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Women Influence Chicago City-Wide Shadow Day

Monday, April 16, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gary Hotze
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Gary Hotze, Digital Marketing Manager, ITA


Women Influence Chicago (WIC), an Illinois Technology Association initiative, held a City-Wide Tech Shadow day on April 13th, 2018.  A non-attendance day for Chicago Public Schools, WIC invited almost 75 young women from 19 area schools to come together with 15 Chicago tech companies for a day of learning and inspiration about STEM-based careers (full lists below). The day-long event was made possible by Founding Partners: Gogo, Trustwave and Walker Sands. 

WIC strongly believes shadowing is essential for hands-on experience and for witnessing “a day in the life” of experienced professionals. WIC focuses on enabling and supporting getting more women into technology through mentorship, education & STEM. Only 24% of the STEM workforce in the US is female. It has never been more important to empower our female population at a young age and show them the infinite opportunities for representation in STEM. 

Through this pilot, WIC provided the necessary resources to show CPS high school girls that their career aspirations can target STEM majors. While the inaugural event proved successful with both attendees and participating companies, preliminary takeaways and lessons will serve as a foundation for future Tech Shadow Day efforts. 

Feedback from the students was very positive. Some quick takes: 

"We got to sit and listen in on one of their meetings where they were discussing plans on marketing on Snapchat," said one Chi-Tech student. "We gave them ideas and the viewpoints of teenagers on how to use SnapChat for advertising, explaining our perspective which they said they might utilize in the next year to advertise on the platform."
"Before participating in the event today, I always thought that a career in tech meant HTML, CSS and other types of coding," remarked a Mather student. "I didn't realize that a career in tech also meant you could be in HR, marketing or many other fields."

"It is never wrong to ask for help, especially being as young as we are now, that's the big lesson I learned today. And, it's great to know that there are working women who are willing to spread their knowledge and share their experiences with all of us."

Also, Be sure to check out the Flickr album from the event, here.

Participating Companies:
Dialog Tech
Home Chef
Narrative Science
Sprout Social
UI Labs

Participating Schools:
Ace Technical Charter School
Al Raby High School
Alcott College Prep
Chi-Tech Academy
Collins Academy High School
De La Salle Institute
Northside College Prep
Harlan Community Academy High School
John Hancock College Prep School
Julian High School
Lane Tech
Lindblom Math & Science Academy
Muchin College Prep
Phillips Academy
Rickover Naval Academy
Uplift Community High School

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