Tag Archives: Girl Geek Dinners Johannesburg

Girl Geek interview with Geek Node

Geek Girl Dinners – Empowering Women in Tech
Written by Harlequinn

Do you love food? Do you love tech? Are you into geeking out with other women? Then you are going to want to be all over Geek Girl Dinners. I recently caught up with the Johannesburg founder, Leigh-Ann Fowle to find out all about what to expect at one of their events.
GN: Let’s start at the beginning, how was the idea for Geek Girls Dinner born?
LF: It was started by a woman who was tired of attending tech events and being the only woman there. It has now spread around the world.
GN: Where do Geek Girl Dinners happen?
LF: They take place around the globe in 99 cities. The Johannesburg chapter was started in November 2011 by myself and Kirsty Sharman.
GN: What typically goes down at a GGD event?
LF: The events are held every second month, at different venues around Johannesburg. Ladies arrive, have an opportunity to network, eat fabulous food, listen to a phenomenal guest speaker and stand a chance to win great prizes. They also leave with a stunning goodie bag.
GN: What topics can girls expect to be discussed at the dinners?
LF: The topics relate to being a woman in business e.g. leadership, inspirational stories or specific tech i.e. email security or social media law. We look for topical issues that we can find experts to speak on.
GN: How can girls go about starting a chapter in their city?
LF: You can contact Girl Geek worldwide (girlgeekdinners.com) and apply to start a chapter.
GN: I noticed that some pretty big tech brands like Mimecast have sponsored dinners in the past. How can a business go about sponsoring an event?
LF: Contact the organisers via email info@girlgeeksofjhb.co.za We are always looking for brands to partner with!
GN: A little birdy told us GGD also offers corporate training as well, what is that all about?
LF: We offer training on social media that is customised for each client. So for example, how to use social media for sales, social media training for employees, social media policies etc
GN: How has being a part of GGD affected your career path?
LF: I have learnt so much from the amazing women that attend our events. That is what Girl Geeks is all about – connecting women.
GN: What do you think companies can do to encourage more girls to join tech?
LF: I think it’s important to demystify tech and show the many wonderful opportunities that are out there. This is one of the reasons we run these events.
GN: Who do you look up to in the tech industry?
LF: Sheryl Sandburg. Her book Lean In has had an amazing impact on the women that I talk to.

Top 7 Tips for Women in Tech

As a woman with more than 17 years of work experience in the challenging and constantly evolving tech industry, I have had my fair share of learning experiences over time. These are my top tips for women keen to survive and climb to the top in this exciting and dynamic environment:

1. Follow your passion
I am truly passionate about what I do. The moment I stop feeling that excitement, I look for other areas in the field that are able to challenge me and keep my mind working.

2. Learn to integrate your work and family life
I don’t like the term “work-balance” because, to be honest, it’s not a scale. I hate the message portrayed by movies such as The Devil Wears Prada and I Don’t Know How She Does It, where a woman has to choose between her career and her family. Your circumstances will change as you progress in life. My advice is to roll with the punches and make the best of your situation. The best part of integration is that things change and you adapt. Just like integrating an API to an app, changes always have to be made and likewise with family, as your children become older and family life demands change, you learn to integrate the family and work facets of your life.

3. Find a mentor
The importance of mentorship cannot be overstated. Identify a mentor who can support and invest in you. Senior managers will be more likely to take you under their wing if it is apparent that you love what you do and don’t really see it as a job, but rather as a passion and growth opportunity. This attitude will make the process of seeking support easier.

4. Chat to like-minded women who are true role models

Although there aren’t very many, you would be surprised at the response if you reached out for advice. The internet is full of so many awesome, talented women in the tech space who are constantly providing insights. However, choose your role models carefully based on the space you want to be in and find out how these women actually got to where they are. That is true of any role model or mentor actually, irrespective of gender. Sift through the public relations and hype and find people of true substance, who you can identify with in terms of having similar backgrounds/family situations.

