This evening I was graciously invited by a friend to attend the 3rd Montreal Girl Geek Dinner. Boy geeks such as myself were welcome as the guest of a girl geek. The goal of the event is described as follows:
Montreal Girl Geek Dinners are an offshoot of the London Girl Geek Dinners, started by Sarah Blow. The goal of these get-togethers is to make technology accessible and interesting to all age groups and all people, particularly women.
These monthly events are aimed at providing a welcoming atmosphere and a platform for learning in an informal environment. They are always held in pubs, bars or restos and there is usually a speaker (or several) who talk for a short while on a chosen subject for the evening.
The event lasted 3-4 hours, a large part of which was spent eating and networking. I had a chance to speak with the organizer Tanya McGinnity as well as Peter Yang, a designer at Ubisoft Montreal. The attendees came from many different backgrounds; some were programmers and web designers, others were just self-described geeks. In the spirit of making these events accessible, the speakers avoid getting too technical.
This evening’s talk by Aleece Germano was about self-employment. Ms. Germano encouraged us to adopt the mindset that everyone, even nine-to-fivers, are really self-employed. She spoke of her own experience as a consultant, how to develop professional relationships with clients, and how to protect yourself legally and financially in these situations.
Though I have no personal interest in being self-employed, a lot of what she said was just good general career advice. The other Girl Geek Dinner topics chosen so far sounded great too. Last month Angela Byron did a talk on Open Source development, and Heather Kelley of Kokoromi spoke in December.
These dinners are a fantastic initiative, and if one is being hosted in your area I strongly urge you to check it out. Kudos to the organizers, great job.