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I got LadyHacked!

And it was the best thing ever.

There’s forever a hackathon going on in the Philly tech scene. They’re all pretty male-dominated. But not LadyHacks. The whole point was to introduce hackathons to the women in tech community (and the female content creators, marketers, designers, etc. who support the community). Eighty percent of the attendees, including me, had never participated in a hackathon before.

I registered because I have learned a ton from Girl Geek Dinners and Girl Develop It events, but as it got closer to the event, I started to lose interest. My recent weekends have been filled, and I just wanted a break. I didn’t know what I could contribute. After Friday night, I even considered not going back on Saturday. Hackathons fly in the face of my introverted nature, and I couldn’t picture myself participating in the entire thing. Plus, I was exhausted.

But I decided I’d let myself sleep in a little bit and not freak out over getting there on time on Saturday morning. I figured I’d stop in and see what was up for the day, then maybe take off in the afternoon.

But then I got sucked in. The energy, the collaboration, the learning, the pieces all fitting together — the day flew by. It was hard for me to even leave the after party at National Mechanics.

She Tech Philly group members Darlene, LeeAnn, and Leslie
Tristin Hightower checking in with our group
Kelsey, Lauren, and Alexandra working on the design & theme

My group worked to create a central hub for all of the women in tech events in the area. The female tech scene is so brilliant and welcoming that there’s almost always something happening. With the She Tech Philly site, interested parties won’t have to visit multiple MeetUp pages to keep track of what’s going on every month. We’re also planning to launch a Mentor Match Up forum/board, post job opportunities, and regularly spotlight a different woman from the community each week/month.

Our header, created by designer Kelsey Leljedal

And then we got to present. And I found myself speaking into a microphone on a stage at a tech event. A shy Mennonite farm girl from Central PA with a liberal arts background. It felt huge.

I showed up. I met people. I worked. I learned. I shared. I found out that I had something to say.