5. Work on your negotiation skills

Society and tradition has taught women to be thankful for what we get, but throughout my career I often found that some of my male peers were on a higher salary scale than I was. When I investigated further, I found it wasn’t because they were more skilled than me but rather, because they don’t meekly accept the salaries or increases they are initially offered. It took me many years to pluck up the courage to ask for more money, but once I built up the confidence and realised I was the best at what I did, my negotiation skills improved considerably.

6. Learn from negative experiences

Treat negative experiences as character-building episodes in your life and move on – quickly. While I’ve had really awesome mentors and managers, I have also had to deal with the unfortunate situation where I had the odd male chauvinist line manager who would question my authority. Those situations I have treated as life experiences (yes, there were tears) but at the end of the day, knowledge and passion always win. If anything, it made me stronger and helped build my confidence.

7. Fight your fear of failure

Women in particular, hate failing and this can be a career inhibitor if you are always afraid to take risks. As a business owner, I am continually learning how to manage this and to see failure as an opportunity. In the words of author Eloise Ristad, “When we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel”.
To sum up, being a woman in tech is not easy but confidence in your abilities, the willingness to seek out advice when necessary and the seamless integration of your work and personal life are the stepping stones to success.

Mums on the Run Workshop – Review and Win

At Girl Geeks, we are passionate about education. Whether that is sharing knowledge through our events, or educating the next generation of women to enter the tech field. Of course, we know that there are enormous challenges surrounding education, which is why we were thrilled to attend the Mums on the Run workshop, hosted by A to Z tutoring.

The workshop has been developed by Raquel Nielson. Raquel has a BSc degree in Molecular Cell Biology, a BSc Honours in Biotechnology and postgrad certificate in education with honours in mathematics and further education and training. She’s also taught for a few years. You could not find a person more passionate about education than Raquel and it is wonderful to see.

The idea behind the workshop is to teach parents simple skills that they can use in everyday life to help their children learn.

For example:

  • Baking: when you are baking with your child, show them what each ingredient is and how much it weighs. As they get older, you can ask them to get the ingredients themselves and even start to weigh them out for you.
  • Every day shapes: as children get older, they need to master geometry. A good way to give them a head start is to use something simple like a cereal box. Look at the size, shape, surface area. Show them the vitamin and nutrient breakdown.
  • Time management: a good tip is to spend a portion of time each day to going through schoolwork, even if there is not any homework. This gets children into a good habit and will hopefully keep them from pretending that they don’t have any!

The workshop is R250 and is well worth attending. They also offer classes to companies. The next workshop is on 13 March and we have 1 ticket to give away! If you would like to attend, all you need to do is comment on this post and tell us why you would like to win a ticket. The lucky winner will be announced on 2 March 2015.


The 3rd Annual Wired Women Conference

We love events that feature women in tech and this year’s Wired Women Conference is an event which we are extremley excited about!

Featuring a great line-up of exciting speakers, the conference profiles some of the dynamic women (and men) that have taken up prominent roles within the industry. Globally, women make up over half of all the social media users and gamers, with a significant number of Computer Science graduates. With the growth potential in Africa, the future is incredibly positive.

The conference will look at how to make the industry more inclusive, diverse and nurture the culture of innovation that already exists.

We have an exciting special for Girl Geeks – if you book with the promotional code “GG” you will be receive a 10% discount off the retail price. To qualify for this offer, email: lizzy@qualitylife.co.za


Places we love – RAIN Boutique Spa

As the founder of Girl Geeks, I am always looking for places that aim to spoil women. One such place is RAIN Boutique Spa, situated in Rosebank. The first thing to love about the spa is that it caters exclusively for women. This makes it a fabulous place to hang out with your girlfriends, or go on your own to enjoy some downtime.

The other unique characteristic about RAIN is that all the treatments are customised to your preferences. All you need to do is book your desired amount of time for a treatment and then the choice is yours.

I had a full body massage, which was heavenly. RAIN is beautifully decorated and the therapists are attentive and knowledgeable. If you are looking for a unique spa experience, go take a look.

PS In our last goodie bag, RAIN gave away vouchers to use at the spa – don’t forget to use them!



