March 17th was the 3rd edition of Women Techmakers Montreal (WTM MTL)! For the first time in my life, I can even say that I participated in the organization of this great event for women in technology! I am proud of the work we accomplished since January make sure this event was a success!
This event is organized around the world and is part of the activities around the International Women’s Day on March 8th. Founded in 2012, WTM is a Google program that aims to provide visibility, community, and resources to women in technology.
The course of the day
9 am: VR for cognitive rehabilitation
The first talk I attended was on the use of virtual reality for rehabilitation! Can video games help heal brain injuries and cognitive problems? Can virtual reality slow down aging? That’s what the National Research Council of Canada is trying to find out!
In this conference, I liked the demonstration that lasted at least 15 minutes! We could see different worlds that have certain virtues: being in the middle of the space, with stones and relaxing music around us. Then we went to another location, to the beach, with breathtaking scenery!
Finally, we saw a game similar to the one with marmots where you have to hit the head before it disappears. However, the game had an additional difficulty: you have to hit the green groundhog with the green hammer on your right hand, and vice versa. But the colors change regularly, and the game adapts to the player and offers a higher level of difficulty to more advanced players!
This game helps to educate children to accept the rules and that these can change, so to control their impulses.
10 am: Concrete Steps to Tech Entrepreneurship – From Idea to Funding and Beyond
I did not attend this conference very long since a friend was waiting for me! The speaker, however, spoke about a Forbes article that mentions the three reasons why startups fail: no need in the market, lack of money, and not having the right team.
She also talked about the « Business model canvas,» by Ash Maurya. I had already heard about this business plan in 1 page, but I had forgotten its existence!
11 am: Discussions over a coffee with a friend!
I took the next hour to chat with a friend who is currently doing a post-doctorate at my university! I wanted to know more about her research and what she’s doing! Unfortunately, I also missed Chloé Freslon’s lecture “I spoke with more than 100 women working in technology, here’s what I learned.” I’m a little disappointed, but I’ll listen to it in a few weeks on Women Techmakers Montreal’s YouTube channel!
12:15 am: Lunch!
The meal served was SUPER tasty! I must say that I am impressed by the event this year. At $10 the student ticket and $40 the one for professionals, it was cheap for the quality of the food we had!
13:30 pm : F@!#ing with algorithms: a human hobby
This presentation was about algorithms and we can have fun or play with them! I also learned the word about the term “Google Bomb“. I knew it was a thing, but I didn’t realize that there was a term used just for that! For those who do not know, like me a few hours ago, Google bomb refers to a practice used previously to ensure that a site is high in the results of a Google search, but for a search that makes no sense.
As a picture is worth a thousand words, here is an example of a Google search in 2006 for “miserable failure,” and it was George W. Bush’s biography that was the first result!
I was very impressed with the quality of the presentation Myriam Jessier gave. I even took the time to tell her on Twitter! If I see her as a speaker at a future conference, I will certainly try to attend again. She has talent! Her PowerPoint was beautiful, her presentation fluid, original, funny, energetic. Wow!
2pm : Choose your own adventure. Transforming one unexpected opportunity into the career of my dreams
The speaker for this presentation was Lauren Jane Heller, and she touched me right from the start. Are you always on the hunt for the perfect job? A job that would be perfect for all levels? I do. Every hour of my life, as a student, I wonder what I will do with my life once I graduate.
I’ve been wondering for a few weeks now: “Is my dream of finding a perfect job where I want to go every morning as soon as I wake up and that I don’t want to leave at night because I like to work so much, does it exist? “… Are my expectations too high?
I recently came to the conclusion that maybe I was, yes. Lauren, from the beginning, said, “Stop looking for the career of your dreams, and learn to enjoy the moment!” I will try to share her philosophy. We must appreciate what we have, appreciate the tasks we love about our work, and do the ones we like less anyway. We can’t love everything in life, right?!
Here are her tips for opening up to the opportunities of life, and who knows, to find an almost perfect job?
- Get out of your comfort zone
- Ask for help
- Fail a lot
- Be open to change
- Be kind to yourself
Finally, she gave another advice that I found special and that I even want to try next time: when we are in conversation with someone and we ask questions, want to know more about him or her, etc… it often happens that there is a moment of silence a little uneasy. Well, instead of trying to fill the silence, wait! Often, the person in front of you will also want to fill the silence, and will end up telling you something of great value through this embarrassing moment.
3-5 pm : Coat check !
As I was there as a volunteer too, I had to do my part!
5-6 pm: Closing keynote, clean the space
6-8 pm: Networking and free dinner!
After this long day, I was a little tired to do “real” networking, so I took the opportunity to talk with Marie-Thérèse, who is an employee of my university, in the software engineering department. It was nice to get to know her a little more, as I often pass in front of her desk to ask questions to professors… hihi 😉
The first time I’m recognized so much in public
This is the first time I go somewhere and where so many people recognize me for my online activities! Some knew my YouTube channel, others are in my Facebook group and told me how much they appreciate my work, others just knew my blog! Wow! I can’t believe it! <3
My role in organizing the Women Techmakers event
I promoted the “call for papers” which is the form that people who wish to give a conference must fill to participate in the event. I also took care of printing the posters, and I contacted some companies to sponsor the event!
Organizing this event made me learn a lot. I must also admit that it took me long hours and a lot of questioning to simply send my few sponsorship request emails. It’s exhausting! It feels like we are disturbing them!!
I honestly enjoyed my second participation at Women Techmakers Montreal! I came in 2016, but last year I could not go because I was moving out that day!
WTM MTL is the conference event where I learn the most. Most of the time, at other conferences, I feel like I’m wasting my time! It’s not the case for WTM, the speakers chosen are amazing and it’s a great experience.
If you have only one tech conference to attend in Montreal, you need to go to Women Techmakers and nothing else! 😀
Credits for the pictures: Nico Crevier!