I had no idea when I chose the theme “Practice Curiosity” for this year that we would have so many opportunities to apply it. The pandemic has challenged us all to be creative and dynamic in a variety of ways, and WE20 is no exception.
While I know that face-to-face networking is a highlight of a WE conference for many attendees, I encourage you to embrace this year’s fully virtual format and practice curiosity by being open to the new benefits it will provide. This promises to be the most accessible, and diverse event that SWE has ever offered.
Eliminating the constraints of travel, including time, cost, and difficulties obtaining visas, WE20 welcomes participants from around the globe. WE20 offers flexibility — and not just with the on-demand yoga sessions that will be offered daily. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been headed to a session I was interested in, only to run into one of my favorite SWE people I hadn’t seen in years — and ended up missing the session so we could catch up.
This year, if I’m enjoying myself in a networking lounge, I know I’ll be able to catch that amazing session at a future point that is most convenient for me. With a mix of live, semi-live, and prerecorded sessions that will be available to participants for not just a few days but for months, you have the opportunity to design your conference experience to suit your own schedule.
I’m also excited to honor the 2020 SWE award recipients and to have the opportunity to share the recognition and celebration of their accomplishments far wider than a single evening — and with only those who can fit in a ballroom.
While I know that face-to-face networking is a highlight of a WE conference for many attendees, I encourage you to embrace this year’s fully virtual format and practice curiosity by being open to the new benefits it will provide. This promises to be the most accessible and diverse event that SWE has ever offered.
For the job seekers out there, you’ll still have the opportunity to speak with a wide swath of employers, with the career fair spanning four days over two weeks — and without having to find those mythical comfortable dress shoes! You won’t waste precious prospecting minutes trying to navigate the crowded exhibit hall, and you’ll be able to focus on your interaction without the distraction of adjacent conversations.
So yes, WE20 will be a different experience, but with the same priorities SWE has always offered for participants to aspire, advance, and achieve. As you #PracticeCuriosity at #WE20, be sure to tag @SWEtalk on social media, and I look forward to learning about your experiences!
FY21 SWE President