Happy First Birthday Chic Geek!

February 21, 2014


This month marks the first anniversary of the creation of the Chic Geek. The vision started with Kylie Toh’s mission to build diversity in Calgary’s hi-tech and startup space, and this year has seen tremendous engagement on both volunteer and participant levels, and some important milestones we’d like to celebrate. And the first of those is sharing our Chic Geek video!


In 2013, the Chic Geek opened the Calgary chapter of Ladies Learning Code (LLC), one of 15 chapters in Canada. Since the Calgary chapter launched in May 2013, we’ve held 7 workshops for 5 different topics: HTML/CSS, WordPress, JavaScript, Ruby, and Photoshop. We’ve had 167 learners attend the workshops, and 8 instructors and 49 mentors have been there to volunteer their time. Almost half of our mentors have volunteered more than once, and some of them have even gone on to instruct workshops!


This year, we’ll continue to offer LLC workshops on an expanded range of topics (like Mobile Web Development and Python!) and we’re branching out to offer Girls Learning Code workshops, aimed at engaging audiences aged 8-13. It’s important to build confidence and technical skills in the next generation and GLC is perfectly positioned to do that.


This past year also saw the inception of the Chic Geek Mentorship Program; the pilot program started in January with 10 eager mentor-mentee pairs. The program will consist of 5 coordinated events plus self-directed learning time, and we’re looking forward to sharing the results of the program and plans for expansion in the future.


In addition to our technical learning components, the Chic Geek has hosted several speaker and group discussion events, including the IT Factor speaker event and the She++ documentary screening. They’ve had great turnout, with over 90 attendees at the Chic Geek’s first event! We’ve really seen that Calgary’s tech and startup scene is hungry for this kind of community building engagement, and the She++ roundtable discussions provided great insight into what the Chic Geek has to offer the community, and how we can support each other.


The Chic Geek approaches all our events using these four guiding principles:

1) be supportive and celebrate our successes,

2) be understanding of others’ backgrounds and skill levels,

3) encourage exploration and taking risks,

4) and listen first to help each other feel comfortable and supported.


We’re going back to our roots and looking ahead to future events by launching the Speak Geek Series, the first of which was held this past week, and planning regular documentary and discussion nights, coding parties and book club get togethers. The future looks bright with things to come, so make sure to bookmark our Calendar so you don’t miss a thing!


All in all, it’s been a beautiful first year for the Chic Geek. We’re humbled and inspired by everyone who came out to support the Chic Geek over the past year and we hope that this is just the first of many Chic Geek birthdays to come!

Written by Hannah Sanford


Hannah organizes the Chic Geek Blog and content. She has a not-so-secret love for all things canned in the kitchen, like strawberry jam and pickled beets and homemade salsa and... well, you get the point. Connect with Hannah on Twitter @HannahSaidThat.


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