A very powerful female once mused, “There is a special place in hell for women who don't help each other.” Fortunately, the opposite was the case last night at the Girls in Tech “New World of PR” event held in downtown L.A. after a miscommunication lead to the event being moved from its original location at a bar next door to the adjacent Weeneez Bistro and Art Gallery. With its pink logo and booths it was a surprisingly fortuitous accident.
Founded by Robyn Cohen in December 2008, the LA chapter of Girls In Tech aims to be a platform for women and the men who love them who want to learn more about the effects of technology on their business and lives. Cohen, who is as ardently as Web 2.0 feminist as one can get, affirms the mission statement of the original San Francisco group founded by Adriana Gascoigne, explaining that “Girls in Tech Los Angeles really debunks theory of pettiness and cattiness, because the women that come to these events are ready to absorb, learn, and take it in.”
This week's event featured Rubicon Project's Director of Communications Nicole Jordan, Murphy O'Brien PR's Christine Kirk, Pelago's Director of Marketing and Communication Heather Meeker and Rogers and Cowan Vice President of eMedia Jennifer Fader. Moderator Brian Solis of FutureWorks PR flew in from San Francisco to take part in the event, which drew over 40 women and a good showing of men from almost every industry. The event's popularity can be attributed to the heightening in recent months of the social media movement – which reached a milestone today when Oprah Winfrey became the world's most popular “Girl in Tech” by posting her first “tweet” on Twitter.
With so much tumult going on in media (see everything else we've written) the talk before the networking portion (which was eventually moved back to the original location) was an attempt at re-evaluating the notion of PR in a time where everything seems in flux and when “mommy bloggers” have the same or if not more power than hard-boiled journalists. The discussion reflected Cohen's attempt to “educate and engage women,” and her effort avoid putting on “random mixers” and actually focus on creating a convergence of “different things going on in different industries that are linked to tech or going to be affected by tech.”
While panelist Nicole Jordan underscored the fact that tech and social media are otherwise known as “The Internet,” much of the discussion exemplified the”social media is not a crime” mentality. Panelist Jennifer Fader put it best when she made the point that business is about money. Although social media is “sexy and enchanting,” the real question according to Fader is “how is this going to propel my business forward?” Weeneez owner Julie Rico, who became a de-facto Girl In Tech after being impressed by the panel, was enthusiastic about the female perspective on “modern ideas of what business should be, i.e community, and micro-economics.” The panel inculcated Rico who ended the night triumphant that “somebody little like me can possibly create a successful business with the help of the Internet, and we didn't have that help before.” We'll see you and Weeneez on Twitter, Julie – and of course, at the next Girls in Tech!