This past weekend, I attended the Lesbians Who Tech Summit in San Francisco, along with nine of my teammates. Over three days, 1,500 lesbians and allies attended presentations and workshops covering technology, science, art, culture, and leadership.
The Mapbox crew during opening sessions.
The summit was unlike any other women-in-tech initiative I’ve encountered. With nearly all the speakers being queer women, half of whom were people of color and a number of gender-queer and transgender women presenters, the conference had broader scope — with inclusivity and representation not only for women, but people from a multitude of backgrounds under-represented in technology.
Attending the LWT Summit was a powerful experience. The nerd in me totally geeked out over presentations about the next generation of VR hardware, rockets to Mars, robotics, ed-tech,and artificial intelligence. I was equally inspired by innovative women leading their fields and certified “Badasses” like Edie Windsor and Kara Swisher.
Kara Swisher winning the Badass of the Year Award.
There were focuses beyond technology as well. Through presentations and workshops, the summit incorporated a human element — the people behind the innovations. Workshops on how to be an ally, emotional intelligence, empowerment, social change, unconscious bias, and leadership taught me to be a more conscientious person and ally in a community championing a culture of “vibrant inclusion”.
The strongest message that I walked away with is that by showing up and speaking up for each other, we can build this kind of community, together. Look for us at the next Lesbians Who Tech Summit this September in New York City — we’ll be wearing our sticker.