International Tech Conference for Womxn
June 27th - June 30th, 2021

About us

Empowering the next generation of womxn leaders for our FOURTH year.
GirlCon is an international tech conference (for students, by students), aiming to empower the next generation of female leaders. The annual event features breakout, professional development, and keynote sessions from numerous companies and backgrounds, giving attendees the opportunity to learn and make connections. We focus on how technology is a huge factor in EVERY career field, whether it be science, fashion, or anything that students are passionate about. The lack of diversity in STEM is an issue that everyone on the GirlCon team strives to fix. Our attendees will have a chance to personally connect with companies from countless career paths and gain mentorship from women in both college and the workforce.
Over three years of conferences
100+ Industry Professionals
Each year, we invite incredible women to share their stories
From all over the world
Future leaders travel from across the country (and world virtually) to join in on the excitement
What's on the agenda?
2021 Conference Agenda
GirlCon 2021 will be VIRTUAL from June 27th-30th. Details below!
Note: Sessions are scheduled based on speaker availability and are subject to change
Sunday, June 27th
GirlCon 2021 Opening Ceremony:
  • 12:00-1:00 PM CST:
    • Opening Keynote: Madhulika Guhathakurta
Breakout Sessions Group #1
  • 2:00 - 2:55PM:
    • Tech + Agile
    • Tech + Art
    • Tech + Cybersecurity
  • 3:00 - 3:55 PM:
    • Tech + App Development
    • Tech + Social Media Analytics
    • Tech + National Security
  • 4:00 - 4:55 PM:
    • Tech + The Basics
    • Tech + Therapy
    • Tech + Law
Professional Development Group #1:
  • 5:00 - 5:55 PM:
    • Future proofing your career- "We are looking for a ROCKSTAR"
  • 6:00 - 7:00 PM:
    • College Panel
Monday, June 28th
Breakout Session Group #2
  • 3:00 - 3:55PM:
    • Tech + Ethical AI
    • Tech + Healthcare
    • Tech + AI: Applying AI in Energy, Climate, and Nuclear Weapons
  • 4:00 - 4:55 PM:
    • Tech + Disinformation
    • Tech + Animation
    • Tech + Machine Learning
  • 5:00 - 5:55 PM:
    • Tech + Beauty
    • Tech + Quantum Computing
    • Tech + Consumer Shopping

Keynote #2:
  • 6:00 - 7:00 PM: Hope Goins
Tuesday, June 29th
Professional Development Session Group #2
  • 3:00 - 3:55 PM: Authentic Reinvention: UbU! and Navigating Technical and Professional Careers Panel

Keynote #3:
  • 4 - 4:30 PM: Alyssa Miller

Professional Development Session Group #3
  • 5:00 - 5:55 PM:
    • LinkedIn Session
    • Women in Tech & Trading at IMC
    • Writing a College Application Essay that Works
  • 6:00 - 7:00 PM:
    • Creating Your Personal Brand
    • Elevator Pitches
    • Cyber/Tech/STEM Career Development
Wednesday, June 30th
Professional Development Group #4
  • 3:00- 4:00 PM:
    • Women in Blockchain Panel
    • How to Get Over the Barrier and Build Your Career in Tech
    • Creating Work Place Harmony
Breakout GROUP #3
  • 4:05 - 5:00 PM:
    • Tech + Sustainable Energy
    • Tech + Marketing
    • Tech + Artificial Intelligence Theory
  • 5:05 - 6:00 PM:
    • Tech + Music
    • Tech + Weather
    • Tech + Surgery
    • Tech + Money

  • 6:05 - 7:00PM:
    • Final Keynote: Kelly Chambliss and Dixie Adams

2021 Virtual Keynote Speakers
Hear from inspiring women to kickstart your career and gain the confidence to launch forward in tech and beyond.
Dixie Adams
Ms. Adams is the leader of Hybrid Cloud Services Americas, which is part of the IBM Services organization. In this role, she is responsible for helping clients transform their businesses at scale with quality, speed, and consistency across cloud application migration and modernization and application maintenance. Ms. Adams' organization is comprised of over 25k practitioners who enable our Americas clients to transform into cognitive enterprises in a hybrid, multi-cloud world.
Ms. Adams has more than 25 years of consulting and leadership experience in IT strategy, systems and technology and complex program delivery. She has held several senior leadership roles within IBM, including leading Global Technology Services for the North America Industrial Market.

