Women in Tech – Yieldritas on Tour at Web Summit 2017

Hi Jodi,

I hope all is going well. We’re very much looking forward to having you come aboard at Yieldr. So much so that we’d like to invite you to come along with the rest of our “Yieldritas” to the Web Summit in Lisbon Nov. 6–9.

This was an initiative started by our illustrator Rita to send all of our women teammates to the event. I know you’ll just be starting, but this could be a great way to get acclimated with the team.

Let me know if you’re up for it, and we can work out the details :)

I could have said no, of course. But do you think I’m crazy?

So on day 4 of my new job at Yieldr, I flew away from the grey skies of Holland to sunny Portugal. I was on my way to Web Summit 2017 — an event nearly 60,000 people strong, in a team of 11 Yieldr women. And you know what? I loved it.

Our new office for the week in sunny Lisbon, Portugal.

Wait A Sec, What’s Web Summit?

Web Summit is the world’s biggest technology event. It’s a massive gathering of people all keen to network, share, learn, and be inspired.

Quick stats: 1 location | 25 conferences | 1200+ speakers | 1400+ investors | 2000+ startups | 2600+ media reps | 59,115 attendees

Diversity at Web Summit

Let’s get straight to it — tech has a diversity problem. According to a study by Information is Beautiful, the employees of 23 major technology companies are on average 65% male and 60% white (based on 2016 data). The gap is even more obvious when you look further up the food chain. Although leaders in the industry promote diversity and inclusion, a lot of progress still needs to be made.

Web Summit took action to make this year’s event more inclusive. This included a Women in Tech Mentor Programme, where attendees could talk about their tech careers with female mentors. There was also an initiative to balance the gender ratio of attendees by offering heavily discounted tickets to women. Notable inclusions in the speakers line-up were transgender women — Australian model Andreja Pejić and Olympian/TV personality Caitlyn Jenner, the latter who gave a moving speech about what defines gender.

Caitlyn Jenner at Centre Stage discussing the topic “Who defines gender?”

Diversity at Yieldr

Yieldr is a tech company — which means diversity and inclusion are issues that can’t be ignored. I’m new here, but it’s already clear from my first few weeks that the company is proud of our diverse international team. For example, at Yieldr we celebrate significant cultural holidays observed by our colleagues.

The day after I started, our CEO shared graphs about nationalities and gender distribution in the office. At last count we have people from 6 continents and 22 different countries — with 44 people at Yieldr, this is an impressive figure! Women currently make up 29.5% of employees, which definitely needs to improve, but Yieldr is actively focused on improving this ratio. In fact, 7 of Yieldr’s 13 women were hired in 2017.

That said, I was incredibly proud to be part of Yieldr’s all-woman, international and multicultural group at Web Summit. We come from 10 different countries, we specialize in different areas such as software engineering, design, customer success, supply, product, finance and marketing, and we all learned new things from each other and at the conference.

Our developers Agne, Auguste and Juanita showing off their new Atlassian swag.

Web Summit for Non-Techies

As Yieldr’s new content marketer, I spent most of my time at the PandaConf stage. The stars of marketing shared their knowledge, experience, and predictions for 2018.

I didn’t stay at PandConf for the entire event (although it totally would have been worthwhile). I also went to talks for creatives, growth hackers, content makers and those in the music industry. And let’s not forget Centre Stage — where reps from Google, Facebook, Uber and other big names caught the attention of thousands.

Jeff Holden, Uber’s Chief Product Officer, discussing flying cars at Centre Stage.

Memorable Speakers at Web Summit

After dozens of talks, three that still stand out for me are:

  • Rand Fishkin (Co-founder, Moz): I’m a big fan of the Wizard of Moz and his Whiteboard Friday videos. This guy breaks down the scary term “search engine optimization” into something understandable (and dare I say it — fun). He gave a clear list of pointers for SEO in 2018.
  • Lars Silberbauer, (Global Director of Social Media, Lego): Silberbauer shared two stories about how Lego fans have embraced their creative sides. Lesson 1: Don’t create a campaign — create a stage. Lesson 2: Think like kids!
  • Gail Heimann (President, Weber Shandwick): This talk packed a punch. Heimann spoke about creativity in an activist-driven world — what’s the potential for marketers to drive engagement that makes a real impact? She shared videos that effectively created awareness about heavy topics including breast cancer, domestic violence and female genital mutilation.

Learn more about the I Touch Myself Project for breast cancer awareness at itouchmyself.org.

Final Thoughts

For me, going to Web Summit 2017 was about two things: learning from clever and inspiring people at the conference; and getting to know my fellow Yieldr women.

We’re a diverse, smart, creative and easy-going group of Yieldritas. I’m excited about what we can build together and look forward to more fun times with them. I said it before, but I’m crazy proud to be part of this international group.

Curious about who we are? Check out the pictures below and follow Yieldr on Instagram for more adventures!

Jodi ten Bohmer

Jodi ten Bohmer

Content Marketer