Mitzi Bandera

Oct 8, 2019

6 min read

A Latinas Guide to the Grace Hopper Celebration (First-Timer)

Techqueria Networking Mixer at GHC. Huge thanks to Yanessa Lasley for organizing. (Amor Em Pedacos Bakery).

Where do I begin?

I must have asked myself this question hundreds of times as I speed-walked my way down long halls at the 2019 Grace Hopper Celebration. This year I was lucky to attend GHC as a first-timer and I’m here to share my takeaways so that you (amazing brilliant person you are) can also enjoy GHC — the biggest womxn in tech conference in the world.

First things first, what the heck happens at GHC?

I scoured the internet for a loong, long time searching for an answer but all I found were bits and pieces explaining interview prep, takeaways, schedule overviews, but…where is my mental map? Here:

Thriving at GHC as a first-timer really comes down to learning how to balance your time between attending sessions, interviewing or speaking with recruiters in the Expo Hall, making it out to the after-hours networking events, and checking in with yourself (physically, spiritually) at the end of every day.

That balance can look A LOT of different ways on any given day, but making sure to come in with a schedule that you’re 60% committed to, will help a lot. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of time once you’re at the conference to decide what’s most important to you. The three biggest portions of the conference are:

I absolutely loved meeting and learning from other Latinxs in Tech!

At the end of every day, make sure you are taking the time to check in with yourself and ask:

Insider Tips

Is GHC right for me?

Absolutely. It is meant for those who have a desire to learn and uplift other womxn. But participating in this experience can be tough.

GHC can be prettty pricey. From conference tickets to a weeks worth of traveling costs, it can add up. I spent close to $600 on purchasing business casual outfits, food, traveling, etc. Scholarships help a lot and there is great opportunities hosted through AnitaB.Org, Google or perhaps your local company/organization. Carrie Mah has a list compiled here (and a plethora of other tips, thank you!).

I absolutely loved my time in Orlando, and I hope that you do too! I’m beyond grateful that AnitaB.org gave me the opportunity to be a part of their amazing conference and learn so, so much.

As a womxn of color, GHC can simultaneously be a wildly beautiful experience with a few tough moments. I can guarantee you that most womxn of color at GHC probably thought, for at least a split second —This isn’t for me. I wish I wasn’t here. For those moments, come back to this guide, call a friend back home and remind yourself that your journey is unique and valuable. Oh and also, do try a sanguich cubano.

Take away anything else that brings value to your life and career.

The Everglades ended up being close by, so I said — why not? (Everglades National Park).