“Life changing,” “amazing,” and “shockingly wonderful” are not terms that are typically used to describe industry conferences. But that’s exactly how people talk about the Grace Hopper Celebration, an annual four-day event dedicated to bringing together women in computing to talk about technology and their careers.
It makes sense that Hopper is a unique kind of gathering, since it is dedicated to a very unique person: Grace Murray Hopper was a pioneering technologist who was one of the first computer programmers, and she had a real knack for being able to explain computer science in an accessible and tactile way. Hopper passed away in 1992 at the age of 85, and two years later her first namesake conference took place. In the years since, it has grown to become the world’s largest gathering for women in computing.
Most anyone who has gone to Hopper will tell you that there’s just something very special about the event — and that the reasons for that go far beyond gender. So this week, TechCrunch TV producer/shooter/editor extraordinaire John Murillo and I headed out to Minneapolis where the 2013 Hopper Celebration was held to see what it’s all about.
Check out the video embedded above to see what the scene is like, and hear women like the Hopper celebration’s co-founder Telle Whitney, Harvey Mudd president Maria Klawe, Facebook engineering director Jocelyn Goldfein, and others talk about what exactly it is that keeps them coming back year after year.
And be sure to check back in, as we’ll have more videos and coverage of Hopper in the days ahead.