Kelly Chambliss
Kelly Chambliss is the Managing Partner of IBM Global Business Services (GBS) Americas. In this role, she leads one of the largest professional services organizations in the world, providing enterprise clients across North America and Latin America with consulting, business process outsourcing, systems integration, and application management services with a focus on solutions enabled by open hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence (AI). Kelly previously led GBS in North America, after serving as the Global Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for IBM GBS, with a focus on the development, marketing, sales, and delivery of cloud-based, as-a-service solutions in collaboration with IBM Technology.
Hope Goins
Hope Goins is Staff Director of the United States House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security. She is the top advisor to Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson on all matters related to the oversight of the Department of Homeland Security and national security related matters throughout the Executive Branch. Goins is responsible for advancing and coordinating all committee policy and legislation with the leadership of the House of Representatives. Throughout her tenure on the committee, Goins has also been Chairman Thompson's most senior advisor on matters related to counterterrorism, countering violent extremism, intelligence, cybersecurity, natural disasters and civil rights and civil liberties.
Alyssa Miller
Alyssa Miller is a life-long hacker, security advocate, and cyber security leader. She is the BISO for S&P Global ratings and has over 15 years experience in security roles. She is heavily involved in the cyber security community as an international speaker, author, and advocate. Her views, research, and career journey have been featured in "Tribe of Hackers: Blue Team", SC Magazine, Cybercrime Magazine, and various other media appearances.

In her keynote address, Alyssa Miller talks about the mistakes that many of us fall into when we believe the voices that tell us if we're too aspirational that somehow we'll get hurt. She'll discuss where these voices come from, how they threaten to hurt not only our careers but our ability to contribute to the cyber security community. She'll draw from examples in her own career progression to illustrate both the mistakes and successes she found along the way. Listen as she gives you tangible tools to shut out those voices, embrace your value, and reach the heights you aspire to (and perhaps beyond).
Madhulika Guhathakurta
For the past two decades, Dr. Guhathakurta has enabled the development of Heliophysics as an integrated scientific discipline from which fundamental discoveries about our universe provide direct societal benefits. As the Lead for the Living With a Star (LWS) program for 16 years since its initiation in 2000 she made possible the flagship missions (e.g. the Solar Dynamics Observatory, Van Allen Probes, Solar Orbiter Collaboration with European Space Agency and Parker Solar Probe), many other missions, including STEREO that would revolutionize our understanding of how the Sun shapes space weather in the solar system.
To accelerate innovation and scientific discovery she created funding mechanisms to shepherd traditional domain scientists out of their comfort zones to create LWS system science known as the Targeted Research & Technology program and Focused Science Teams that foster competitive, yet collaborative environments that promote the crosspollination of science ideas and technology. To nurture the next generation of leaders in Heliophysics, she created the Jack Eddy Fellowship Program which has become an important channel for the professional growth of promising researchers.
Presently she is back at NASA HQ where she is a program scientist and also splitting her time as a Senior Advisor for New Initiatives at the Heliophysics Division, GSFC.

