The final day of the Grace Hopper Celebration India (GHCI), held in Bangalore, offered attendees a wide variety of sessions touching on topics ranging from early career advice, entrepreneurship, management and leadership skills, soft skills and how to get back to work in the booming Indian technology industry.
GHCI’s 2,000+ attendees could choose between panels discussing using LinkedIn to build your professional brand, mastering the art of the startup pitch, tackling the ever-present imposter syndrome and exploring the dichotomy that exists for female leaders.
The day concluded with the 2015 Women Entrepreneur Quest, a business plan contest designed to encourage, showcase and recognize tech startups founded and managed by female entrepreneurs.
Here are some of the highlights of day three of GHCI 2015.
Navigating Your Career as a Senior Leader
Two of the most popular and engaging sessions of the day were tailored to senior leaders in technical organizations.
“What It’s Like to be a CEO” was an interactive workshop that pitted attendees against common business challenges like succession planning and brand building. The session featured business simulation exercises based on a fictional retail company, allowing participants to explore different business scenarios and understand the impacts their decisions have on the company’s key performance indicators.
Another highlight from the leadership track was a workshop entitled “What’s More, What’s Next? Deciphering the Dichotomy of Women in Leadership.” This session, led by Mumbai-based executive coach Veechi Shahi, explored themes of gender identity in the workplace and the different challenges women leaders face at senior levels.
Mentorship and Guidance For Women Entrepreneurs
For the entrepreneurial crowd at GHCI, the final day offered a valuable speed mentorship opportunity, in which participants could pick the brains of successful startup veterans from companies like LetsVenture, Eros India and New Product about how to fund technical ventures, evaluating customers, engineering products and go-to market strategies.
Finally, GHCI culminated with the Women Entrepreneur Quest (WEQ), which included presentations from the finalists and an awards presentation.
This year’s WEQ featured six startups – chosen from a batch of 140 entries – that have developed innovative solutions for the education and healthcare sectors, clean water delivery and accelerating India’s budding online retail market.
The winner, Vidhya Sundaram, head of engineering for Shotang, a cloud-based marketplace for retailers, distributors and manufacturers to manage their businesses online, was awarded 5 lakh rupees.
All of the finalists receive an all-expenses paid experiential learning trip to Silicon Valley in spring 2016.
GHCI 2015: More Vibrant Than Ever
As the day concluded, Anita Borg Institute staff and advisory committee members reflected on the success of GHCI 2015.
“I’ve seen this conference grow pretty dramatically over the last five years,” said Charu Srinivasan, an ABI advisory committee member and group engineering manager at Microsoft. “This years feels different because the conference was especially vibrant with a lot of energy.”
Chitra Gurjar, another advisory committee member and an independent engineering consultant, echoed this sentiment.
“There was no room that wasn’t almost totally full. I was really impressed by the level of questions the audience was asking and the quality of the content for each session,” she said.