Founder: Girl Geek Dinners JHB

Our 1st 2013 Dinner!

Our 1st Dinner for 2013 was a wonderful success!

We had two lovely speakers for the evening – Dr Julie Taylor from Google and Melanie Minnaar founder of the Twitter Blanket Drive.

Melanie Minnaar and Dr Julie Taylor
Melanie Minnaar and Dr Julie Taylor

Julie’s talk was around technology, women and Africa. She looked at the opportunities available and what Google is doing to help women enter the tech space. Melanie spoke about using social media for good and the impact that the blanket drive has had, as well as how phenomenally it has grown since inception.

Our venue was the beautiful Gwefey. With a gorgeous view & stunning food, they were wonderful hosts.

Our Stunning Venue - Gwefey
Our Stunning Venue – Gwefey

Once again, thank you to our fantastic sponsors. Without them our event would not be possible! Sponsors for February were: Mowana SpaFred FeltonFair Lady MagazineHeavnly Handmade (they sponsored our stunning bags), Rainbow NationShoe Candy, Capzi, Nescafe SAStandard BankVodacom and Ki Fit. Thanks to Melanie for arranging a host of amazing goodies this month!

A special mention to VW who sponsored a new Golf 7 and Beetle to be driven by two lucky Girl Geeks!

Leana & Mr Shai Guy from VW
Leana & Mr Shai Guy from VW

Lastly, thanks to BrandsEye for sponsoring our tracking report.

Our next event will be in April – look forward to seeing you all then!

Our 1st Birthday Bash!

With the festive season well and truly behind us, we thought it was time to review our last event – our 1st Birthday party!


As usual, our sponsors did not disappoint. We had a fantastic goodie bag and a plenty of prizes. A special mention must be made of Blackberry who kindly sponsored our welcome drinks. Thanks to all our other sponsors: @KiehlsSA  @RussellHobbsSA Apple SA Bobbleheads SA @TheCupcake_Lady  @CandiMakeup  EA Games @SKTheatres @DigitalSushiZA  @FinWeek Pulse DJ’s & @PrezenceDigital.

Our welcome drink sponsor Blackberry

Our lovely goodie bags 🙂 


Our two lovely speakers for the evening were Lynette Hundermark and Tiana Cline. Lynette gave an interesting insight into the world of Mobile App development and her career journey, while Tiana shared some great gadget reviews.


Thanks to everyone that joined us and has shared in the Girl Geek journey this far.

On that note, we are looking for AV equipment for our Girl Geek Dinners – if anyone has a contact for us, please get in touch.

Our next event will be held in February – look forward to seeing you all there!

Join us for our 1st Birthday Bash!

You are cordially invited to attend our first birthday!
Event Details:                                                                                                                         

Date: 21 November 2012

Time: 18:30

Venue: Outer Limits, Broadacres Lifestyle Centre, Cedar Road, Fourways 

Cost: R150, which includes dinner, a welcome drink and a stunning goodie bag.

There will be fantastic prizes to win at the event! Join us for an evening of fun, inspiring talks and great networking.

Drinks are for your own account.

 For more information, visit our blog

RSVP click here

Please note that due to the limited amount of seats available, only proof of payment secures your place

Guest Speakers
Lynette HundermarkHead of Product Strategy at Prezence Digital, Lynette works to produce the best possible strategic long-term mobile solutions to meet client business needs.Her passion to create market-beating mobile solutions is underpinned by technical qualifications in the computer-science field.Most recently, Lynette played an integral role in the creation of a suite of mobile apps for Ster-Kinekor, which are among the most downloaded, successful apps in the country. Follow her on Twitter @LynetteAnthony
Tiana Cline 

Tiana is the online editor of GirlGuides.co.za, a website that talks tech, gadgets and gizmos to women in South Africa. Working with a large group of dynamic ladies, GirlGuides publishes daily news, reviews, features and helpful how-tos.
Tiana is also editor for a number of other publications including Connect Magazine. Tiana will be talking about “Girls and Gaming”. Follow her on Twitter @tianatweets