My name is Sarah Lamb and I’m an independent consultant, I currently focus on social media and community management, prior to that I have worked at Microsoft UK and a number of startups. I started out in the IT sector as a software engineer at Cardinal Health making a living from programming medical device software. Contrary to popular belief Girl Geek Dinners are something that I do In my spare time.
Back in 2005 I ended up at a Geek Dinner. I didn’t know it at the time but that event changed my life. Since then I set up London Girl Geek Dinners and which expanded to become Girl Geek Dinners the network that is now international.
Quite often I get asked questions about why these events started, what was the catalyst and why me? To answer some of those questions you need to know a little about me as an individual.
First of all I’m a geek by profession, I love gadgets and technology be that programming or architecting systems, secondly I did a Masters of Enterprise in Computer Science after my undergraduate degree which means that I love the startup mentality of get on and do it. I also set up and ran our university swimming team at UMIST (Manchester University as it is called now) which gives you a little knowledge about the sort of person that I am. Some people who know me also know that am used to working to get what I want. A great example of this was completing my masters whilst suffering from pneumonia (brought on by the swimming – if anyone ever tells you to not swim with a cold or to dry your hair before you go outside, or you’ll catch your death… listen to them! Don’t wait for that experience for yourself!)
I’d only been in the business world for 12 months when I decided to start up the Girl Geek Dinners and it all came about after going to a Geek Dinner event held in London. The details surrounding that evening can be found online but the important thing was that the situation there was enough for me to realise how isolated women in the industry were. It also made me understand that some (not all!!!) men don’t really know how to react to a technical female. And also that some people immediately assume and truly believe some old fashioned social stereotypes are still relevant in todays society.
As a result of this I blogged the idea about a Geek Dinner for the Girls… which is how the name Girl Geek Dinners came out of it all. We didn’t want to exclude the men at all as they had been part of the catalyst for these events and as such we needed to find a way that was inclusive but without making the females that attended a minority. So the one guy attending per girl came about. The event flourished from there really with one person asking when is it… which got me onto getting it started. After all if I wasn’t going to give it a go then who would?
I’m happy to say after that the rest really is history. We were lucky enough to have a couple of great people design the logo and the strap line.