At the Firewood Café off Castro Street in San Francisco, a roomful of women sat eating kale salads and gourmet pizzas topped with goat cheese and sundried tomatoes. They sipped iced tea with lemon and an occasional glass of bubbly. It looked like a gathering of “ladies who lunch,” except these ladies wore hoodies and high tops, sported buzz cuts and neon hair, and were embellished with body art instead of pearls. More importantly, they were kick-ass software engineers, founders of tech companies and advocates working tirelessly to make the technology industry more inclusive.
This year’s Lesbians Who Tech Summit was anything but conventional. And that’s how founder Leanne Pittsford wants it.
“I go to some of these women’s events and they are like stuffy and their heels are clacking, and people won’t talk to you,” Pittsford explains. “My call to action for women’s conferences is to have a little more fun, to not take ourselves too seriously. What makes our conference magical is that we’ll have an incredible interview with Kara Swisher (Executive Editor of Re/Code) then right after we’ll have a hula hoop contest.”