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August 2, 2011 / TechFemme

Kickoff Girl Geek Dinner in Miami – Featuring Denise Jacobs

Denise Jacobs, Author/Speaker/Web Entrepreneur and Me

Last Tuesday, I finally got to cross two things off my want-to-do list that have been there for months.  When I started this blog late last year, I reached out to web designer / tech author / speaker extraordinaire Denise Jacobs for an interview.  We exchanged a few emails but due to her insane travel schedule (she gets invited to speak everywhere!), we never got to actually connect – until last Tuesday at the first ever Girl Geek Dinners event  in Miami.  Girl Geek Dinners is a global organization serving to provide networking opportunities for women in the technology field.  I would read about the events in the Bay Area and Europe and wish I could transport myself to one of them.  So I was super excited to go to my first ever Girl Geek Dinner and hear Denise speak in the same night.

As expected, Denise was engaging and dynamic.  She spoke about the lack of diversity (not just women) representation at tech conferences and the tech world as a whole and even better, she spoke about what she’s going to do to change that. Denise’s personal goal is to “change the mental image of people in tech” and she advises us that the way to do this is by “changing people’s perceptions with visible presence.”  She’s doing her part to help this charge.  With her newest venture, Rawk The Web, Denise is going to be providing a much-needed site for diverse web entrepreneurs filled with resources and insight from those who are already ‘rawking’ the web. As Denise pointed out that night: “People are hungry for a multiplicity of voices.” Photos from the event are here.

“Let’s Rawk The Web – A Manifesto”
Many tech conference organizers and attendees agree there is a lack of diversity of speakers: both of women and people of color. While some conferences support a proactive diversity policy, the common lament industry-wide is the pool of candidates just isn’t large enough to draw from. However, this is an issue of visibility, not viability. We need to RAWK the web: to become more visible, promote our achievements, and make ourselves known as the rockstars we truly are. Let’s talk about some pointers, practices, and inspiration from those who are rawking the web and learn from their successes and missteps.

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