One of the great things with my job is it gives me the ability to take part in activities outside of my normal job role. An area which I am passionate about is encouraging more girls , young women , returners to the workplace to consider a career in our industry. Plus in addition support activities across the industry that are aimed at attracting , retaining and developing women so that they can blossom and grow in their career.

So here are a few things I have been involved in with Microsoft. As you can see we work hard but we also get involved in stuff we believe in.

This month has been a particularly busy month of events surrounding and celebrating and supporting International Women’s Day which was on the 8th of March this month

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Female Networking T-Party Event @ Langham Hotel London England

On the 29th of February Microsoft Human Resources and other invited Microsoft Ladies from across the business held an event in London which was both innovative , inspiring and empowering. The event “entitled” Mad Hatters T-Party invited 50 top female ladies from across the industry to a networking event with a difference. It invited them to open up their minds to…..

“Imagination is a powerful thing. It fuels new inventions; it unleashes new ideas. However, sometimes it can take a back seat to timescales, deadlines and inbox bombardments. Which is why we’re inviting you to take time out and immerse yourself in a world where the impossible becomes possible: our Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

You can sample the delights of an afternoon tea like no other, and also hear from Martha Lane Fox – a woman who’s made incredible things happen in her career.”

The event was a great launch pad for a new and unique series of  Networking event which in Microsoft’s own unique way we are looking to connect ,  amazing ladies from across our Industry.

 

ConnectingWomen

 

 

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On the 1st of March we held our 8th Connecting Women in Technology Event .

This organization has grown from strength to strength but  The theme of this event was the “Power of the Network” and was hosted by Avaya at their Maidenhead offices. The whole premise of Connecting Women in Technology is

CWT is a joint initiative between Cisco, Dell, Google, HP, IBM, Intel, and Microsoft which aims to retain, inspire and empower women by developing a community to help women's contribution in IT.

We had a fantastic line up  Agenda and developed the theme of different break- out sessions focusing in on Mentoring, Career Path, Face to Face Networking, Social Networking,

Our key note speaker was Heather White, of  Smarter Networking who from our feedback was very well received from our Audience . We thoroughly enjoyed her session and I personally learnt loads about how to approach a room where I know absolutely no-one and be engaging and have an impact,

Our Panellists were senior female Executives  from our partaking companies with myself  (Jane Lewis)  from Microsoft facilitating the Panel. The Panel was based on the theme of the “Power of the Network” and instigated some great discussions and debates.

We finally retired to more networking after the event with Wine and nibbles to send us on our way.

The overall feedback is that this style of event was very popular with all attendees loving the smaller group interaction and the ability to have time to discuss a range of different topics.

Date for your Diaries – The next CWT Event is being hosted by IBM at their South Bank Offices in London this Autumn. Date to be confirmed. So if you are a lady working at one of the above companies that is part of our group keep and eye on your inbox

Sit with Me and Mocktails !

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To celebrate International Women’s day on the 8th of March we held a couple of events in the UK at Thames Valley Park and also at Cardinal Place in London. (Plus the rest of the world Smile)

We invited ladies (and men) along to a “Mocktail” party which were a delicious selection of non-alcoholic “cocktails” to network and discuss why they feel it is important to ensure we attract and retain and develop women into “Microsoft” and continue to endeavour to advance our efforts on this front.

We also took part in the “Sit With Me “ campaign that was being organized across the world of Microsoft. So what is the “Red Chair “ all about . Read here for full details but here is an extract.

“Why the Red Chair?

Challenge. Innovation. Creativity. Strength. Reinvention. Sustainability.

We think this is the perfect chair to represent the value of women in computing and IT.

The red chair is symbolic. When women and men “sit” to take a stand, they validate women in computing and IT and recognize them for the important role they play in creating future technology. The red chair gives all of us a constructive way to show our solidarity and invite others to participate. The bold red colour grabs attention and encourages action. By “sitting together” we hold space for an honest conversation and create a platform for online and offline discussions about our challenges and hopes for the future.”

The chair worked really well for us and we have produced a great set of pictures and stories that we are sharing here plus also are going to be available on the official site as part of a huge montage.

It was a great and inspiring day !

For more great events around International Women’s Day checkout Women at Microsoft on Facebook