2021 Breakout Session Bios
See Above for Dates/Time for Each!
Tech + Beauty: Capgemini Invent
How has the past year changed your skincare and beauty routine? Did you stop wearing makeup in favor of letting your skin breath during your camera-off school days? Did you dive into skincare because you were inspired by TikTok-ers or up and coming Youtubers like SkincareByHyram? What was it about those videos that convinced you to make a purchase? If you purchased a makeup product, how did you know which color to pick without being able to swatch your options in a store? What happens to the Beauty and Skincare industry when no one sees each other in person for a year?
These are some of the questions that have completely disrupted the Beauty and Skincare industry in 2020 and are shaping the new normal in 2021. With the sudden halt to traditional brick & mortar sales channels, microinfluencer social media marketing exploded, virtual try-on makeup technology boomed, and well-researched skincare routines flourished.
During this session, Emma and Anna from the Capgemini Invent Beauty Consulting team will share how those trends played out in the Beauty and Skincare market through firsthand experience helping their clients, some of the most iconic brands in the space -- Kylie Cosmetics, Lancôme, Urban Decay, IT Cosmetics, Kiehl's, and more--, adapt to these changes. In addition, we'll share what this shift means for young pre-professionals like yourselves who may be curious about current and future opportunities in the Beauty and Skincare job market.
If you have an existing interest in beauty or skincare, come ready to share about your favorite products, influencers, and hacks. If you're new to Beauty and Skincare but curious to learn more, come ready to listen and enjoy!
Tech + Art: HackClub
Have you ever been interested in learning about the more creative side of tech? Join Lailah from Hack Club in creating an easy website using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript where you can splatter paint! Warning: This workshop may not be suitable for those with epilepsy.
Tech + Sustainable Energy: Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security
At the Department of Energy (DOE) we do science and innovation at its finest to solve some of the toughest challenges. In this session, scientists, engineers, and researchers across the National Nuclear Security Administration and the DOE will share some of the ways DOE is using technology to get climate change under control. From modern energy grids, to solar power, to net-zero emission goals, this panel will sustainable energy in depth and encourage dialogue with our participants on other clean energy ideas! Each speaker will also share their career story and give tips for working in energy.
Tech + Law: Leslee Cohen, Hershman Cohen LLC.
In this session, we will talk about the different types of lawyers that represent technology companies and what they do for those companies on a day-to-day basis. We will focus on what it is like to represent a tech startup from its earliest stages (i.e. an idea in someone's imagination) through its funding rounds, hiring of employees and advisors, growth and ultimate sale or public offering. We will also talk about success strategies for women lawyers and the issues that women lawyers encounter during their careers.
Tech + App Development: IBM
Throughout your day, you probably use many different applications, from placing an online order, to posting on a social media site, or playing a video game. Applications are any programs that accomplish a specific task or provide a specific service to a user. Have you ever wondered how these applications are created? This session will introduce you to the basics of application development and how you can get started creating your own application! We will demonstrate creating a simple application and deploying it to IBM Cloud.
Tech + AI: Applying AI in Energy, Climate, and Nuclear Weapons: Department of Energy
From energy to climate to nuclear nonproliferation, artificial intelligence is being used by the federal government to make the country and world a better place. Ever wondered how the concept of artificial intelligence is applied national security and to combat the climate crisis? Hear from Department of Energy (DOE) and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) professionals who are using tech, AI, and innovation to tackle real world problems. This session will also explore the careers of women at DOE/NNSA and talk tips/tricks for working in government.
Tech + Disinformation: Girl Security + BNBCE
Disinformation is a gendered security challenge that uniquely affects girls and women in the U.S. and globally. A girl against a foreign state or an actor isn't a fair fight. However, girls are agents of their security every day just by being girls, and here we'll share helpful information and tools to empower girls to defend their reality and contribute to national security. This session lies at the intersection of technology, national security, civic engagement, and cybersecurity, blending together current events with visions for how technology (and people) can be used to empower a more unified tomorrow.
Tech + Quantum Computing: How Random!?
For more than four years, IBM has enabled more than 100,000 people around the globe to access quantum computers for learning, research, and tackling new problems. While still early, it is just a matter of time until people start using these devices to solve certain problems better than they can today with a classical computer. In this session Aparna Prabhakar and Dr. Kayla Lee will discuss this radically different approach to computing built on the laws of quantum mechanics, and the roadmap for mainstream adoption of this new technology to solve the world's problems. Attendees will get access to a technical hands-on introduction to building your first application with Qiskit, an open-source quantum computing framework for leveraging today's quantum processors in research, education, and business.
Tech + Animation: Disney
