their respective tech professions were the girl geeks I sat and socialized with.

So engrossed in the messages of the speaker’s, I confess, I did not even text or check my email not one time. Not one time! The speaker lineup and their subject matter were impressive. Even more so, was their success at presenting their content within their allotted time. Only professionals at the top of their game could do this while maintaining presence and undivided attentions of the many eager that filled the packed to capacity room.

I was and am so inspired. And yes, a little bit melancholy when it all came to a close. It was one of those moments that I did not want to end. Synergy, high-energy, intellect, creativity and innovation connected in one place with super smart women who are passionate and purposeful. So refreshing and invigorating. It was just the push I needed to keep moving forward, pressing pass the blockade of glass and stacks of algorithm stats that show and tell we still have a long way to go as women to make inroads in tech. However, I’m encouraged to see those that are on the road – including me.

“This does compute.”

I walked away knowing that I had met future leaders – sojourners on the upward climb to becoming queens in technological innovation, new contacts, mentors, and hopefully friends. The swag bag giveaway was a timely keepsake. A super cute tote bag stuffed with a nice quality beach towel in the hue of HP blue.

A Few Key Take-Aways From HP Girl Geek Dinner Speakers:

  • Invention is about finding value and not necessarily building something new
  • Spend 15 minutes a day on something you don’t know how to do… Something difficult…
  • Five Easies to be mindful when considering customers and innovation:
    1. Easy To Find
    2. Easy To Try
    3. Easy To Buy
    4. Easy To Install
    5. Easy To Reinvent
  • When change is needed: The ‘new’ versus ‘we’ve always done it this way’:
    • Back up your ideas not with just passion and emotion, but with primary and secondary data – key decision maker’s and influencer’s love quantitative and qualitative data
    • Make it a team effort
    • Know and Present the voice of the customer
  • Be better than the enemy of done
  • Don’t be afraid to fail, learn quickly and reboot
  • Be adventurous
  • Connect with others
  • Be bold
  • Have fun

A childlike wonder and curiosity compel me to weave words and images around an intellectual construct that reveals and appeals. The depth and breadth of creativity and brilliant minds that drive the ever evolving evolution of technological advances in Silicon Valley is rich. I am completely fascinated and infatuated by it all. The lifestyles, cultural nuisances, and the plethora of gadgetry that trend in tech avails much for storytelling fodder. Welcome to my journey.

– Leslie Murdock, a girl geek storyteller communications professional in technology. Connect @ PRMaven24.7@gmail.com