Tag Archives: Networking Events

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.

What goes on at a Girl Geek event?

Girl Geek Dinners – A TechGirl Review

A few weeks ago we hosted the second dinner for 2016 of the Girl Geek Dinners Johannesburg. Tech Girl was invited, at the beginning of the year, to come on as the official media partner and I’ve spent a considerable amount of my free time hunting down goodies for our goodie bags and sourcing interesting speakers. Leigh-Ann Fowle and Kirsty Sharman started the dinners in Johannesburg a few years back and are still very much involved. We all dedicate a considerable amount of our personal time to the dinners, as do so many others (shout out to Jade here who always offers to help! Thank you!).

Girl Geek Dinners
Leigh-Ann, Kirsty and me!
Our more recent dinner took place at Hard Rock Cafe on Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton. This is one of my favourite local restaurants, predominantly because of the gorgeous collectors items they have gracing the walls. If you’re a music fan you’re in for a real treat! The food is also rather delicious. Think sliders (mini burgers), yummy Tacos and Cheesy nachos. I think anyone in attendance can agree that the food at Hard Rock goes down as some of the best.

Girl Geek Dinners
All the blur when getting ready to start!
While the ladies in attendance enjoyed a wine tasting arranged by Van Loveren Wines, I was manning the entrance desk. We had a section of the restaurant dedicated to the dinner but the bar and outside area was still open to the general public. Two men at the bar came over to me and asked me what was going on. They’d been listening to our wonderful speaker, Lori Milner, who recently co-authored Own Your Space. Lori was discussing how we, as females, can better function in the corporate arena and, ultimately, own our own space. The gents announced to me that they thought the dinners were sexist.

Girl Geek Dinners
I had a good chuckle because the dinners have never specified that men cannot attend. Over the last few we’ve had a few gents added to the guest list and they’ve all had a great time (ask them!). While our focus has always been on uplifting women in the tech space, over the years I think the Girl Geek Dinners have grown to encompass something more. They’ve grown to represent the coming together of positive individuals (yes, mainly females) and sharing information relating to the corporate and tech space while just giving attendees a great night out and opportunity to meet new friends.

Girl Geek Dinners

Sexism is defined as (pulled from Merriam-Webster):

1 : prejudice or discrimination based on sex; 2 : behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex.

I think the very thing the Girl Geek Dinners do is go against sexism. We don’t discriminate and we try counter those typical stereotypes placed on women in the corporate sector (specifically industries like technology) while also encouraging open dialogue and education. It’s an interesting discussion that has touched a cord with me. Recently I was made aware that a few of my (male) colleagues in the industry had verbalised that Tech Girl, as a blog, was anti-feminist. That the content I was producing went against everything it should stand for. It’s an interesting thought really. This blog was built by me from the ground up and anything it stands for is what I stand for. What should it stand for? Blogs are an extension of ourselves and so they can only really embody our own thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I’ve always felt confident in my space as a woman crafting content in the gaming and technology space. Because of this confidence I’ve also been able to embody a sense of humour and been able to take a tongue in cheek look at certain aspects of the industry. I like that about me and, I hope, others like that about the blog. I’m proud of what I produce and proud of the spare time I’ll happily sacrifice to hunting down sponsors for an event like the Girl Geek Dinners or helping a fellow woman fight a Tinder battle.

I think this is what the Girl Geek Dinners are about.

Girl Geek Dinners
Our speaker Lori Milner
They’re not about sexism, or discrimination of women in the tech space or about one upping your social network. They’re about a group of women helping each other love who they are. They’re about us supporting and uplifting one another in a space that is fun and friendly. They’re about all the good we sometimes miss.

It’s a special organisation and one I’m proud to be apart of.

Girl Geek Dinners

So to answer the initial question: no, the Girl Geek Dinners are most definitely not sexist.

They’re a fantastic opportunity for us to uplift one another, women or men, in a fun space over a good glass of wine. You also get to take home a really great goodie bag packed with some great products. This last dinner saw a voucher from AlwaysOn (I spent mine in the airport on the way to rAge), a sample can of Batiste dry shampoo (my go to after gym), funky socks from ToePorn, a Cadbury PS bar and vouchers from Take Charge SA, Placecol, Poise Brands and the Blogger workshop happening in Johannesburg later this month.A

Girl Geeks in the news!

