Is it a playground taunt or powerful proclamation? She Started It is a documentary film that takes the viewer behind-the-scenes of the tech startup world from a female perspective. It’s a roller coaster ride following the highs and lows of several female entrepreneurs. Some of the lows definitely make you think about the gender dynamics at play in the male-dominated tech space.
Charlottesville Women in Tech and St. Anne’s-Belfield School are presenting a screening and panel discussion of She Started It during the Tom Tom Founders Festival on April 15. The filmmakers' goal "is to reach one million women & girls with this film in 2017 and show them that if you fall, you can get back up. We want girls who will see the film to know that they can take risks, that failure is okay and that it is worth trying something you are passionate about."
A panel discussion following the film will feature director Nora Poggi plus several female entrepreneurs from our region: Suz Somersall - founder/CEO, KiraKira Lorraine Sanders - founder/journalist, Spirit of 608 LeiLei Secor - founder/jewelry designer, Designed by Lei Kim Mahan - founder/CEO, MAXX Potential
Each month we spotlight a woman or girl in tech who inspires us. This month we are highlighting Lorraine Sanders. Lorraine is a longtime journalist with a special interest in the intersection of fashion, entrepreneurship, sustainability + tech (a space she calls FEST). Her company, Spirit of 608, creates content for that audience through weekly podcasts, blogs & social media. PressDope by Spirit of 608 was launched in 2017 as an online alternative to traditional PR and media relations.
How do you work with technology today?
Technology is the basis of everything I do. With Spirit of 608, technology allows us to create content for women building businesses & reach them in a meaningful way - wherever they happen to be. PressDope is entirely digital and relies on software to deliver the features, tools and resources we offer our subscribers. As a non-technical founder, I don't code beyond rudimentary HTML. But I have to understand a fair amount of tech in order to direct the developer I work with.
Why is it important to get more girls and women interested in technology?
There are a ton of reasons, but for me, it has to be that technology really is something that can allow women to generate income in ways that are outside of the traditional corporate structure. The traditional "working world" is very male, and it follows patriarchal norms. But there's no reason that companies have to be structured the way they are now. Couldn't there be other work cultures that, for example, are more flexible and accommodate women who are holding multiple jobs, caring for family members or trying to live within social norms that do not jive with them being in an office all day everyday from 8 am to 6 pm? I think we need more successful women-led companies for these new structures to emerge, and so it follows that the need for more women and girls interested in technology and building tech-based businesses (btw, I think every business today is a tech-based business or should be in some facet) is huge.
Check out the Tech Camp Guide for opportunities to create tech in Cville this summer!Girls can get 20% off Tech Camp @ STAB using the discount code GEEK20.
Activities & Events
Live & Local
April 13 - TomTom Youth Summit. This student planned and student led Summit is open and free to K-12 students. It will include engaging speakers, hands-on workshops, student showcases, student business pitches and a student community innovation challenge. This is a free event for students, but registration is required.
April 15 -- She Started It Screening & Panel Discussion starting at 10:30am. She Started It is a documentary film that follows the journey of several women who are pursuing their passion to start a tech business. Following the film will be a panel discussion with the film maker, Nora Poggi, as well as and several local entrepreneurs. This event is free and open to the public, but please reserve your ticket.
April 21 - 2017 Women in STEM Conference is an opportunity for girls in middle school to connect with local women in the science and engineering fields. More info & RSVP to Heather Aquith (firstname.lastname@example.org).
April 22 - March for Science Cville. The March for Science is a celebration of our passion for science and the many ways science serves our communities and our world. This sister March will include interactive booths, speakers and a march from the IX Art Park to the Pavilion.
April 29 - Girls' Geek Day at Crozet Elementary School. GGD is all about sparking elementary school girls interest in technology and computing by providing a fun, collaborative, hands-on environment to learn new tech skills and helping them connect to other STEM programs in the community. Registration required.
May 15 (deadline) - The 4th annual Bio-Med Tech-Girls will take place the week of August 7. This experience provides an opportunity for high school students to get a hands-on, behind-the-scenes peek at biomedical research happening right now at UVA. Apply now.
June 3 - Civic Innovation Day. Smart Cville and WillowTree are hosting Charlottesville’s first civic innovation day. Community members from diverse backgrounds will gather to consider how technology can help mitigate specific challenges in our community.
Ongoing - Make It @ the Library, 4:00pm, second Wednesdays at Central Library. Kickstart your creativity with this Pop-up Makerspace. Open to ages 10-15.
Ongoing - Northside Makerspace. Tuesdays at 6-8pm, Thursdays at 3-5pm & Saturdays 10:30am-12:30pm at Northside Library. Ages 11+ and patrons must be accompanied by adult 16 or order.
Virtual & Global
April 28 - X-STEM Symposium for middle through high school students features interactive presentations by leading STEM innovators who aim to empower and inspire kids about careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The event is in Washington DC and costs $20. Advanced registration is required.
May 1 (deadline) - National STEM Video Game Challenge is now accepting student submissions of original, playable video games and game design documents. The STEM Challenge is open to middle school and high school students in the U.S. in grades five through twelve. Students may enter as individuals or as teams of up to four members
Are you ready to become a mentor or sponsor a Tech-Girl event? Can you help us get the word out? However you would like to get involved, we need you!