Microsoft Australia hosted 20 female computing and information technology (IT) students at its Sydney office on 9 October in partnership with Girl Geek Coffees (GGC), a local nonprofit organisation that facilitates networking between young women pursuing their interests in computer, science and engineering.
At the event, the self-styled ‘Girl Geeks’ took the opportunity to network with each other and with Microsoft employees including senior executives such as Pip Marlow, Microsoft Australia Managing Director, and HR Director Rose Clements.
The participants also took part in a design challenge, competing in teams to develop the best concept for a new PC, tablet or mobile phone application. Several Microsoft employees chipped in as team mentors to help the Girl Geeks develop some brilliant app ideas that embody the creativity and spirit of innovation that the technology sector is built on.
“Collaborations with nonprofit groups such as GGC help to strengthen Microsoft’s reputation as an employer of choice for Australian women,” said Ms Marlow. “We hope to provide young women the opportunity to unleash their creativity and innovation in a relaxed environment, as well as to share with them more about Microsoft’s flexible and inclusive culture.”
GGC was started in Queensland in 2009 and has since expanded to include chapters in all major Australian universities and in major cities around the world. Building on the support from industry ambassadors and corporations such as Microsoft, GGC aims to continue nurturing a strong enthusiasm for IT among young women.
“Girl Geek Coffees is passionate about providing support for students and early career females in ICT. We encourage our members to network together, in order to foster much needed colleagues as they develop through their careers. We also engage in group work activities, such as networking games and app competitions. These foster a sense of team spirit, group identity and closer interpersonal bonding,” said GGC founder Miriam Hochwald.
“We are delighted with the positive feedback from the students who participated at the event. Working together with GGC, our shared goal is to improve the rate of female participation in the sciences and technology sector,” Ms Marlow added.
“Working together with Girl Geek Coffees, Microsoft Australia hopes to provide young women the opportunity to unleash their creativity and innovation in a relaxed environment.”
– Pip Marlow, Managing Director of Microsoft Australia