We created this conference to address the needs of women of color, such as African-Americans and Latinas, who rarely see others like themselves in the workplace, especially in higher ranking positions. Existing tech conferences — even ones specifically designed for women — often have few underrepresented women in attendance and as speakers, especially on technical topics. Additionally, tech conferences are typically unaffordable, creating a financial barrier to those interested in breaking into the industry.
Tech Intersections provides a space for the women of color most underrepresented in tech to come together and learn from each other’s successes, challenges, and experiences. While we value our allies and recognize that all women in tech and men of color also face discrimination, this is a unique opportunity for us to have our own space. We hope our allies will join us at a concurrent allies workshop.
Specifically, this conference is exclusively for people who are:
- women, non-binary, or gender queer, and
- engineers, entrepreneurs, activists, teachers, or leaders in tech (or aspiring to be), and
- members of an ethnic group underrepresented in tech, including, but not limited to:
- American Indian/Native American
- Pacific Islander
- Southeast Asian
While the content will largely be up to the participants, we hope to present talks, panels, and workshops on:
- technical topics
- success stories
- diversity and inclusion
Tickets are priced to keep cost from being a barrier to attendance, and speakers will be able to attend for free. We aim for a harassment-free environment and will hold attendees and staff to a code of conduct.
Attendance will be limited to 200 people. Free childcare will be provided.
We plan for Tech Intersections to be an annual event.
The organizers are:
- Maira Benjamin, Director of Engineering, Pandora
- Idalin Bobé, a technology and social justice activist
- Tiffany Price, Community Engagement Manager, Kapor Center for Social Impact
- Ellen Spertus, Professor of Computer Science, Mills College
Seed funds came from Mills College, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Council on Women in Computing, and Microsoft.
Mills is a trans-friendly Hispanic-serving women’s college in Oakland, California, which has offered computer science classes since 1960. In addition to offering a major and minor in computer science, Mills has unique graduate programs that enable people who have earned a bachelor’s degree in another field to study computer science and earn a Master of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Computer Science or post-baccalaureate certificate. Graduates of the program have gone on to work as engineers at Google, Apple, Salesforce, Splunk, Mozilla, Intuit, and other top companies; to teach at public and private K-12 schools and at City College of San Francisco; and to PhD programs at CMU, University of Washington, and to University of California San Diego. Mills is proud to claim organizers Maira Benjamin and Idalin Bobé as alumnae.
Our keynote speakers are:
- Erica Baker, Senior Engineering Manager, Patreon
- Leah McGowen-Hare, Director and Developer Evangelist, Salesforce
We have other confirmed presenters and an open call for speakers.
How can I help?
Mills College is located at 5000 MacArthur Blvd. in Oakland, which is accessible by AC Transit and has free parking.
Talks will take place in Littlefield Concert Hall and the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business, which are wheelchair accessible. Gender-neutral bathrooms will be available. We are committed to the full inclusion of people with disabilities, including providing ASL interpreters.
The conference will take place on Saturday, January 27, 2018. We plan for registration and breakfast to begin at 8:30 AM and for the morning session to start at 9 AM. We expect the conference to run until approximately 5 PM.
Our logo was designed by Mills undergraduate Deana Bui and vectorized by Mills graduate student Pirouz Mehmandoost.
Two inspirations for this conference were Ana Diaz Hernandez’ Facebook group Women of Color in Tech – Bay Area, and the wonderfully diverse San Francisco Lesbians Who Tech Summit.