Women-in-technology is minority at a highly male dominated industry. Other than the Grace Hopper Conference, every IT conference I have been to females stick out and the last IT event that we were invited to by a local vendor event was no exception. Actually my husband was invited first and later he informed me that I could join him. So I went into the vendors site/event registration page and entered in all my professional information and submitted the form.
The vendor was indeed focused on the IT field, cloud and big data, that I am in. My husband received two tickets to the event in his email but not me. I didn’t think much of it at the time and drove to the event site which was 1.5 hours driving distance. The event was at the Churchill Downs at the famous Kentucky derby horse race location. It was catered lunch event with a hosted bar at a private booth. Great event and indeed kudos to the vendor who put the event together. It was not all about a sales pitch. The host let attendees enjoy the day and let the conversations form organically. They seemed to know a few thing or two about marketing. As people started to get into the races, so did we, we started to build connections. Talking about the race, discussing our bets and strategies and anything IT related in between. Everybody truly enjoying the beautiful day, good food, drinks, and the excitement of the races. Me and my husband were no exception. Although we have never bet on horse races before, we were quick to figure it out and just the whole day was a nice change to our daily work schedule.
Later in the day as the sponsors of the events were introduced I went to talk to one of them. We were one of their big customers and one of their exemplary use cases of their product. I didn’t expect him to know me (we had never met before and he was not our account rep) but he was a bit dumb founded when I approached him to shake his hand. I mentioned our company and how we were using their product and collaborated with them in several upcoming project. As I was talking to him maybe after 5-10 minutes later; he realized that I was there for a reason. I was not the hot brunette (ahem) to the handsome and successful IT guy (my hubby), hehe… The sales guy who was hesitant to talk to me at first started to losen up a bit and realized I was right there blended with the rest of the tech people at the location. Our conversation flowed great after the first hump. It is always nice to chat with a vendor that you are in great favor of their product and have mutually passionate about the technology that you are dealing with.
In between the races, the host was doing raffles (no we didn’t win anything). Later as there was another drawing happening the hosts of the event and we (my husband and I) started to have a conversation. The whole time the two guys were talking to my husband. My husband’s futile attempts to include me into the conversation was not going anywhere. I knew that my hubby was the invited lead in this event but here I was just as qualified to bring them business was being put aside. They sure had to look at my registration information (there were not a lot of people at the event). The vendor who had my registration information knowing that I was there just as qualified to make tech conversations was treating me as being the guest of my husband. Yes, I was and No, I wasn’t. I started to see my husbands struggle to bring me into the conversation but they continued to fail to see the value of the women at the table. Women in the technology field is a blessing in the sky with the perspective they bring. Nevertheless, at that point I decided to play it along and let them lose a lead if they choose to. It is not my business after all. I will continue to be imperfectly awesome me! If you are running a business, never underestimate the power of the woman at the table.
At the end of the day, we were ahead a whopping $10. If we had a better strategy and actually knew what we were doing we would have made some cash but I call it a great day nevertheless. We had a great time at the event, enjoyed our drive to and from Louisville, got some shopping done and had an amazing day off with my handsome IT guy. Love!