Behind the scenes of the amazing workshops at #wetechtogether conference - powered by Merkle and WDS
Have you ever wondered how a workshop is planned and the speakers feel before and during an event?
Take a look behind the scenes of the career-changing workshops at the #wetechtogether conference, which took place at the end of September 2022. Our speakers Tamara and Clio explain their thoughts and emotions and how the workshops came to life.
But before they tell their stories, let us introduce these two exceptional women to you:
Tamara Ambrosini, WDS Chapter Lead Zurich and Salesforce Solutions & Marketing Partnership Director at Merkle
Tamara is an innovative and driven professional with an extensive background in Digital Transformation and Marketing in various industries, as well as responsible for new marketing partnerships, strategies, and campaigns.
Additionally, she acts as a Change Facilitator by identifying cultural, process and tool related challenges within CRM and Marketing Automation.
Clio Rossier, Salesforce Consultant at Merkle
Clio is a Salesforce Consultant at Merkle DACH since January 2022 working on various projects, with a focus on Sustainability, Diversity and Inclusion as much as possible. Those values are deeply close to her heart.
She is also one of the Salesforce Diversity and Inclusion co-hub-leader. After a few positions as contractor Clio got the chance to work at Salesforce as Office Manager, managing the 2 Swiss offices for almost 4 years.
When the pandemic started, she took it as an opportunity to finally transition into something she really loves. She reskilled intensively in digital transformation and joined the Salesforce Bring Women Back to Work program in 2021 and got hired by Merkle few weeks after. She is neurodivergent and proud to be.
Tamara: Priska, the creator of the amazing #wetechtogether conference, and I first met a few years ago when she tried to find partners for Women in Tech at my former employer. Priska's way of talking about this important topic, living it and wanting to push it, totally convinced and inspired me. I’m glad that Merkle (my current employer) is now a part of this important event. The conference brings together female tech communities to empower, engage and celebrate women in tech.
Clio and I met at a video shoot. The video was about us briefly introducing ourselves and then talking about important work topics and fields. The format was developed by Merkle and is called "Ranger on a Stand". Since the video was recorded in a professional studio, I had the opportunity to follow the people being interviewed on the screen. With Clio, my heart immediately beat faster. I was totally inspired by her passion for diversity, equity, inclusion and women in tech. I knew Clio was perfect to give a workshop at the #wetechtogether conference.
Clio: “Hey Clio, would you like to create a workshop for an event at the end of September?
It's about a magic formula, women empowerment and the Salesforce ecosystem.”
Those weren't Tamara's exact words but it was pretty close. In my head my emotions started to go crazy between total excitement for the topic I hold so close to my heart and fear of not being able to deliver something meaningful and to speak in front of an audience. I knew immediately that I wanted to do it. I want to spread the word and encourage people to rethink their point of view. I chose this career path and this well-appreciated hand of Tamara is here to accelerate my career with a jumpstart.
Of course I said yes and spent the rest of the day overthinking. I had not one but a few sleepless nights, because this workshop meant that I’d be getting out of my comfort zone big time!
Tamara: I didn't have to convince Merkle that the issue of women in tech is extremely important. Because Merkle leads by example. Equity and diversity in the workplace are incredibly important to us, as we believe an inclusive workplace creates a happier workforce; and that promotes the openness and creativity we need to create truly great work.
Clio: So here I was, joining the #wetechtogether adventure, using the “power of yes” like Dr. Laura Meck would explain to us later on the main keynote of the conference.
“If someone offers you an opportunity, have an open mindset and say yes more often as this means they have faith in you. lso fake it till you make it.”
Please hold in mind that you need to say no enough to be ready to say yes more and better, but that's another story and can easily be worth another blog post. Clio: Few days after this we met with Priska, who explained to us what she had in mind for the event. Tamara as a reskilling champion was planned to speak on the MainStage about her experience and her impressive career at Merkle, who is the main sponsor of the conference along with the Migros Group.
