Thursday, October 9, 2014

Grace Hopper Conference 2014: Wednesday

Wednesday started bright and early at 5:30am (I was too anxious to sleep).

From 9:30-11:15am, everyone (all 8,000 of us) attended the opening keynote! So many inspirational words were spoken before lunch even began!

Speaking of lunch, we had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe downtown. I got a delicious burger and we split a flight of margaritas.

The first session I attended was Technology Roles in Consumer Facing Companies. I thought this was a very interesting and relevant topic. They had a panel of professionals from insurance and financial institutions. Did you know there is a large amount of IT professionals needed in those industries? I had no idea, but it makes sense! Nationwide, CapitalOne, and Bank of America all had representatives there.

Lessons learned:

  • Every company is a tech company. Interactions are now via mobile and web. Customers need access 24/7.
  • Men and women get confidence in different ways. Men talk themselves up internally. Women actually need external sources of confidence. They need to know they are awesome! Know your external sources of confidence to keep your head high!
  • Energy Management Practice (at Nationwide) really helps with work/life balance.
  • Knowing the end user makes a huge difference. You need to keep the user in mind.
  • Broaden your experience among multiple disciplines.
  • My favorite takeaway: Be willing to be vulnerable. Be willing to fail. It's okay to fail!

After that session, I went back to the hotel so I could psych myself up for my 2 interviews in the afternoon!

At 4:30, I had an interview with Travelers. Suma was such an inspiring woman to talk to! I learned that my skill set is needed in the industry, but I need to start digging into Java and ASP.NET. Travelers offers a professional leadership program. It can train you to become the best leader you can be! Several people who have been through the program are now top level executives in large companies. She let me know someone will be in contact with me in about two weeks.

I had some time before my next interview, so I went and chatted with Bank of America, Apple, Pacific Northwest Labs, HP, and Intel. All of them were looking for people like me and that was very encouraging!

At 7:00, I had an interview with Nationwide Insurance. This was the interview I was so pumped about. They have an office in Ohio and are growing rapidly! After chatting with Lisa, she sounded very interested. She mentioned they hire a lot of people on the spot at the conference, but unfortunately the hiring manager was not there. I absolutely cannot wait to follow up with them.

Before my shift at the School of Informatics booth, I ran by the Linked In table. They were taking free professional head shots for your profile! I definitely took advantage of the opportunity and cannot wait to see the results. I also need to get my resume to them, but I am saving that for Thursday. Wednesday was a bit overwhelming, to say the least.

From 8-10pm, I staffed the IUPUI School of Informatics booth. My favorite part? People watching. What can I say, it happens. :)

So excited to see what Thursday brings! I am going to try to focus on finishing up my tour of the career fair.