Girl Geeks: Tech-savvy sisters are doing IT for themselves
Roxanne Henderson | 10 December, 2014 00:22

The Cape Town dinners started in 2010 and spread to Johannesburg the following year. All women are welcome.

Suhaifa Naidoo and her tech-savvy sisters got so sick of women being overlooked in the IT industry that they have set up their own “social network” – a hugely popular dinner club that caters exclusively to girl geeks.

Cape Town is an IT hotspot, one that is buzzing with start-ups, programmers and multinationals shopping for cheap developers.

But the industry has largely been a boys-only playground. According to researcher Adrian Schofield of Wits University, industry experts estimate that only 20% of jobs in IT are occupied by women.

Now Girl Geek Dinners, a non-profit networking organisation, is providing an “in” for women who might otherwise have remained on the fringe of tech.

The bimonthly event in Cape Town has grown from hosting 40 women to more than 100 , with many having to be turned away. The Johannesburg dinners are similarly popular, with the year’s final soiree earlier this week fully booked.

The Cape Town dinners started in 2010 and spread to Johannesburg the following year. All women are welcome.

”It’s not unusual to have a digital media strategist sitting between a beauty blogger and a head of communications,” said Johannesburg tech journalist and regular dinner guest, Stacey Vee.

With the help of sponsors, Naidoo is drawing high school and university students into the circle too.

An aspiring computer scientist and matric pupil from Langa, Simbulele Lobese, said: “[Men] think women can’t do IT. When I started doing IT at school the boys told me, ‘You are going to drop out,’ but we’re showing them we can do it.”

Students who attend the dinners are often hired as interns after networking with successful women in the industry.

Next year, Naidoo plans to go to schools in the Cape and teach female pupils how to create LinkedIn and Twitter accounts that boost their career prospects.

See girlgeeksofjhb.co.za or ggdcpt.com

Time to get your social media on? Here’s a special offer for our Girl Geeks

When it comes to digital marketing, social media always dominates the conversation. A few of our girl geeks are quite active in the social media space and we often use Twitter at our events for competitions and general conversation. Social media is also used widely by businesses to reach consumers.

Social Sessions is running a workshop on 17 and 18 October, which takes you through the basics of social media, how to create a social media strategy and the digital design skills necessary for visual appeal in the social media game.

They are also providing a special offer to the Girl Geek community – if you book and pay before 4 October 2013, with the promo code “GGDJHB”, you will receive 10% off the purchase price!

See more info and buy a ticket through their website: http://www.socialsessions.co.za


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

A Fantastic Geeky Event

The Girl Geek Dinners have proved to be extremely popular in Jozi, and our September event was no exception. Tickets were quickly sold out for the event and what a night it was!

Girl Geeks were welcomed with a stunning drink provided by The Reciprocal Wine Company. They are importers of a stunning range of international wines. Later on in the evening, there was an opportunity for wine tasting. They also offered up a fantastic prize!

Leigh-Ann (Event Organiser) & Tarryn (Reciprocal Wines)

We have to thank our venue – the fantastic Moemas for supporting us! The menu was absolutely amazing – if you are looking for a fab spot for dinner (or lunch, or any food really!) you won’t be disappointed.

Our speaker for the evening was the lovely Sarah Britten (or @Anatinus as she is known on Twitter). She shared her insights into being a brand ambassador for Land Rover in SA and on social media in general, as well as her amazing lipstick art!

Our goodie bags were once again full of awesome things. Thanks to our sponsors: Moemas, Reciprocal Wines, Glossybox, Wireless Wipes SA, Brainstorm Magazine and Cadbury Bubbly chocolate. A special mention to those that sponsored prizes too: Glossybox gave three lovely boxes away & Reciprocal Wines for their wine decanter.

In November, Girl Geek Dinners in Jozi turns one and we plan to celebrate! Save the date for our last dinner for the year – 21 November 2012.

Until then!


Event Organiser

Girl Geek Dinners JHB