When Natalie Gil attended her first Grace Hopper Celebration in 2009, she was blown away by the gathering of 2,000 women technologists. Back then, Natalie was a student at Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz College, pursuing a Master of Information Systems Management (MISM) degree.
Since that first experience at GHC, Natalie has graduated and gone on to become a regional solutions architect for Microsoft. As General Co-Chair of Latin American Women in Technology, Natalie serves as a mentor for women technologists, and oversee a two-day conference that presents opportunities for women in technology to expand their professional network, gain visibility and inspire other women.
“I think people who attend Grace Hopper get a sense they are not alone,” said Natalie. “Because right now, for instance, I am alone on my team. Most of the technical leaders in my region are men. Grace Hopper is a great chance to get a real sense of what’s going on, and it gives me a lot of ideas and support in knowing that I don’t need to do everything from scratch. It is very inspiring.”
Natalie continues to attend and speak at GHC about her experiences as a woman technologist and her career path through Heinz College. Recently, her alma mater announced it would provide provide significant scholarship opportunities to GHC Scholarship recipients.
“The Heinz College prepares students for leadership roles in the ever-expanding space where technology, business, government and nonprofit interests intersect,” said Bridget Jakub, associate director of admissions at the Heinz College. “In partnering with AnitaB.org, Heinz College continues its commitment to educating a diverse community of technology leaders.”
Every year, Heinz College provides funding for current students to attend conferences like GHC to broaden their career horizons and help expand their professional networks. Formalizing its relationship with AnitaB.org will help Heinz College strengthen the bond between its female students and GHC into the future.
Anushe Aly is a current MISM candidate who attended GHC this year and felt firsthand the sense of camaraderie and support the conference is known for.
“Having lived, studied and worked in Pakistan, I have not had the opportunity to cross paths with many women leaders,” said Anushe. “The field of technology, especially, is male-dominated…I am hoping to expand my network to include more women leaders and peers in this field, and I intend on looking for people to collaborate with who are eager to expand their professional interests to Pakistan.”
Read the full story from Heinz College here.