Inspired by the philosophy, "The art challenges technology, and the technology inspires art", our team at Disney approaches animation with the same goal: allow the tech and story to shape each other. Our "Baymax Dreams'' shorts leverage cutting-edge computing technology to advance animation production practices. Join the team as they explore using game engines to push the boundaries of the animation storytelling process.
Tech + Agile: Nagamani Mummadisetty
How agile the tech industries are: I like the definition of agility as "the ability to think on your feet and move rapidly through, around, or over any obstacle life throws at you". When you're working with a multitude of teams in the tech industries, it's almost impossible to foresee all the problems that might come every day. Being agile builds a workflow, allowing us to take strategic decisions while accelerating execution from inception to delivery. The tools and best practices that I've learned over the years might help provide insights in solving the problems faster than ever. Let us learn this mantra "Go nimble."
Tech + Healthcare: Capgemini Invent
Explore the emerging new areas of convergence between technology and healthcare, from remote trials to telemedicine and digital therapeutics. Learn about what's happening today and the unbelievable promises the future holds.
Tech + Marketing: Instagram
Join Rachel Xanttopoulos, Product Marketing Lead for Instagram ads, as she explores how people, creators, and business are coming together to build resilience through community, creativity and culture.
Tech + Music Production: Amy Wozniak
In this session, you will learn how to create real and cool music using Python code. This session will require you to follow along and code alongside me as we explore the different ways to create a beat, song, and rhythm. Not musically talented? No problem! Neither am I, and I've been able to come up with some really fun songs. Don't know Python? Also, not a problem! We start with the basics. Hope to see you in my session!
Tech + Machine Learning: IBM
Data is the new electricity for businesses today. But that data on its own doesn't provide the insights businesses need to make smarter decisions. Data Science, through the use of statistical techniques, is what turns that data into valuable insights that companies can use to their advantage. You can see examples of Data Science in your every-day life from the suggested videos on TikTok to the pricing you see on travel websites.
In this session we'll talk about the skills needed to become a Data Scientist and what a day in the life of a Data Scientist consists of. We'll discuss the basics of Data Science, Machine Learning, the common algorithms used and real-life examples of how they are applied.
We'll end the session with suggested learning you can use to get you started coding your first data science project.
Tech + Cybersecurity: CyberStart America
If you enjoy gaming, like solving puzzles, or love math, then your brain probably works in just the right way to learn ethical hacking, excel at Python programming, and pick up the basics of cybersecurity! CyberStart America could be just the at-home problem-solving challenge you're seeking, with no prior coding or cybersecurity experience needed. No textbooks in sight, just a fun free online gamified learning platform plus the opportunity to win one of over 800 scholarships and get free access to professional cybersecurity training. Come hear Haya talk about how CyberStart America kickstarted her passion for cybersecurity and gave her a head start on her journey to a career in cyber!
Tech + Therapy: Sesh
This session will cover the delicate balance between technology and humanness when delivering credible, relatable digital mental health support. We will discuss the unique benefits of peer interaction in a virtual therapeutic setting. This is intended as a group discussion, so come with questions and strong opinions!
Tech + Trustworthy AI: IBM
Artificial Intelligence (AI) enhances and amplifies human expertise, makes predictions more accurate, automates decisions and processes, optimizes employees' time to focus on higher value work, improves people's overall efficiency, and Will be KEY to helping Humankind travel to new frontiers and solve what feels now like insurmountable problems. But- We've got to get AI right…
Can you trust the decisions made by an AI? Just because a decision is made by an AI does not mean that the results are morally or ethically squeaky clean. This talk will introduce listeners to the very real dangers of unmitigated bias in AI, told in a very personal way through storytelling. The talk will conclude detailing why and HOW K-12 and higher ed institutions can begin to incorporate this critical knowledge into the classroom.
Tech + Artificial Intelligence Theory: IBM
Are you curious about Artificial Intelligence? Do you use Siri or Alexa and wonder how they work? Did you ever open Spotify and think 'wow, this playlist is made for me, they really get my mood'? We will discuss AI Theory - the basics of Artificial Intelligence, how you use AI in your daily life, and we'll do a hands-on demo to see how easy it is to get started. This is a session you do not want to miss!
Tech + The Basics: IBM
Technology is all around you…but what is it and how does it work? Let's use examples of everyday technologies, what they are and how they work. We will cover the basics of devices, communication and data. Think about wifi, routers, 5G, IoT, devices (laptops, cell phones, etc) and how they are used together in smart homes, vehicles and mobile devices.
Tech + Social Media Analytics: Jody Porrazzo PhD
This session will discuss how rich conversations on social media are surfaced and combined with other sources to reveal hidden consumer insights and activities. We will demonstrate several key NLP techniques combined with ML models and their application to uncover the voice of the consumer.
Tech + Money: Jennifer Peve
The Value of Having Technical Acumen in a non-Technology Career:
In recent years, the capital markets industry has seen an increased demand for innovation from its clients. Technology is an enabler and benefits businesses and individuals by improving our ability to get things done. This session is discussion on the value and importance of developing technical acumen for roles outside the technology function to execute on a company's innovation strategy.

