Over the course of my career, I’ve been to many conferences, interacted with thousands of candidates, and attended countless keynotes, roundtables, and sessions. I can say without a doubt, that the Grace Hopper Celebration, stood out from the rest. And I think my team would agree.
During the three day event, we screened more than 50 candidates, conducted 24 onsite interviews, and had more than 600 people visit our booth. Not bad for a booth near the back competing with an AirBnB booth that had a literal house on top of it.
Before the conference, we were expecting about 200 visitors to our booth, so the turnout clearly exceeded our expectations. More importantly, we couldn’t have predicted the breadth of talent we would interact with at the conference. That’s not to say that I was surprised; Grace Hopper attracts women from all over the world, including students, seasoned professionals, hackers, engineers, and business leaders. This year was the biggest yet, with more than 12,000 attendees from across all tech sectors, backgrounds, and interests. So I certainly wasn’t surprised to meet all of these women, but I was definitely inspired.
My team of thirteen came in with high expectations, but even we couldn’t have been prepared for the scale and reach of Grace Hopper. Here’s what we learned:
Be ready to learn about anything and everything
There were a million talks. I’m not kidding. Everything from AI and machine learning to social engineering was covered and talks were presented by speakers across all levels and from all backgrounds. One of our own, Dani Grant, a product manager at Cloudflare, even gave a talk around IoT security. It sounds cliché, but I was truly blown away by the spectrum of talks that were featured at the event. For anyone attending next year, try to fit in as many as possible.
An ecosystem of greatness
Apart from the talks, it was amazing to see so many talented, smart women in tech all in one place. A lot has been said about the lack of women in tech, so to attend a conference that was so decidedly female was inspiring. Women came from all over the world to attend Grace Hopper, and to have everyone in the same room eager to learn and talk and share, was a sight to behold. Someone from my team remarked that being at the event made tackling the problem of female representation in the workforce seem so much more achievable.
Candidates ran the gamut
I knew that we’d talk with great candidates at Grace Hopper, but I wasn’t expecting to talk to candidates for every role. Not only were candidates interested in different roles, but they were also coming from a breadth of universities and backgrounds. More importantly, their interests were varied and the level of curiosity was palpable. As the Head of People at Cloudflare, it was encouraging for me to see some of best talent in the world excited to learn about our company and become interested in tackling the hardest challenges of the Internet.
At Cloudflare, we’re focused on helping to build a better Internet, and we won’t be able to do that without the best and the brightest on our team. After hearing all the talks, speaking with awesome candidates, and experiencing the sheer scale and caliber of attendees, I’m confident that we’re heading in the right direction.
If you or anyone you know is interested in a role at Cloudflare, please check out our careers page.