in partnership
2017 ACT-W .jpg
(Image: ChickTech)

Virtual conference hopes to advance the careers of technical womxn, diversify the field

Ivette Cortez is the Program and Community Manager of ChickTech, a non-profit organization that supports womxn and girls in tech with community, education and inspiration. We checked in with Cortez ahead of the organization's annual ACT-W Conference to see what is different this year, and what opportunities (spoiler alert, there are many) are still the same...

Seattle Refined: Ivette from ChickTech, thanks so much for talking with us today, I want to hear all about ChickTech.
Ivette Cortez: We are an amazing non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging and maintaining womxn* and young adults, young women, in the fields of STEM. We’re very passionate about making sure that the pipeline - the talent pipeline within STEM is strengthened and continues to grow, but we’re also really focused in inclusion and diversity.

When you say STEM you mean science, technology, engineering and math?
Correct, yes. There’s something that becomes scary when you say "hi-tech". Our goal is to break down that stereotype, break down the idea that "hi tech" is this terrifying thing.

Tell me about the event you guys have coming up?
Our ACT-W Conference, we have a three day conference Aug 26th through the 28th. Where we will be hosting some of the most phenomenal womxn in tech: key note speakers, we will be having one-on-one coaching for those of you who are interested in switching careers or might need some help with interviews. There will be a career fair which is not easily found right now. But there are companies hiring out there and we’re partnered with quite a few of them who are ready and willing to hire. We’re super excited about it.

This is not an in-person thing
We were all impacted by COVID 19. We weren’t going to let the pandemic stop us. We got together and we decided we were going to do this conference and we were going to do it virtually.

Speaking of the events, you have a great backstory because you were one of these young women who attended the event!
Probably about 4-5 years ago, I was feeling like I needed to take the next step in my career but I really wasn’t sure what I wanted. A good friend of mind found ChickTech through a meet-up page. And she say "Hey you know you should just go and check it out." And I did and I just felt so welcomed and heard - I felt seen, and well they never got rid of me!

I want you tell me where the proceeds go because I think this is so cool.
All of the proceeds come right back to our youth programs. Last year, 2019-2020, we had an impact on hundreds of young girls across the country.

Sounds like a great event.
Absolutely yes - everyone should go and get their tickets.

We're proud to partner with ChickTech on their ACT-W+ (Advancing the Careers of Technical Womxn) Conference, happening virtually August 26-28, 2020. The digital community for womxn and allies in tech hope to boost careers, and connect womxn - no matter where they are. Find out more about ChickTech, and attending the ACT-W Conference online.

*The word womxn is used as an alternative spelling to "women" to be inclusive of trans and nonbinary women.