Tech + National Security: Candice Frost
This session will discuss the criticality of growing the next generation of leaders in National Security who know about the importance of defending the nation. The federal government, military, and many private businesses need people with skills to strengthen the federal digital defense. Additionally, there are great jobs in the tech space that link into the intelligence community too.
Tech + Weather: Dr. Barbara Boustead
In this session, attendees will hear from Dr. Barbara Boustead, a meteorologist instructor at NWS's Warning Decision Training Division. This session will outline how technology is used to predict weather and how the constant advancements in technology have revolutionized meteorology and the way weather is predicted.
Tech + Surgery: Dr. Mary Maish
In this session, attendees will learn about how technology has improved medicine and surgery. From new technological equipment to creating more minimally invasive surgeries, the advancements in technology have forever changed how we practice medicine. Come to this session to hear from Dr. Mary Maish, a thoracic surgeon, and the only woman in cardiothoracic at Northwestern.
Tech + Consumer Shopping: Capgemini Invent
In today's current reality, retailers face the same pre-pandemic challenges but now experience new complexities when predicting future demand by consumers. It's no longer only planning space-aware assortments, it's consumer-centricity and experience delivery at the intersection of available space, in-demand product and specific locations. Learn how consumer shopping technologies and data influence today's most complex retail challenges: helping retailers fulfill on a promise to the shopper to sell the products consumers want and meet the consumer wherever they shop. Learn how retailers can leverage data, analytics and AI to deliver the shopping experience of tomorrow.
2021 Professional Development Sessions
See Above for Dates/Time for Each!
LinkedIn Workshop: Jodi Coplan
You've heard LinkedIn is important, but is it actually? LinkedIn has actually been around longer than Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram and it's more relevant than ever! Discover how to get the most from your LinkedIn profile from finding a job, a network connection to building your brand. LinkedIn is one of the most important parts of being a full-fledged professional no matter your location, age or profession.
Authentic Reinvention: UbU!: Cheryl O'Donoghue
Find your authentic voice by finding your authentic you, FIRST!! In this fast-paced workshop you'll receive insights and tools to help you uncover areas in your life that may be "reinvention ready" and create your own plan to begin a reinvention journey that's in alignment with the REAL YOU.

