Sparking discovery at Dare 2B Digital

We thank guest contributor Anita Rao for sharing her experience at this year’s event and express our deepest thanks to Symantec for their support as a corporate partner.

This was my 4th Dare 2B Digital conference. Every year, I am amazed at the improvements made and the impact the conference has on the lives of young women. This year the conference was sold out. Ruth Stergiou (D2BD Co-Founder and CEO of Invent Your Future Foundation) has done an amazing job all these years. The energy level in the lobby during registration was infectious. There was so much excitement and enthusiasm. The volunteers did an excellent job in guiding and helping the participants.

Jesse Draper’s enthusiasm was contagious. She skillfully moderated the opening panel discussion. Bettina Chen and Alice Brooks, the young co-founders of Maykah, Inc. connected with the young audience.

I ran a workshop for the parents on “Keeping Kids Safe Online”. Parents in the audience can never get enough on this topic and had quite a few questions. Krista Kobeski from Facebook gave tips to parents on Facebook’s safety philosophies. Her screen shots to demonstrate privacy settings were helpful.

I had lunch with some young women at the Pixar animation workshop. A Technical Director from Pixar joined us. A young woman wanted to pursue a career in making animation movies. The Director advised her about the Universities that offer programs in the field. She also told her about a software program to use making movies at home or for school projects. Pixar also has an internship program for candidates 18 years and older which was of interest. In all, the young woman came away wanting to work for Pixar in the future. What a powerful impact to make a difference in someone’s life!

After lunch, I attended the sessions on “Tackling College Costs” by Beatrice Schultz and “Finding the College STEM Program” by Katherine Henderson. Both were beneficial for parents whose kids will start the college selection process in a few years. They highlighted best practices for college selection and the preparation required in grades 11 and 12. Katherine provided information on the best summer programs and schools that encourage and mentor women in engineering programs.

Michael Fischer, Director for Regional Occupational Programs, Placer County, presented an encouraging story of a successful young woman. He highlighted her journey with her education, internship and her job at Intel. It showed the importance and power of mentoring and working hard at your passion.

I look forward to the conference next year. Symantec has been a proud Corporate Partner for four years. We support this great cause that encourages careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) among our young women. This country needs them as there is a shortage of technical resources in the workforce.

About the author: Anita Rao has over 20 years’ experience in various Business, Technology and Operations leadership roles across Hi-Tech, Financial Services, Venture Capital and Payment Cards industries. She is currently the Business Partner Director at Symantec where she is responsible for technology strategy and planning.