GirlCon Chicago 2019
THE Conference For Chicagoland High School Girls June 15, 2019
What do you get when you combine passionate young women with accomplished industry leaders in the STEM fields?
None other than GirlCon Chicago 2019!!
What Is GirlCon Chicago?
GirlCon is a one-day conference held in Chicago, Illinois designed to inspire and empower the next generation of female leaders interested in STEM. Molly Graton and Kyla Guru founded GirlCon. Graton lives in Libertyville, Illinois and will major in computer science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne inthe fall of 2019.
Guru is a rising senior at Deerfield High School in Deerfield, Illinois. Both girls share a passion for STEM and created the conference with a goal of empowering the next generation of females in these fields and connecting them with powerful people in the industry.
This year’s GirlCon was held at the Google Chicago office, which is an incredible location. From the bright, collaborative workspaces to interactive whiteboards and Teabot (tea-dispensing robot!), it was an ideal facility for the progressive conference.
While Graton and Gyru are the co-directors, the conference was organized exclusively by 25 high school girls, many who are from the Chicagoland area. Last year, I was lucky enough to attend the first ever GirlCon. I was completely blown away by the professionalism and all the opportunities that were available. That’s when I decided to apply to be a GirlCon Chicago team member. Upon acceptance, I was ecstatic to be one of the 25 girls to organize and promote GirlCon 2019. My favorite part of being on the team was meeting so many amazing other girls. Everyone worked so hard and seeing the whole conference come together was very exciting! Especially because I was able to share it with such great people.
What Happened During GirlCon Chicago 2019?
Not a second is wasted at GirlCon! The day began with a delicious breakfast and swag bag. Then the morning kicked off with an opening ceremony, followed by the first keynote speaker. The girls headed to their first breakout session, which they selected in advance when signing up. Lunch is next, with food and beverages provided by Google and tailored to meet many dietary restrictions. Professionals from companies like Google and Baxter wandered from table to table, sharing their stories and engaging in conversations based around provided conversation-starting questions at the tables. Everyone expanded their horizons and learning- even while eating! After lunch there was the second keynote speaker and breakout session. The afternoon came to a close with a design thinking workshop, final keynote speaker, and a closing ceremony.
In addition to the main events, GirlCon provided lots of opportunities for attendees to make their mark. Many of the sponsors had tables set up in a space where attendees could ask questions, learn, and introduce themselves. There were large whiteboards where girls could add their own answers to the question, “Why do you #RaiseYourHand?” one that GirlCon has been promoting. Lots of people were spotted staying past their breakout session times to continue chatting with professionals, who were happy to answer questions and give advice.
How Do You Sign Up For GirlCon Chicago 2020?
If you want to attend next year’s conference, I would advise you to follow GirlCon Chicago on Instagram (@girlconchicago), Twitter (@girlconchicago), and/or Facebook (GirlCon Chicago). The best way to find out when registration opens and get new information is through social media.
How Can You Get Involved?
For those wanting to take it a step further, I would suggest applying to be a part of the GirlCon Chicago team! Applications open around the end of the year. The different team levels allow for anyone to take part in the event planning. There are teams for girls from Chicago who want to attend meetings and play a big role. There are teams for girls who need a lower level of commitment because of time or travel constraints.
Many thanks to our lead sponsor, Google, for providing its Chicago office, drinks, and delicious food.
GirlCon Chicago website address https:www./girlconchicago.com.
Social Media: Instagram @girlconchicago; Twitter@girlconchicago; and Facebook GirlCon Chicago
Contributing Writer: Hadley Shalowitz
Girls’ C.E.O. Connection™ Social Media Coordinator and Young Woman Ambassador