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First Girl Geeks KW Event Recap: Ruth Morton, May 24th

On Tuesday evening, the Google office at The Tannery played host to our first Girl Geeks KW event. Though inaugural butterflies were to be expected, they turned out to be totally unfounded as the event was a smashing success.

Many thanks to our organizers: Cate Huston (also our host Googler), Pj Lowe, and Michelle Kostya, as well as the Googlers assisting with setup, registration, and logistics. Delicious thanks as well to our wonderful caterer, Stephanie Tanner from Little Mushroom Catering.

And, of course, our biggest thanks to our fabulous speaker, engaging conversationalist, inveterate Girl Geek, and bringer-of-schwag, Ruth Morton.

So, how did the evening go down? Girl Geeks began arriving around 6:30, and we promptly got down to meeting, greeting, and mingling. There was a fantastic variety of ages, interests, and professions represented, from students to managers, and from engineers to evangelists. It was also really interesting to find out who people knew already, who they came to the event with, and how they found out about it.

The dinner part of the event got going toward 7pm, with a wonderful selection of finger foods and wine. Balancing plates and glasses didn’t interrupt the conversations in the least, and people continued to arrive.

After 7:30, we headed upstairs to the office’s largest meeting room for the evening’s official geeking out. Cate welcomed everyone and expressed her relief for the evening’s success. She shared a terror common to many event organizers – that no one would show up. Fortunately, she calmed down significantly once the event sold out and there were nearly 20 people on the waiting list. (We predict an even bigger waiting list next time.)

After introductions, Ruth gave her presentation, which in many ways echoed a lot of the conversations that had been going on downstairs. She touched on her life and background, both personal and professional, and the challenges of finding balance. (Hint: you can have it all… just not at the same time. Also: it’s ok to cry.)

It was funny to hear about situations very common in tech, i.e. that of often being the only woman or one of few women in the room (lots of nodding heads there)… during a presentation from a Girl Geek to a room full of Girl Geeks.

Then Ruth kicked the geekiness up a notch with an overview of cloud computing, which is certainly an important part of Microsoft’s business (Ruth’s employer), as well as that of our Google hosts and many of the attendees. She outlined what cloud computing is and how it works, various workload patterns, different types of cloud infrastructure, security, and a variety of issues and opportunities with cloud computing in online business today and in the future. A great overview, especially for those of us aware of and using cloud computing, but who aren’t directly involved with it day to day.

Check out Ruth’s slide deck: Beyond the Buzz.

After the presentation we had a draw for some schwag Ruth brought along (there’s an app for that!) with several lucky winners taking home t-shirts, software, and a really fancy-looking mouse.

Several attendees took the big slide back downstairs, and we gradually dispersed for the evening, some to the Firkin for a pint, and others heading home. A fine time had by all, with many new contacts made and many minds swirling with new ideas. Can’t wait for the next one, and stay tuned for the announcement of our next event date and speaker!

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