Women In Tech Initiatives Take Spotlight At SXSW

In recent years, the days before, during and after SXSW have become a playground for announcing new products, from Foursquare in 2009 to Flavors.me in 2010 and TOMS sunglasses in 2011. This year, the spotlight was trained on initiatives and programs designed to help more women build careers in technical and management positions.

Last week, UP Global, a joint partnership formed in 2013 by Startup Weekend and the Startup America Partnership, announced the creation of Startup Women. The initiative hosts Startup Weekends and spotlights the stories of female entrepreneurs through various media channels, with the goal of helping to create 1,500 women-led businesses by the end of this year. Startup Women is backed by the philanthropic arm of Blackstone and Google for Entrepreneurs’ #40Forward campaign.

As a separate initiative, Howard Tullman announced Tuesday on the SXSW trade show floor the creation of an incubator space that will be dedicated to cultivating female entrepreneurs in Chicago. Tullman, chief executive officer of 1871 (the Windy City’s most well known tech startup center), said the joint venture is on track to open in the fall and will be financially supported by Google, Motorola Mobility and the Lefkofsky Family Foundation, which is managed by Liz Lefkofsky, the wife of Groupon CEO Eric Lefkofsky.

Known as “1871 FEMtech,” the co-working space will offer resources like programming, networking and training events tailored specifically for 10 to 15 women-owned tech startups. The goal is to help foster opportunity for a traditionally underrepresented demographic of entrepreneurs. The startups will also get access to capital through 1871’s strong connections to top venture capitalists.

Rackspace is a huge supporter of initiatives that encourage and celebrate women in technology and STEM careers and help them succeed. We’ve already highlighted our work with Lean In, and we remain committed to building strong communities through our Employee Resource Group called POWER: Professional Organization of Women Empowered at Rackspace.

That’s also why we recently unveiled our newest training program called Linux for Ladies, which is designed to encourage women to participate in technical certification courses. And on Tuesday evening, we co-hosted a hugely successful Women In Tech networking mixer with the OpenStack Foundation, Double Line Partners and Solarwinds. Nearly 300 women and allies joined us at The Bat Bar on 6th Sreet. for conversations on professional development, open communities and the latest tools in tech—and the discussion isn’t quite over just yet.

We’re going to continue to make noise about tapping into the talent of strong, smart women, whether they are entrepreneurs or engineers. It’s a boundary we’re constantly pushing in the evolving tech world, and if building a better and more diverse workplace is something you’re passionate about, then we want you to join our team. We’re looking to fill several positions at the Rack, from Python developers to systems engineers and product managers.

Join us in our mission to empower motivated women and help them succeed.

Leezia Dhalla was the Speakers Bureau Program Manager at Rackspace until 2015, where she was responsible for coordinating external speaking engagements and developing corporate messaging for senior leadership, software developers and key subject matter experts. graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here