I attended the CodeStock development conference in Knoxville recently. One of the sessions that I attended was the Woman in Technology panel. Michael Neel was on the panel and he made an interesting comment. He stated that while there were woman in technology companies, woman did not give keynote addresses at technology conferences.
Michael is one of the founders of CodeStock and in 2010 he choose Rachel Appel as the keynote speaker for the event. Michael was quoted as saying “For the record, I wanted Rachel to Keynote before I decided on the Woman in Technology theme. It was the result of looking around and trying to find another technology conference that has had a female keynote speaker. I realized I couldn’t find one!”. Michael brought this up during the WIT panel discussions and challenged anyone to name another technology conference with a female keynote speaker prior to 2010.
I immediately thought of my favorite keynote address by Marissa Mayer at the 2008 Google I/O conference entitled “Imagination, Immediacy, and Innovation… and a little glimpse under the hood at Google”. At the time, Marissa was the VP of Search and User Experience for Google. I did not attend the conference that year, but I watched the recorded sessions after the event. I was so impressed with Marissa’s keynote that I setup a lunch session and invited my entire development team to come and watch it with me. It is obviously a little old now, but it is still a fascinating look behind the scenes at Google.
I would like to add a thank you to Cory House. His keynote at CodeStock this year inspired me to respond to this particular challenge with a blog post rather than an email.
If you have been to a technology conference with a female keynote speaker, share with the class! Leave a comment with the conference and who the speaker was.