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“Birds of a Feather” brings together Silicon Valley women for Network Development

CiscoWomen of Cisco, Citrix, EMC, Intel come together on Thursday  17 January 2013 at Cisco Systems in San Jose, California, for the first of three “unconferences” to build professional relationships across technology companies. Citrix

EMCEach firm has an Employee Resource Group (ERG) focusing on career development and advancement for women in technical and non-technical roles, and each recognizes the value of building cross-organizational business networks and relationships.IntelWomen of Cisco-Citrix-EMC-Intel

Women of Intel (WIN) has been a leader by hosting annual events that bring together women from other local technology firms, and occasional efforts have brought together women from Google, Applied Materials, EMC, Intel, Yahoo, Cisco, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Citrix, Symantec, Adobe, and other Silicon Valley technology companies.

Marylene Delbourg-Delphis

Marylene Delbourg-Delphis

In 2012, EMC and Cisco collaborated on an event designed to encourage longer-term relationships through small-group discussions of a talk by the versatile Marylene Delbourg-Delphis, serial tech entrepreneur, philosophy professor and fashion journalist.

Anna Van Rijswijk

Anna Van Rijswijk

Anna Van Rijswijk of Cisco, member of the EMC-Cisco planning team, expanded this concept to a multi-session series  and incorporated  a “Birds of a Feather” format, developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to denote initial meetings of members interested in a particular issue.

Olivia Shen Green

Olivia Shen Green

This  “Birds of a Feather” structure was  successfully launched in Cisco’s 2012 one-day event, Women in Technology Forum, attended by more than 1200 Cisco employees worldwide, and led by Cisco’s Olivia Shen Green, who shared principles for conducting an “unconference.”  Women In Techology Forum

The goal of the multi-company, multi-session “Birds of a Feather” networking event is to increase insight and resource-sharing on topics crucial to professional women’s career advancement in technology firms, while establishing and developing stronger cross-company resource networks.

Unconference GuidelinesDiscussion topics, facilitated by members of multiple sponsor companies, include:

  • Developing “personal brand”
  • Practicing superior communication skills,  “Executive Presence”
  • Striving toward Work – Life Balance
  • Establishing Peer Mentoring and “Greenlight Groups”
  • Developing technical skills
  • Best practices in design, innovation, and creative processes

Upcoming sessions in the spring of 2013 will hosted onsite at Citrix, EMC, and Intel, and will continue these themes.

-*How do you expand your professional network across companies in your industry and across professional roles?

Twitter:   @kathrynwelds
Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary 
LinkedIn Open Group Women in Technology (sponsored by EMC)
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©Kathryn Welds