“If I could leave you with one last thought, it would be to just be you,” Kimball Hall told the audience. “You don’t have to emulate a “man’s” or a “woman’s”
Annie De Groot, M.D. shared stories of being scolded for her pregnancy and about her graduate school tasks of “literally planning birthday parties” because women had just not yet been viably accepted into the bioscience community. Annie shared how she found strength in her gender and fought for parity to achieve her numerous successes. Today, Annie is the CEO & CSO, EpiVax, Inc, the Director of the Institute for Immunology and Informatics at
the University of Rhode Island and also a professor at both URI’s Biotechnology program and the Brown University Medical School. Annie urged the audience: “We have got to continue to fight for parity” in order to gain equality in representation, salary and opportunities.
Beth Zielinski-Habershaw, Ph.D. is and Instructor at the Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology Division of Biology and Medicine at Brown University. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at University of Rhode Island. Beth had the audience laughing as she gave advice and recalled the differences between the men and women in her industry:
“I’ve got two tips for you ladies,” she said. “One, never apologize… things happen, that’s life. Two, don’t explain… that’s your own decision to make. … I know because I used to do both all of the time, then I thought to myself one day, I never met one guy who’s ever explained to me why he’s not attending a meeting. That’s crazy! I’m not doing it anymore! …Women shouldn’t be apologizing for things that they cannot do.”
Such points of strength from the speakers resonated with audience members such as Lora Palmisano, Training Coordinator for LearningGate Computer Learning Centers. “Women walk thru the fires in life not around them, and that is what makes us strong,” Lori said.
Karen Lokey, Specialist, IS Business Systems for Amgen found comfort in hearing the stories and advice from the speakers, including those of her boss, Kimball Hall. “It was great to hear testimonies from women who turned obstacles into stepping stones and made their careers and their lives on their terms. It was relieving to hear them admit that they didn't do everything at once.”
The WIT event was held at the 1149 restaurant and also held a raffle with over $250 dollars being raised for the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation. Women in Technology eventts are held 3-4 times a year and spotlight three of Rhode Island’s leading female technology professionals. Past speakers have included Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts, Jeanne Lieb, Senior VP Information Services, FM Global, Donna Sams, Vice President of Informational Technology, CVS Caremark and Lee Silvestre, VP of Mission Innovation, Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems (IDS). Visit www.tech-collective.org for more information about Women in Technology speakers and events.
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About Tech Collective:
Tech Collective is the technology industry association of Rhode Island. Focusing on Community Building and Workforce Development, we are driving technology innovation and prosperity by uniting industry, government and education. Tech Collective builds and strengthens community by creating partnerships and offering thought-provoking forums as well as organizing state-wide participation in events like BIO2007, GRRL Tech and Technology Laureate’s Night. In promoting and developing a highly-skilled Rhode Island workforce, Tech Collective also drives technology-based education and training programs for students in grades K -16 as well as for incumbent and transitioning workers. For more information about Tech Collective initiatives, events and how we are fostering a burgeoning knowledge economy in Rhode Island, visit www.tech-collective.org.