New conference aims to increase the number of women in tech leadership

Gender parity in IT has to be at all levels -- including top management and leadership.
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor
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It's not enough to address an overall gender imbalance in tech if there is not much change in the gender of the leaders. That's the focus of first-ever Extraordinary Women in Tech global conference, in San Francisco, December 9.

The gender gap in IT will take many years to balance out because the pipeline has to be built through early education but that doesn't mean that women's voices can't be heard until there is parity in numbers, pay and expectations. 

There is work to be done today to prepare women, who are already in tech and IT, for leadership positions. And the best way to do that is by featuring successful women because success is a powerful motivator for others. 

The conference certainly lives up to its title. Top women executives from Microsoft, Facebook, Oracle, Salesforce and American Express, will be joined by female executives based in Berlin and Dubai. 

Ulyana Zilbermints, vice president, at conference organizer Avenue Code, said the event will "celebrate the movement of women leadership in technology."

Zilbermints says she has successfully managed a life as a Silicon Valley executive, and a business owner, while being a mother to twins -- now seven years old. She's mentored many women based on her experiences and the challenges that came at different stages of her life. She says that now she is nearing forty she is able to approach leadership much more authentically. 

Fariba Rawhani, CIO of Teranet, and one of the conference speakers, said. "It's very important that we women support one another and send the message that it's okay to be successful and ambitious; it's okay to want to expand our horizons and do more. Always remember that women have a sisterhood."

The conference grew out of a webinar series that interviewed female business leaders from the US, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Mexico, and the Middle East.

The event will have a Startup track where VCs and Angel investors will hear new business ideas. And a track where women can find mentors and advisors. 

The overall goal is to provide opportunities for women to create connections with their peers and with influential executives. It's the best way to fast-track a career that's been likely delayed by COVID-19 measures that have resulted in the absence of meetups and conferences -- for more than 20 months -- by the time this December conference arrives in San Francisco.  

There's a lot of catching up to be done. 


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