Fazilah Shariff is leading the Speak Geek series that we’re very excited to be launching this year. The series is reminiscent of our very first Chic Geek event: The IT Factor. Last February, we hosted a speaker event in the basement of Melrose, featuring some amazing women in tech that we really admired. We had a phenomenal turnout and though we experimented with a lot of new events in 2013, we’re coming back to our roots, making the speaker series a regular occurrence. Fazilah has been instrumental to developing the theme for our events, targeting speakers and organizing logistics. I sat down with her to get a behind-the-scenes perspective on what’s been going on.
Why is the Speak Geek Series important for the community?
The Speak Geek Series is an opportunity to showcase amazing local women in leadership roles, something we need to see more of. It helps us build a strong group of role-models that younger generations can aspire to. The Series fosters open and honest dialogue, and creates spaces for women to raise questions, concerns and experiences that others can learn from. I find the opportunity to connect with women who have done amazing work in our community to be not only inspiring, but something that shapes my perspective and the way in which I approach situations on an everyday basis.
What makes the Speak Geek series different from other networking or speaker events?
We bring in a strong element of community. The group has a distinct interest in providing support for women in technology and business. The Speak Geek contributes to this community by fostering dialogue and a place for women to create their own unique opportunities for inspiration and personal connections. The Series is unique in it’s mandate – to shape the perspectives and expand networks for women interested in a fields that are mostly male dominated.
Who would benefit from the Speak Geek series?
There are three major audiences of the Speak Geek series:
1) Women who have an interest in technology and/or business and want to create meaningful networks in this realm,
2) Women who have an interest in meeting new people and want to be a part of a strong community emerging in Calgary and
3) Anyone who’s curious about the Chic Geek and wants to explore something new!
What’s the theme of this event and why did you choose it?
The theme for our first event is Challenging Your Comfort Zone. I was thinking a lot about how people move forward and expand their horizons – they take steps that don’t always have a definite outcome but are worth the risk. A lot of people are drawn to others who are courageous enough to take challenges head on and identify good opportunities as they arise. It’s human to create boundaries for ourselves and at the same time, these boundaries create barriers that we don’t recognize exist. It’s fascinating to learn about how leaders have broken down barriers and challenge themselves mentally, emotionally and physically. Learning how other people have approached these situations allows us to reflect on how we can do this in our own lives and conquer our fears and our comfort zones. I talk to my friends about this a lot and find that in some way everyone has these types of questions, fears and challenges in their own lives.
What are you most excited about for the first event on February 19th?
It’s a chance to meet new people and make connections with other women who are passionate about business and technology. I am most excited to hear about experiences of strong leaders in our community that are shaping the sector in creative and inspiring ways.
When are the next events and what can we expect?
So you might be wondering when the other Speak Geek Series events will be held. Below, I have included the event dates and themes we will be highlighting throughout the year.
Theme: Fierce Conversations – Wednesday, May 28th, 2014
Theme: Mentorship & Sponsorship – Wednesday, August 20th, 214
Theme: Emotional Intelligence – Wednesday, November 26th, 2014
Written by Kylie Toh
Kylie started the Chic Geek because she wanted to see more women celebrate technology and discover their inner nerd. With a background in public relations and branding, and a passion for startups, Kylie guides the strategic vision of the Chic Geek.
Connect with Kylie on Twitter @KylieToh