Two weeks ago, the New York Times featured Salt Lake City in an article. Have a guess at what the article highlighted.
Not the mountains.
Not the skiing.
Not the salty lake.
It was all about Salt Lake’s technology industry.
The Wasatch Front is now known as the Silicon Slopes, as it is one of the top regions in the nation for “Unicorns”, or fast-growth tech startups. “The region has given rise to at least five companies valued at more than $1 billion.”
It’s a great ecosystem to be involved in, whether you’re with a tech company, in government, seeking out venture capitalists, or an entrepreneur. There’s a culture of collaboration within the community. And “the emphasis on family permeates many start-ups in the area.” One of the aspects of the culture that is most excited will be highlighted by an awards ceremony on October 27th: the tenth annual Women Tech Council Awards.
The Women Tech Council (WTC) is a Utah original that has grown alongside the Unicorns. Founded ten years ago, it includes women and men that focus on supporting and building the economics of women in tech. As WTC founder, Cydni Tetro explained it, their focus “goes from high school to the boardroom,” in four areas: visibility, opportunity, networking, and mentoring.
The Tech Awards fall under Visibility. Through them, they have given visibility and recognition to 177 women over the last decade as well as 26 university students. This year, Tetro excitedly shared, they’re planning for their biggest attendance ever: filling the venue to capacity with close to 1300 registered! One really exciting slice of that number is the sponsored students attending. Companies that pay to sponsor a table may also give high school and university students. Those students will have attend the ceremony and luncheon and meet successful female role models that have made substantial impacts in the tech ecosystem, helping to shape and build those Unicorns. The students often come away from the event with the desire to pursue education and careers in STEM fields. Through this year’s 100 high school and 40 university students, the WTC is reaching out and achieving its goal to inspire the next generation.
Each of the past ten years, 70-80 peer-nominated names have been submitted for the awards. There are no specific rules about nominating only new names, but every year, WTC has received almost all unique and new submissions. That speaks to the incredible depth of talent and inspiration in the Utah tech industry. This year’s 17 finalists individually sat down with a judging panel for interviews to narrow the list down to chosen winners in areas such as innovation, trailblazing, CX, leadership and talent.
Not only will the Awards provide visibility for impactful women, but it brings together the incredible community within the Silicon Slopes, a community that’s excited to celebrate and recognize the chosen winners. Among that community, men, women and companies from government, universities, venture capitalist firms, and tech companies will all be represented.
For their tenth annual Awards, they will also have special recognition for all 177 past finalists. And, the event will include an incredible keynote speaker, Oracle CEO, Safra Catz, one of the “World’s 25 Most Powerful Women” according to Forbes’s 2016 list. Senator Orrin Hatch’s office helped extend the invitation, which highlights the collaboration that WTC has created with many in Utah, from government to tech firms. In fact, a number of the Unicorns are among the 2017 Award Presenting Sponsors such as DOMO and Pluralsight. Also among the sponsors is the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
Technology impacts every industry and each of our lives on the daily. It’s exciting to see how big of an impact in the community talented women and Women’s Tech Council have made and it keeps growing and getting bigger. It’s an event not to be missed!
What’s Tetro’s biggest expectations for this year’s awards? To “continue the momentum in the community to raise visibility of women in tech and create inclusive cultures.”
They’re well on their way!