On February 23rd, 2022, CODE/+/TRUST hosted Charleston Women In Tech for their first happy hour of 2022. Learn more about the organization, what it's doing for the community, and how great the event went!
As we’ve previously mentioned in our blog CODE/+/TRUST Partners with Develop Carolina to Create Real World Opportunities for Aspiring Junior Developers, software and IT is one of the fastest growing industries around the globe, and Charleston is no exception. Charleston Regional Development Alliance reports that our coastal city is the fastest growing mid-sized metropolitan area for IT careers, top 20 for high-tech GDP growth in U.S. metropolitan areas since 2014, currently home to over 700 tech companies, and has consistently placed at the top of “World’s Best Cities” lists. With an constantly expanding ecosystem and a pool of skilled professionals, it’s easy to see why.
The reasons why Charleston is such an attractive city to companies and professionals alike are many, but one thing that certainly stands out are all of the amazing support systems and community-focused groups that are concentrated on technology and entrepreneurship in general. Amongst those groups include organizations like the Harbor Entrepreneur Center, EO Charleston, Startup Grind Charleston, and perhaps one of the most needed and fastest growing organizations - Charleston Women in Tech.
Founded in 2014, Charleston Women in Tech started as a small group of women working in technology that wanted to connect and support each other. According to their website, their membership “has grown to over 3,000 leaders, educators, students and tech professionals who seek to achieve greater diversity across all STEM fields in our region by increasing opportunity, participation, and achievement by women in the tech community.” A fully all-volunteer organization, their mission is to connect, support, and prepare women of all ages for careers in technology.
One of the many opportunities Charleston Women in Tech offers is holding quarterly events, where members and supporters can get together, share a beverage, and hear from some amazing speakers. Although COVID-19 hindered their ability to host in-person events for a majority of 2021, they were able to come back at the end of the year, and finished with a bang with their (usually annual) Holiday Mingle. It was an incredible turnout, with a keynote presentation from former Executive Director Nina Magnesson and the introduction of their new Executive Director, Jenny Schutzman, as well as a silent auction and raffle.
With so much positive feedback from its members about how excited they were to see in-person events return, they decided to continue that momentum with a happy hour event in February of this year. CODE/+/TRUST was fortunate enough to host the event.
The happy hour was held at our office space at 665 JD in Mount Pleasant, SC, and the event was a big hit! We were fortunate to have attendees representing several amazing Charleston organizations and companies, including several CODE/+/TRUST team members and folks from the likes of Catch Talent, Omnisend, Roper St. Francis, SC Codes, Event.gives, Go To Team, and Teamphoria, just to name a few!
Suzie Rybicki, event organizer, was thrilled with how well the event turned out.
“Our first CHS Women in Tech Happy Hour of the year was a huge success! We are so grateful for local tech companies, like CODE/+/TRUST, who support our community and host these events that allow our members and advocates to connect and network in a fun, relaxed environment.”
-Suzie Rybicki, M&A Strategic Initiatives at HelpSystems & Programs Committee Chair of Charleston Women In Tech
Along with an amazing turnout of 75+ attendees, the happy hour included not only great drinks and conversation, but some fantastic speakers as well. CODE/+/TRUST CEO Patrick Bryant kicked off the speaker portion of the event by thanking all of the attendees, expressing his excitement and gratitude for being able to host the event, and touched on how important it is to have organizations like Charleston Women in Tech in the community.
"Having volunteer organizations like Charleston Women in Tech doing what they do for the local tech community and women in tech is fantastic! CHSWIT is one of the most invaluable tools you can have when it comes to your professional development, and it is inspiring to see both women and men come together to leverage their time and expertise."
-Patrick Bryant, Co-founder and CEO of CODE/+/TRUST
Once Patrick thanked all of the attendees and cracked a couple of jokes (as Patrick loves to do), he introduced the first guest speaker of the evening, Catch Talent CEO Christina Lock. Christina has been heavily involved and invested in the Charleston tech community for more than a decade, and has been a Board Member for Charleston Women in Tech since 2019. As Christina explains, the attendance and engagement showed just how much energy and growth CHSWIT has experienced.
“It was so refreshing to be surrounded by the CHSWIT community and network for the first time since COVID hit. The turnout filled the whole room, and the energy was great! You could feel that the CHSWIT community has grown so much over the last two years, and everyone was eager to get back to in-person networking events like this one at CODE/+/TRUST. Now more than ever, it’s important for us as women in tech to lean into our community, and CODE/+/TRUST provided a great, centrally located place to do that. Even as our guest speaker, Nancy Mace, was telling us her backstory as a woman in tech, I couldn’t help but think that this is what has been missing the whole time: being out in the community, with our community."
-Christina Lock, CEO of Catch Talent & Governance Committee Chair of Charleston Women In Tech
Christina then introduced a surprise guest speaker for the event - Congresswoman Nancy Mace. Congresswoman Mace shared many personal experiences, struggles, and achievements as a lifelong resident of the Lowcountry. From growing up in Goose Creek and dropping out of high school at 17, to working her first job as a waitress at the Waffle House in Ladson while she earned her high school diploma at Trident Technical College, to going on to graduate magna cum laude as the first ever female from Citadel’s Corps of Cadets in 1999 before eventually becoming the U.S. Representative for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District in 2021. In addition to her story, Congresswoman Mace also touched on her experience as a web developer in the Charleston area, and shared how thankful she was to be able to be involved with the event.
“As a former business owner in Charleston and someone that has some code experience, it was a fantastic time to get to connect with the Charleston Women in Tech. It’s amazing to be in the room with such bright, hard-working women and entrepreneurs in the tech space who are helping to make the Lowcountry’s community the best it can be."
-Congresswoman Nancy Mace
Everyone had a wonderful time networking and having conversations with fellow tech community members, and CODE/+/TRUST is extremely thankful for having the opportunity to host. We as a company look forward to hopefully hosting again sometime in the near future, and supporting the mission that the Charleston Women in Tech organization is all about!
Are you interested in hosting a collision event at 665 JD? Drop us a line and let's chat!
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