International trends: #WeAreInnovators: Lisa Mae Brunson
How did Wonder Women Tech come about?
The vision for Wonder Women Tech developed through years of creating campaigns and initiatives focused on equality for women and the underrepresented. It has been my life’s work to help those who have remained under the radar and have had little to no support to create success and develop their careers. The media and technology are the pathways to creating global change and it is why I focus on these industries. What began as a ‘once off’ event grew into a global ecosystem that has become the Wonder Women Tech (WWT) Foundation. As I was producing the first WWT Conference in 2014, I discovered so many women were raising their hands to participate and share their stories of how they innovate in the world. It became clear that a platform like Wonder Women Tech was not only needed, it was vital. Four years later, we have impacted over 10 000 attendees, cultivated an organic social media and online network of over 50 000 people and expanded our vision globally. In 2019, we will launch our first LatinX summit in Brazil as we explore the theme #WeAreFuture, and in 2020, we have our sights set on Africa as we engage our theme #WeAreLegacy.
How are your events changing the industry for women in technology?
What I love about Wonder Women Tech is that we directly engage and partner with governments and leaders who are directly creating policy and change. That has been our birthmark from day one. We work closely with mayors, governments, and organisations, as well as Fortune 500 companies, universities and schools, to dig deeper into the challenges women in tech face, as well as provide a variety of opportunities for career development, empowerment, and mentorship. We don’t produce events, we create environments where change happens and legacies are made!
How did #WeAreInnovators come about and how is it inspiring women?
Our conference themes have always reflected the programming we want to explore and the people we want to meet and highlight. They are mini declarations of who we are as change makers, innovators, and pioneers who are shaping the future and creating a legacy. I think our themes inspire women and the underrepresented to recognise who they are in the world and what they are capable of. When we make bold statements such as `We Are Innovators!’, we can tap into the infinite potential of who we are as powerful women.
What advice would you give to someone here in South Africa who wants to be part of this movement?
Show up! Volunteer! Don’t be afraid to raise your hand to be part of a movement you feel passionate about. Take the time to learn more and step outside of your comfort zone. Start small and do something daily that will help you reach your goals. Together, we will create the change we wish to see in the world. It takes a village to do this work. So if you have the time, the skills, the resources to contribute to a larger movement and vision, do it! You are important to this work.