SOURCE: Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology

Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology

November 11, 2011 09:00 ET

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Opens With Keynote Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook and Record-Breaking Attendance

Largest Gathering of Technical Women in the World Continues to Showcase Innovation and Outstanding Achievements of Top Computing Talent in Industry, Government and Academia

PORTLAND, OR--(Marketwire - Nov 11, 2011) - The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology today announced a record-breaking turnout of 2,908 attendees representing 34 countries at the first day of the 11th Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. The world's largest gathering of women in computing in industry, academia, and government, the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) is a four-day technical conference designed to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront. Themed "What If...?" GHC is taking place this week in Portland, Oregon, November 9-12 at the Oregon Convention Center.

Highlights of the conference's first day included a keynote speech by Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, who spoke about the need for more women in technology and in higher level senior positions. She offered five suggestions for women interested in advancing their careers, saying they should:

1. believe in themselves, see their successes clearly and don't underestimate their achievements -- no one ever achieved what they did not set out to do
2. dream big, be ambitious -- success is positively correlated with men, while the opposite is true with women; but with more women in power, this will change
3. choose a supportive partner -- this is the single most important decision a woman can make for her career, because women typically assume the additional responsibilities of raising a family
4. avoid making career decisions too early -- trying to plan life too carefully can close doors rather than keep them open
5. start talking -- it's important to acknowledge the challenges women face and communicate them openly, or change will never happen

And in keeping with the "What If...?" theme of the conference, some of the day's session topics addressed such questions as:

  • What If Every Public School Student Learned Computer Science?
  • What If Android Based Devices in Ethiopia Could Help Prevent Blindness?
  • Engineering at the Interface of Biology -- Beth Pruitt, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University
  • What If there Were More Women in Technology? The Business Case for Diversity
  • Expressive Electronics for Computer Scientists: An Introduction to E-Textiles, presented by Natalie Freed, Emily Lovell, and Jie Qi (MIT Media Lab)

"The fact that the Grace Hopper Celebration has increased in size by 35 percent this year -- and continues to grow year over year -- is a testament to the continuous innovation that takes place within our conference," said Deanna Kosaraju, ABI's vice president of strategic initiatives. "More than 148 committee members from industry and academia work to build an entirely new program each year featuring the latest technological innovations combined with content to support women in their technical careers. From the highly successful Career Fair, to the Codeathon for Humanity, attendees come to the conference knowing they will deepen existing relationships, make new connections, learn from conference programs, and come away with fresh insights and a renewed confidence that inspires them to reach higher personal and professional goals. This is the ultimate reward for us, as producers of the conference."

The Grace Hopper Celebration features 132 panels, workshops, technical papers, Ph.D. forum, new investigators, technical posters, a track on large scale computing, and "birds of a feather" sessions across ten tracks. For more information visit

Upcoming Highlights
November 11:
The conference will feature the Honorable Shirley Ann Jackson, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Jackson is a theoretical physicist and was chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 1995 to1999. She currently serves on the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, appointed by President Obama in 2009. Her keynote will address the importance of developing a global perspective to meet the challenges and opportunities today because, increasingly, people of different cultures are thrust together which can create difficulties in achieving true understanding and consideration.

November 12: Codeathon for Humanity will feature a collaboration of technologists writing code for open source software projects that support humanitarian initiatives and goals such as Google Crisis Response Team, Kids on Computers, Humanitarian Open Street Map, and Sahana Software Foundation for disaster preparedness.

Follow the Grace Hopper Celebration on Twitter at @ghc.
Follow the Anita Borg Institute on Twitter at @anitaborg_org.

About the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI)
The Anita Borg Institute provides resources and programs to help industry, academia, and government recruit, retain, and develop women leaders in high-tech fields, resulting in higher levels of technological innovation. Our programs serve high-tech women by creating a community and providing tools to help them develop their careers. ABI is a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 charitable organization. ABI Partners include: Google, HP, Microsoft, CA Technologies, Cisco, Facebook, First Republic Bank, IBM, Intel, Intuit, Lockheed Martin, Marvell, National Science Foundation, National Security Agency, NetApp, SAP, Symantec, Thomson Reuters, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Amazon, Broadcom, Motorola Foundation, Raytheon, Salesforce, and Yahoo! For more information, visit

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