Meet Michele Sandidge, our #JWiT2017 Pitch Competition and Events Chair

I Joined #JWiT2017...

I joined JWiT because I want to play a role in raising awareness around careers in technology and help to change the ratio of men to women in the industry. This conference provides one way of starting the conversations necessary to facilitate these changes in the future and also allows participants to network with other like-minded students and professionals. As a former Girl Scout of 12 years and all-girls high school alumna, it is important to me that the next generation of young girls can find female leaders within the tech industry as role models and inspiration for their future careers. As a former HR professional, increasing the number of women in leadership positions within the technology industry is key in driving those businesses to higher levels of success as well as changing the culture of a typically male-dominated workplace.

By participating in JWiT, I hope to improve my leadership skills, form closer bonds with my classmates, and learn even more about the technology industry. Since I have never planned a conference of such large scale, I am motivated by the chance to try something different and build my experience in coordinating and executing this event. I truly believe in the importance and necessity of the conference and am excited for the opportunity to play a hands on role in its success.

#TechTogether means to me...

Tech Together means that addressing this low representation of women and people of color within the technology industry cannot be accomplished solely through the efforts of these underrepresented minorities. It requires allies from within the industry who are willing to provide support for the mission. Tech Together also illuminates the idea that we all can play a role within our local communities. For example, my father previously worked for the Apple Store in Soho and would organize annual store trips for the youth of our church (all of whom are minorities) so they could learn about the importance of technology. this exposure led to an enhanced media committee at the church, managed by these youths, and will hopefully translate into them pursuing tech-related careers in the future. Likewise, as a volunteer for New York Cares, I helped first-generation high school seniors (the majority of whom were female) complete their college applications, and I spoke to them about possible career paths in technology. These students will hopefully seek out coursework and internships within the field of technology throughout their college experience.

As the African proverb states "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to far, go together." This captures the idea that everyone can help to increase inclusion and diversity within the technology industry. We can accomplish so much more if we just #TechTogether!