With Innotech only a couple of days away, Matt Scherer, the public relations staff member for the Austin Innotech and our San Antonio correspondent, sat down with Amanda Justice, the chair of the 2012 Women of Information Technology Summit. The summit is the newest addition to the Innotech lineup of conferences and speakers. Tickets for the event are $40.
Matt Scherer: How did the 2012 Women of Information Technology Summit get started?
Amanda Justice: Our Innotech Chair that was appointed in 2010, Diane Kenyon, suggested that we do a women’s event for the 2011 Innotech conference. We decided to do a breakfast and with the suggestion of several committee members and non-profit associations decided to do a more intimate event which we called “speed mentoring”. We anticipated a small group initially, but we were very surprise at how many mentor’s volunteered and how many mentee’s signed up. We were sold out within 30 minutes of the conference starting.
Scherer: What will attendees get from taking part in the conference?
Justice: A tremendous opportunity to network with women from across the globe, one on one time with professional coaches and enriching sessions which will empower you to go back to your office, community and home and know that you want to do things differently.
Scherer: As part of this conference, you are offering sessions to help women embrace the concept of coaches or mentors. What inspired you to create this into the first conference?
Justice: Mentoring and coaching is intensely personal. It is about getting to know who you really are, what inspires you and understanding what you want from your life. A mentor and a coach is having someone dedicated to seeing you achieve success and will council you ever step of the way. Not only that, a mentor and a coach find the experience rewarding as well. It is so important to give back and through the experience the mentors and coaches grow as well.
The feedback we received on the speed mentoring in 2011 was extremely touching and eye opening to all of us. Very rarely at any conference do you get the opportunity to have a one on one, personal session with anyone. We found the personalization piece to be a key differentiator in what we are trying to do to help empower women of our information technology community.