Heinz Partners with Anita Borg Institute to Support Women in Technology

Oct 12, 2015

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Natalie Gil utilizes her position as a Regional Solutions Architect for Microsoft Latin America as a platform to mentor and support women who work in the field of technology. As General Co-Chair of Latin American Women in Technology, Gil oversees a two-day conference that gives women with a passion for technology opportunities to expand their professional network, gain visibility, and inspire other women in technology.

Gil’s desire to promote leadership and community among women in technology dates back to her days at Carnegie Mellon University when, as a Master of Information Systems Management (MISM) student, she attended her first Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) in 2009.

“It was an overwhelmingly positive experience,” said Gil. “The first Grace Hopper I attended, I think there were 2,000 people. And last year when I attended, there were already 8,000 people there.”

That initial trip made a lasting impression on Gil, who has subsequently spoken at the GHC numerous times and attends nearly every year.

“I think people who attend Grace Hopper get a sense they are not alone,” said Gil. “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.”

Since 1994, the GHC has inspired thousands of women technologists like Gil to take an active role in bringing the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront. Presented by the Anita Borg Institute, the GHC is the world’s largest gathering of women technologists.

In that spirit of technological scholarship and collaboration, H. John Heinz III College will provide significant scholarship opportunities to recipients of the Grace Hopper Celebration scholarship.

Bridget Jakub, associate director of admissions at the Heinz College, is excited to share information about the new scholarship at the Carnegie Mellon University booth at the 2015 GHC in Houston, Texas.

“I was inspired by the women I met at the conference in 2014,” Jakub said. “The Heinz College prepares students for leadership roles in the ever-expanding space where technology, business, government and nonprofit interests intersect. In partnering with the Anita Borg Institute, Heinz College continues its commitment to educating a diverse community of technology leaders.”

Each year, Heinz College provides conference funding to current students to help them develop professionally and expand their networks in their chosen fields of interest. In formalizing its partnership with the Anita Borg Institute, Heinz hopes to strengthen the bond between its student technologists and the GHC for years to come.

“Having lived, studied and worked in Pakistan, I have not had the opportunity to cross paths with many women leaders,” said Anushe Aly, a current MISM student who will attend this year’s GHC. “The field of technology, especially, is  male-dominated, which is not to say that women leaders do not exist at all in this field or others in Pakistan. 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.”

Aly is not alone, as more than 12,000 people are expected to attend this year’s GHC in Houston.

“More women are entering and excelling in the field of computing, and there is no better place to see the depth of talent and scale of impact that they can have on technology innovation than the Grace Hopper Celebration,” said Telle Whitney, President and CEO of the Anita Borg Institute. “The Grace Hopper Celebration has a legacy of leaving an indelible impression on attendees that continues to encourage, motivate, and help advance women through their education and careers.”

About the Anita Borg Institute (ABI)

The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI) connects, inspires and guides women in computing and organizations that view technology innovation as a strategic imperative. Founded in 1997 by computer scientist Anita Borg, our reach extends to more than 65 countries. We believe technology innovation powers the global economy, and that women are crucial to building technology the world needs. The Anita Borg Institute is a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 charitable organization. For more information, visit anitaborg.org.

Follow the Anita Borg Institute on Twitter at @anitaborg_org and become a fan at www.facebook.com/anitaborginstitute.

Learn more about the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing >>

Learn more about the MISM program >>

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