From July 12, 2019
This week I had the pleasure of hosting eight amazing women from all over the country for our Chasing Grace shoot in Los Angeles. It was a deeply moving two days that included a private dinner where strangers until that night quickly bonded over their shared experiences as women in tech.
The next morning, the women featured in the first roundtable arrived at the studio for their call time of 8 am and went directly into hair and makeup. Afterwards they were photographed for the Chasing Grace photo exhibit ‘Persistence’ by Edina Clagett. There was catered lunch and onsite support for anything they needed. At 10 am they sat down with me around a table very similar to the Hollywood Reporter style and we started talking, really talking. The cameras rolled for three hours before we wrapped, got a group photo and the women featured in the second roundtable arrived for their call time of 1 pm.
I was also really proud to be working with a largely female film crew on this project, which is all too rare in film. Thanks to REKON Productions for their support on this.
Each roundtable covers a different topic and will be edited into a 30-minute episode that will be scheduled to premiere this fall and early next year. We’ll share more about the women, the episodes and their premiere dates as the summer unfolds. If you or your company would like to co-host one of these premiere events, please get in touch. We co-hosted Episode #1 with Intel and Episode #2 with Comcast NBCUniversal. We’re eager to collaborate with other progressive companies or organization on unveiling the next two episodes.
Here is a sneak peek summary of each episode:
Chasing Grace Roundtable: Diversity of Experience
As the global population grows and access to technology increases, it’s more important than ever that the tech industry represents that global population. That means gender and ethnicity. It also means diversity of experience. A woman who was raised in a small, blue collar community where her family lost their business shows up in tech with a unique set of experiences that inform how she builds and how she solves problems. A woman who has Tourette Syndrome shows up to build with a different set of experiences that brings a different approach to leading and solving problems on Wall St and in tech. And the first black women to graduate from her university with a PhD in Computer Science is showing up to conduct her research in new ways and to pay it forward to the next generation of students. Each of our experiences make their way into the software and hardware that have become the fabric of our lives and that will shape the world tomorrow.
Owning those experiences and having the courage to share those personal stories help us understand each other and value every contribution to technology development. And it’s that diversity of experience and thought, and the resulting contribution, that will allow the tech industry to thrive and build a world inclusive to everyone. Lest we move even further backwards.
Chasing Grace Roundtable: Lady Bosses
Lady Boss, Boss Lady, Boss Bitch. These are phrases that carry both negative and positive connotations, depending on who is using them. What does it mean to be the boss when you’re a woman in tech? What is that experience like? How do women who are the in the minority in their organizations or communities garner the respect required to compel a team to follow them? To trust them. Is the ‘defending your turf’ as the only woman at the table still a thing, or are women increasingly encouraging and supporting other women to join them at the top? What was the journey like to get there? Only 11% of executive positions in the Valley are held by woman. It’s an exclusive club. How do we break into the club? How do we transform the executive suite into a new club, a new inclusive space for everyone who wants to be there?
This will give young woman and mid-career women a seat at the table, a look inside the tent at what it takes to get to the top and what it looks like when you get there. It will help other female entrepreneurs and executives feel less alone and inspire them to keep doing what they’re doing, because we desperately need them in these positions of power. They will inspire and recruit the next generation of women in tech.
To stay up to date on filming and premieres, please visit the Chasing Grace Project website.