GHC Community: CONNECT Project
A green way to achieve your networking goals at GHC, no business cards required!
We are pleased to offer a fun, effective, and free way for attendees to achieve their networking goals at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. We strongly encourage all GHC attendees to sign up with the CONNECT project. You will be able to set networking goals before the conference, and then receive assistance to achieve those goals throughout the conference. The CONNECT system will help you create a strong and supportive network both at the conference and in the coming years.
By connecting or networking with others, you can improve your life and the lives of others. Whether you are outgoing and enjoy meeting new people or shy and prefer to debug code, CONNECT will help you meet and maintain connections with other attendees at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. The CONNECT team will combine motivation, practical tips, on-site connection technology, and follow-up reminders/hints in order to assist you in successfully building on the connections that you make at the Grace Hopper Celebration. CONNECT will help you go beyond meeting people to create enduring and, mutually beneficial relationships with others.
GHC is an opportunity for incredible connections.
The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) allows you to meet women from all over the world. Typically almost half of the attendees are students. Many faculty and women from industry also come looking to connect outside of their universities/companies, and many attendees are interested in recruiting women to their organizations. Essentially everyone at the Grace Hopper Celebration is there because they want to feel connected with other women in computing.
Networking improves your life and the lives of others. The following are just a few of the benefits obtained from networking:
- Feeling a sense of community and support - you are not alone
- Developing a support group – others are going through similar things
- Obtaining advice to help solve your problems
- Watching how others navigate in the world
- Connecting with mentees, students, co-authors, and professional colleagues
- Linking others within the community
- Shared perspective from common background
- Increasing your value in your community and organization
- Sharing your knowledge and experience
- Giving referrals within your community
- Making new connections
What type of connections should you make?
Depending on where you are in life, you should concentrate on strengthening your network in different ways. Some of the obvious types of connections you might want include:
- Peers – always a good choice for long-term support
- Mentors – someone to give you perspective on the next phase of your life/career
- Mentees – an opportunity to pass along your knowledge and experience
- Role Models – someone with whom you identify
- Technical Connections – others in your area of expertise or an area that you want to enter
- Leadership Connections – others who are leaders, emerging leaders, or potential coaches
What are the goals of CONNECT?
According to the attendees of past Grace Hopper Celebrations, networking is an extremely valuable piece of the conference. The objectives of the CONNECT project are to (1) support the networking goals of attendees at the conference and (2) help attendees sustain their new connections after the conference ends.
How does CONNECT work?
If a GHC attendee chooses to opt into CONNECT, then he/she needs to complete a short questionnaire that asks questions such as the type of people the attendee hopes to meet at the conference (e.g., Ph.D. students, recruiters from industry, Full Professors, etc.).
Each attendee of the Grace Hopper Celebration will have a bar code on their conference badge. When two (or more) attendees would like to document a connection made, then the attendees will signal for a CONNECT SCANNER to scan their badges. (We promise that the scanning process will be a minor intrusion to the networking that is occurring.) CONNECT SCANNERS will be roaming the conference venue area throughout the conference; CONNECT SCANNERS will wear brightly colored shirts that say “I’M A CONNECT SCANNER”.
During the Grace Hopper Celebration, each CONNECT attendee will receive daily CONNECT email messages that describe how well the attendee is meeting his/her networking goals. These email messages will include a summary on the types of people the CONNECT participate met that day, and suggestions on the types of people the CONNECT participate should try to meet the next day. The messages will also include strategies for effective networking, to help ensure the attendees use their time at GHC advantageously.
Each attendee at the Grace Hopper Celebration will have the opportunity to wear a colored ribbon that most closely represents the attendee’s work area (e.g., Assistant Professor or Software Engineer). These ribbons will assist attendees in making the connections they want to make at the Grace Hopper Celebration.
After the Grace Hopper Celebration is over, CONNECT attendees will receive contact information of other CONNECT attendees that they connected with during the conference. This message will include tips on maintaining the connections made over the long run.
The CONNECT project is supported by the National Science Foundation (under #CNS-0738102) and ACM’s Committee on Women in Computing (ACM-W). Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation nor the Association of Computing Machinery.