Inspiring women to pursue technology education and careers, eBay partnered with nonprofit Dare2bDigital for a hands-on conference that brought hundreds of young women, ages 11 through 17, to San Jose’s North Campus on Saturday, Feb. 12. Over 420 young women, parents and industry mentors from around the Bay Area came together to explore robotics, programming, blogging, eCommerce, collaboration software, networking and internet security.
The event was hosted by eBay Women in Technology (eWIT), a volunteer organization that supports women in technology throughout eBay Inc., and organized by Invent Your Future Enterprises. eWIT’s mission is to advance the interests of women in technology and help make eBay a great place to work. Today, eWIT has thousands of members, with a strong presence in North America, India, China and Europe.
Raji Arasu, CTO of Stubhub (pictured above), delivered the keynote address, talking about her role at StubHub and what it takes to become a prominent woman in the field of technology. Richelle Parham, CMO, NA Marketplaces, participated in a distinguished panel of executive speakers that included Staci Lyons, Oracle Vice President of Global Business Development, and Sheila B. Jordan, Cisco SVP of Communication and Collaboration IT. The panel discussed the women who had inspired them and their proudest professional accomplishments.
Attendees got to see eBay values in action, with dozens of volunteers and employees on hand to help guide and support the young women throughout the day. Mercury News was also on site to cover the event, praising the conference and its organizers.
Representing an unexpected coup, Michelle Obama gave her nod of approval by ‘liking’ the Dare 2B Digital Facebook page. In fact, she published a YouTube Video where she answered the question: “What are your biggest hopes and dreams for your daughter?”
With a focus on hands-on learning, the young women participated in seven action-oriented workshops, selected by the advisory council and run by participating companies:
- Online security by Symantec
- Collaboration by SAP Labs
- Hands-on Robotic by Mozilla and Microsoft
- Blogging by NetApp
- Programming in Alice by Oracle
- Lemonade Stand Modernized by eBay
- Bridging the World – Interactive Networking by Cisco
Around 70 parents also enjoyed workshops, which were geared toward keeping children safe online and harnessing the power of technology to boost their children’s social and academic success:
- Keeping Kids Safe Online – Anita Rao, Business Partner Director, Symantec
- Facebook for Parents: What You Need to Know - Marian Heath, Public Policy, Facebook
- Lemonade Stand Modernized- eBay-Innovate Group
- Exploring Career Options in Technology, Science and Engineering with Your Daughter
Representing one of the day’s highlights, the eBay Innovation group added a modern twist to the traditional lemonade stand, the timeless symbol of childhood entrepreneurism. In this creative workshop, attendees learned the basics of running a business and had the opportunity to set up their own online stores. Breaking into three sessions, 163 young women created a total of 35 online stores in 45 minutes per session using Magento’s click-and-build merchant toolset. Here are some of their websites they developed:
- Cupcake Store: http://s01t01b.gostorego.com/
- Perfume Store: http://s03t04a.gostorego.com/
- Dog and Buddy Costumes: http://s03t05b.gostorego.com/
- Bookmark Store: http://s03t03a.gostorego.com/
- Smartphone Covers with Bling: http://s02t03a.gostorego.com/
Nearly all (99.5 percent) of the attendees surveyed said that Dare 2B Digital maintained or increased their interest in computer science. Here’s what they had to say about the event:
- "It inspired us to follow our dreams and dream big."
- "It really sparked my imagination and technical skills."
- "I had fun and changed my mind about what I want to be when I grow older."