Wednesday, November 9, 2011

GHC11 Day 1 Recap

Today was the first day of GHC11 and it started very, very early for me.  I'm only just finishing my day now (around midnight) so it's been a long one, too.  Here's something like how it went:
  • 5 am: wake up call!  Time to get ready.  Oh, and pack up and check out too, since I could only stay at the Marriot one night (it's a long story*).
  • 6 am: free breakfast time at the hotel!  I was too bleary-eyed to even think about taking a picture.  You'll have to trust me that there were delicious eggs, sausage, muffins, and granola with yogurt.  Oh yes, and coffee (which didn't help).
  • 7 am: MAX train to the convention and Hopper's** meeting.
  • 8 am: Hopper's meeting finished an hour early (?!) so I checked out our recruiting booth in the exhibitor's hall and stopped by the Microsoft attendees' breakfast where I picked up a super cute t-shirt.
  • 9:30 am: After a little over an hour helping the recruiters, it was time for the ABI Ambassadors meeting.  Had a great sync-up with other ladies in industry on what we can do to get better participation from women in future conferences and ABI initiatives.
  • 10:30 am: Time to switch hotels*.  That took until lunch. :(
  • 1 pm: Time for Jo Miller's excellent session on "Building Your Brand as a Technical Expert or Leader".  Read my summary here.
  • 5 pm: Phew!  Speed networking done, time to charge batteries and find some food!
  • 6:30 pm: Time to do my volunteer shift at registration.  Met the awesome Terry O and had a great chat.
  • 9 pm: Time to go home!  Met up with Liyang from SFU who is excited for her interview tomorrow.  
Luckily, Portland's MAX transit system made getting around super easy for me (and free)!
If I had to sum the day up, I would say that today was really about networking and leadership.  I met some really wonderful women, made some great connections, and got some very helpful advice.  Tomorrow there will be more technical sessions, which I'm really looking forward to.  

The great thing about GHC is that there are so many aspects to it, it's really a learning experience that can benefit your career in a multitude of ways, whether you are in academia or industry.  If you don't believe me, as the ~3000 other attendees here this week from all sectors of technology!  Unfortunately, the problem with GHC is that many people don't realize what they are missing.  If you don't go, you won't know you need to know what you don't know.  So go!  

Also, the swag is great. :-)
*I originally planned to come down to Portland on Wednesday morning, so I only booked my hotel for Wednesday to Saturday.  However, since the Hopper meeting was so early, I had to book a room for Tuesday night.  Since my original hotel did not have any space for that night and the second hotel only had space for Tuesday night, I was stuck with having to take both and switch mid-day today.  It wasn't as bad as I thought but did require much use of the MAX light rail system.

**Hopper is the term used for the conference volunteers.  It's a pretty fun experience and a great way to meet other attendees.

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