After a packed schedule in 2017, 2018 has been a period of reflection and reorientation for Girl Geek Scotland. Early in the year we appointed an interim leadership team to share some of the duties of running the organisation and most importantly to carry out a consultation to define what we should be for the future. During the 10 years that Girl Geek Scotland has existed, the technology sector landscape in Scotland has shifted enormously. In an increasingly vibrant tech sector we wanted to understand what our specific focus should be for the near term future?
We carried out three consultation events focused on our three main stakeholders: volunteers; event attendees; and sponsors. We gathered insights and feedback at each event as to what the different groups particularly valued about Girl Geek Scotland, where we offered something different from other groups, and what challenges we might focus on.
Across these three events a number of strong themes emerged:
We will focus on mentoring and leadership development events as our core activity.
Consultation feedback has shown that these have impact and build community most effectively. There is a big gap for early to mid-career women and access to the skills and support that will help them take the next step, and we believe that this is a problem that we can help with.
There are lots of other problems to be tackled in the tech sector (encouraging girls to come into the tech sector; wider diversity issues) but we believe that these are areas that other organisations are already working on, and which are currently attracting significant funding. We believe that having a relatively tight focus will achiever stronger impact rather than risk spreading ourselves too thin.
We will use our events and networks to build a bridge between our community and our sponsors (and other employers) to encourage more women to apply for roles.
Throughout the consultation we heard over and again how many businesses seem to be doing all the right things to create more diverse working environments, but women are still not applying for jobs in sizeable numbers. We will continue to play a role in lobbying and advocacy to get more companies to work seriously to attract women, or to invest in more gender diverse organisations.
Rather than continue to run regular hackathons and panel sessions ourselves, we will partner with other organisations, lending our name and publicity to boost events.
There is a thriving tech meetup scene in many of the large cities in Scotland now, facilitated by incubator organisations such as Codebase. Potentially we may consider running a showcase panel event if we have the chance of a really good speaker, but the priority for volunteer time and effort will be on the core programme.
- Develop our core group of volunteers.
- Build a more active community around our core activity
- Run more frequent events
- Increase our visibility
- Actively engage with businesses on their diversity recruitment
- Contribute more to “shared” activities eg Ada Lovelace day, other Girl Geek group events etc.
- Define other routes of engagement with partners
- Act more as facilitators