This year marked the first time that the Women & Hi Tech Holiday Networking Event was open to the public. Not only did we sell all the tickets to this virtual soiree, we had to add capacity to meet demand! At the end of a stressful year, it was so incredible to welcome members and nonmembers together to celebrate the holiday, lift up the Dayspring Center through generous donations, and talk strategy for 2021.
Recognizing Amazing STEM Females and Volunteers
Women & Hi Tech President Rebecca Bormann welcomed attendees and gave a review of the work of Women & Hi Tech during 2020. This included the first-ever Virtual Leading Light Awards and Scholarship Gala, as well as successful Executive Women’s Forums, ClickSide Chats, and other events in the socially distanced world of COVID.
After Rebecca helped us revisit the successes of the year, Volunteer Director Karen Harris presented the Volunteer of the Year Award to Rabia Khan. As a member of the Women & Hi Tech Communications Committee, Rabia helps as a photographer when Women & Hi Tech can host in-person events. She also helps with making posts to the organization’s website, as well as being a behind-the-scenes genius in all things tech.
Supporting Dayspring Center
Next, the Women & Hi Tech President-Elect Linda Hicks shared that $3,000 for Dayspring Center was collected through event ticket sales. Dayspring Center provides emergency shelter, clothing, and three meals a day for families with children who are experiencing homelessness in Central Indiana. In the past, items were donated in-person at the Holiday Event, or a ticket fee was charged to provide resources to the charity. This year, asking each attendant to make a minimum of a $10 tax-deductible donation at registration led to an amazing outcome.
On December 10th, after the event, Women & Hi Tech Networking Director Dr. Maria Alvim Gaston and Treasurer Ben Phillips were honored to present the check to Dayspring Center. Donations can still be made directly to Dayspring Center Indy.
Women in STEM Organization: Fun, Fellowship, and Our Holiday “Escape”
After the attendees got the great news about the fundraising for Dayspring Center, it was time to celebrate! Dr. Maria Alvim Gaston took over as our official host and led over 100 women and men through introductions, sharing fabulous pajama styles and yummy recipes for hot toddy cocktails and mocktails.
Next, it was time for a one-of-a-kind event experience—a virtual Escape Room! Led by a Women & Hi Tech “travel agent,” the attendees were broken out into groups of 8 or 9 to solve puzzles and try to make their escape.
Everyone ultimately gathered back in the main room for a goodbye wave and to share best wishes for an incredible holiday season. This Holiday Networking Event was a success in every sense of the holiday spirit. Not only did we get to celebrate the year that has passed, we got to amplify the spirit of giving and support the members of our community in need. And, everyone got to have a great time, getting to know each other and working together to solve problems—which every STEM professional loves! We call this a holiday home-run that created many amazing holiday memories we will hold dear for years to come.