“Do nothing boring” Priska recommended when I asked her for advice on previous years experience, “it must be fun!“. I replied ”Oh for sure, I don't like boring stuff myself.” So we planned to play a game for our workshop called "projection game".
With two workshops planned, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, I quickly decided to break the subject into two different workshops, one about leadership and the other about Salesforce, its ecosystem and jobs in consultancy and the used methods I learned in my “future thinking” courses given by the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, California, USA and more precisely by the incredible Jane McGonigal who's specialisation is game design. As #wetechtogether is all about enabling people to network and collaborate together, we’ve been teamed up with the incredible women of Women in Digital Switzerland. They gave us precious feedback and inputs on how to create a successful workshop, as well as present with us during the day of the event. Tamara: Through the collaboration with the community Women in Digital Switzerland, we were able to meet great women with enormous know-how. This drew my attention to the position of "Chapter Leader Zurich" - a voluntary commitment to bring the community in Zurich closer together and to promote exchange, which I happily took on.
Clio: The event started on Friday night with the hidden figure awards to welcome all attendees and set the tone for the following days. It was so special to see that most of the audience was female. And when we say most, we mean 97% of the attendees were women. It felt good. And the men, who were attending, experienced what it is like when you belong to the 3% that don’t look like everyone else.
When you’re the only woman in a room full of men, it can feel very intimidating. In tech jobs, women are still a minority in a lot of companies and institutions. And because every woman knows this feeling very well, at the #wetechtogether conference inclusion is very important and therefore everyone is welcomed - no matter the sex or look.
Tamara: When Priska asked me if I would like to give an interview about my career and my step into the tech world and how I ended up as a reskilling champion at Merkle, I felt extremely honoured. Showing other women what career opportunities there are in the tech world and how to approach them excites me. So, I got to be on stage with Yanira Gonzalez (Migros) as a role model and tell our story. That was quite amazing – especially all the feedback after the interview.
Clio: I was freaking out on the day of the event. I practised my presentation, I knew what I wanted to say, but it’s one thing to do it behind your screen, at home in a safe environment, it’s another to do it “live on stage”. You don’t know the place, you don’t know the people in front of you, but you can sense the audience: Are they interested, committed? Are they bored?
If you have seen the movie “Inside Out” from Disney, it was exactly the situation in my head: I had all my emotions running around like crazy. But you know you have to do it, because you’re committed. Because you want people to learn from your truth and your experience. You want to inspire them to grow further and create a better future where everyone feels welcome as they are. So you do it. You shut down this little stupid voice inside your head asking you “Are you sure, you’re good enough?” and you just speak.
I overcome this fear by using jokes. If an audience is having a laugh, it’s a good start, it allows me to breath and it’s an immediate icebreaker. I needed that. And it helped tremendously that I was surrounded by these amazing women Tamara, Adi and Rachael.
We delivered two incredible workshops from which people felt inspired and more confident in their future careers. I’d say: job done. :)
The workshops at the #wetechtogether conference were only possible because of the great support of our precious partner Merkle. For that we are very thankful. If you would like to join our community, or become a partner, we would love to have you.
About the #wetechtogether conference
With this conference the organisers are taking on two problems: They are aiming for the tech industry to become a more diverse place, when at the same time they’re trying to close the gap of talents by inspiring competent professionals to take on a new challenge in tech. The conference takes place at the end of September. But check out their website, they have great content about female careers in tech and find out more about the #wetechtogether conference for next year (September 30-31, 2023).
About the hidden figures award
The Hidden Figure Award aims to make sure meaningful but less obvious contributions to STEM are never overlooked in the way the black women were who played a key role in the moon landing at NASA. We and our partner Merkle believe that these Hidden Figures need to be awarded for their efforts, work, achievements and most of all for their contribution as women in STEM. Therefore Merkle presented the award category “Startup / Innovation” and Roberto Galdo, DACH Salesforce Service Line Leader of Merkle, was able to personally present the award to the winner this year, Sanjana Rao, Co-founder of Miyara.