Navigating Technical and Professional Careers Panel: IBM
How do you navigate technical and professional degrees and careers? Join our panel discussion with stories, tips, challenges, and lessons learned.
Women in Tech & Trading: IMC
Please join a few of our female Engineers and Traders as they share insight into our unique culture and life at IMC. They will also discuss the importance of innovative technology within the high frequency trading space, how engineers and traders collaborate together, and how all of them play an integral role in IMC's success.
Write a College Application Essay that Works: IBM
You are more than your numbers! In this hands-on session, you learn about what colleges are looking for in the application essay and learn strategies to stand out.
Women in Blockchain Panel: IBM
This GirlCon panel will bring together four inspiring women leaders to share their blockchain expertise regarding significant industry use cases that will enrich the lives of world citizens. According to the Blockchain Council (, "Though the blockchain field is still dominated by men, an increasing number of women are making headway into the 'Tech World' and are leaving behind many preconceived notions and strongly held misbeliefs called upon them." Students will learn the keys to a successful career in new and emerging technologies such as blockchain.
Future Proofing your Career- "We are looking for a ROCKSTAR": ISACA Chicago
An interview with Ramona Ratiu, the current President of the ISACA Chicago
Chapter and a Global She Leads Tech Ambassador, on how to leverage the
support offered by ISACA and the One In Tech Foundation to future proof your career. Learn more about what organizations and leaders are looking for, the skills in demand, despite the career path chosen.
Creating a Personal Brand: Vivian Tan
Personal branding. You may have heard of it or not, but it's a crucial part to standing out - from job searching to applying for post-secondary. It can even help you along your journey of discovering yourself, and in this session, you'll learn how to start building the foundations of your brand to portray yourself the way you want!
How to Get Over the Barrier and Build your Career in Tech: CME Group
Please join the women in technology from CME Group as they discuss their personal experiences on networking, coaching, internship, and building community. The women are from different backgrounds and represent various areas of technology!
College Student Panel: Applications, Campus Life, and More: GirlCon Tech
Come hear from four incredible female college students as they teach you tricks and tips to getting into college, picking the right school, picking a major, and more! There will be opportunities to ask our panelists questions!
Elevator Pitches: IBM
What's Your Elevator Pitch? Breaking it down - creating your elevator pitch as part of your personal brand. Your elevator pitch is intended to tell the listener who you are professionally, what work you are passionate about doing and why you are qualified to do it in a way that helps you stand out from other applicants. In this session we will provide a framework to craft an elevator pitch to describe your professional aptitude, strengths and skills. We will discuss how and where you will use your elevator pitch including versioning to address various occasions.
Creating Work Place Harmony: Dr. Malika Grayson
In this session, we will discuss the importance and challenges of work/school life balance and what it means to show up for oneself physically and mentally. Oftentimes, taking a pause results in guilt or the feeling that we are not being productive. Join the session to hear how we can be more intentional about harmonizing work and life.
Cyber/Tech/STEM Career Development: Women in Government
In this career development roundtable, four women from across the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration will share their career pathways, what their day-to-day routine looks like, and offer words of wisdom for working in STEM/cyber/tech for the federal government. The candid discussion will also touch on what it is like to be a woman working in this field and encourages open dialogue about how to break barriers and encourage future generations to join their ranks!
GirlCon 2021 Sponsors
If you're interested in being a sponsor for GirlCon, please check out our sponsorship prospectus.
Saanvi Chilakapati
Aishwarya Kuzhiyil
Annika Srivastava
Anisha Parsan
Medhita Sinha
Public Relations
Isa Dominguez
Kaylee Zhou
Natasha Matta
Ranya Sharma
Michelle Zheng
Melissa Ozcan
Shayna Weinstein
Ria Bawiskar
Shagun Khare
Elle Popoca
Marija Sladojević
Helen Zhao
Andrea Gonzalez
Mia Rubenstein
Thank you to everyone who helped make GirlCon 2018 , 2019, & 2020 possible. We couldn't have done it without you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is GirlCon changing in response to COVID-19?
We have moved from our usual in-person conference to a fully online format! Be sure to check the Instagram and website for updates on registration, the conference platform, and more.
How much is GirlCon?
GirlCon is FREE! We want this event to be open for anyone to attend, and hopefully impact girls of all backgrounds all across the country!
When is this event is taking place and how can I sign up?
The conference has transitioned to a week-long event from June 27th-30th, 2021 with sessions and keynotes spread across those dates. Click here to sign up!
What should I bring to online sessions?
Just your smiley face and a positive attitude! You will need a device and internet connection to access the sessions, and maybe a notepad to write down all the amazing new things you learn.
Do I need any previous experience with coding or technology for this event?
No experience is required - GirlCon is for everyone.
Who can come to this event?
Though this event is aimed at anyone who identifies as female/non-binary, anyone is able to attend GirlCon, regardless of gender! The conference is primarily aimed towards 8th - 12th grade students. You do not have to live in/near Chicago to register, even international students are welcome!
What if the sessions I want to attend are full?
Still register! You are not required to register for any sessions on the Eventbrite, however you do have to be signed up to receive recordings of the sessions after the conference!
Have another question?
Please email us at!
Contact Us
Feel free to email us with inquires regarding our conference, sponsorships, or other ways you would like to get involved with GirlCon!

Team email:

Sponsorships email:

Outreach email: