It Is Never Too Late To Be An Innovator With A Purpose
We all continue to hear on a daily basis about how women in technology are leaving in droves, how the younger generation does not think that getting into the tech field is cool, and how there are not enough individuals or organizations out there to encourage girls and young women to follow their dreams and be major forces in the tech industry that they can and deserve to be. Carolyn Leighton, the founder and chairwoman of Women In Technology International (WITI) was featured in the LA Times this past weekend as one of the top 10 tech innovators to watch. When Carolyn Leighton founded Women in Technology International 25 years ago, it was a basic email network where women in the local technology industry could connect. Today, the group boasts more than 2 million members worldwide, hosts its own event, and partners with conferences across the tech industry to spotlight women. “If you open up any Web page for an industry conference, all you see is white men, which is astonishing today,” said Leighton, 74. “We’re absolutely changing that.” With the tech industry’s lack of diversity now a problem that has become impossible to ignore, an increasing number of companies are looking to organizations like WITI for a solution. Leighton doesn’t promise a quick fix but notes that change is on the way and WITI will play no small part.
This past June the organization held its 21st annual Summit which featured Patricia Arquette as the featured keynote speaker. Arquette shared her stories about how tough it is to be a woman, a single mother in her 40’s in Hollywood and how women in technology need to be brave, know that they have purpose, and pave their own way for the careers and lives they aspire for. It is not everyday that you get an Academy Award winner to attend a high tech function for women. But as you can see, Ms. Leighton has proven that she is not going to give up with her mission to create a healthy, supportive, and innovative environment for women in technology. At 74 she is not only an innovator, but also shows all of us to not give up when the odds are against us and to have compassion for one another in order for us all to make a difference in our world. It is not about being a man or woman in technology. It is about believing in who you are, what you want to achieve, and knowing that when you face obstacles to continue to jump a little higher when you have to. Thank you Carolyn for all of your support and belief that women in technology may have the odds against them at times and that they do have a safe and supportive to land with WITI.
Carolyn Leighton – Founder of Women in Tech International