Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner - definitely does compute!

Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners – Definitely Does Compute

Through our follow-up survey, we learned 78% of attendees are likely or extremely likely to follow-up with people they met at the Square Girl Geek Dinner on June 25, 2014.

By Vanessa Slavich, Square Talent & Diversity Programs Lead

At Square, we know the impact a good mentor can have on one’s career. So, we were thrilled to host our first
Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner (BAGGD), which focused on mentorship and building a network.

The goal
The theme of mentorship and networking was inspired by a recent meeting with our internal women’s group. During the meeting, we discussed the importance of mentorship and coaching in career advancement, and our desire to be part of a supportive, inspiring community.

We determined our upcoming Girl Geek Dinner was a great forum to encourage mentorship and community, as we would all be surrounded by talented women. We hoped every BAGGD attendee would grow professionally, expand her network, and leave with tangible results.

The structure
We limited our audience to 150 Girl Geeks. (In line with Dunbar’s number: “A suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships.”)

“I enjoyed the people. Not sure how you did it, but the environment brought out the friendliest and most helpful side of everyone I talked to.”

We recruited three speakers: Engineering Lead Alyssa Henry, Product Manager Grace Chen, and Engineering Manager Jonathan Wolter. All shared their unique insights, approaches, and tools for finding and maintaining mentor relationships (in 10 minutes or less).

“Please keep rocking it! Very informative and helpful talks. Just the right length. I could have listened to the speakers all day long :)”

We then launched into a mentorship exchange activity. Everyone received two sticky notes and were instructed to:

  • Share one way you would like to grow personally or professionally on a yellow sticky note.
  • Share something you could teach or give on a green sticky note.
  • Write your name and email on the back of each note.

  • Place your sticky note on the corresponding walls (yellow with yellow, green with green).
  • Take an attendee’s yellow sticky note for something you can give.
  • Take an attendee’s green sticky note for something that can help you grow.
  • Follow up with both attendees within two days.
“I loved the group activities and focus on mentorship! (Great stickies idea.)
I love how guided the session was in general and how focused it was on helping women grow.”

The result
We noticed a few themes across both categories (growing and giving):

  • Technical skills
  • People and project management skills
  • Career transitions (company or role)
  • Salary negotiation
  • Starting your own company / becoming a CEO
  • Risk-taking
  • Public speaking
  • Balancing career and family
  • Career advice for recent college graduates

Through our follow-up survey, we learned 78% of attendees are likely or extremely likely to follow-up with people they met at the event.

Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed. Let’s keep in touch: @Square, @vslavich, and @skosh_stephanie.

Pictures from the Square Girl Geek Dinner are posted on Facebook here.