Field Notes: Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

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This was the most exhausting, most exhilarating and exciting conference I’ve ever attended. And I continue to be amazed, even weeks after the event, that it was held just a few hours’ drive from my home.

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Automatticians, the people who build WordPress.com, participate in events and projects around the world every day. Periodically, we report back on the exciting things we do when not in front of a computer.

I’d like to share some experiences from the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, where I was joined by my colleagues Marjorie Asturias, Deborah Beckett, Mo Carter, Rebecca Collins, Kelly Dwan, and Megan Marcel.

Picture an airplane hangar-sized space full of women bobbing to rhythmic pop music, neon glowing necklaces dotting the crowd. This was the closing party for the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC), a massive conference devoted to women studying or working in technology, and named in honor of the legendary computer scientist and United States Navy Rear Admiral.

It was an intense few October days in Houston, Texas, where the 16th edition of GHC drew 15,000 international participants, from…

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Valle dei Templi: Agrigento, Sicily

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Part of working at Automattic is being able to travel on occasion to connect with your team. Since we’re distributed the rest of the year and thus work from wherever we happen to be (in my case, that would mostly be my home office), it’s a bonus perk when I can not only travel to some exotic place of our choosing, but also to hang out with some of the smartest, funniest people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with!

And this was our most recent (and my first!) team meetup, this time in Sicily, Italy. Ah, corporate life.

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During my recent trip to Italy, one of the excursions I was lucky enough to do was a day trip from home base in Palermo on the northern coast of Sicily to Agrigento, which is on the southern coast.

Simply put, it was stunning.

The views from the top of the hill were amazing…Greek temples set against a rolling hillside leading to patches of farms and then on to the azure bands of the Mediterranean Sea.

We were so mesmerized by the view and the temples that we just kept snap-snap-snapping pictures, all while the sky darkened and the wind picked up. Finally, it occurred to us that perhaps we should head down off the hill and seek shelter, but it was a bit too late. Long story short, we ran down the hill in a downpour and all got soaked, but it sure was fun!

(photo credit for the…

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