Almost 3 years ago, I was down-in-the-dumps. Seven months of sickness and the resultant surgery (angry gall bladder) left me (literally) with a bad taste in my mouth and lots of doctor bills. I’d bought my business license and rented an office…but quickly learned that an office, does not a business make. Looking for support and guidance, I turned to meetup.com where I discovered Girls in Tech, Las Vegas (#GITLV).
This week things came full circle when I grabbed a drink with our original Managing Director for GITLV, the lovely Ms. Rosa McGill. I’d forgotten how tall she was, but her infectious delight… I remembered it well. Who could forget? Her childlike wonder mixes with a women’s-empowerment-vibe to create the perfect combination of adorable edginess.
Sitting on the balcony at The Perch, admiring the view of The Container Park, we reminisced about our initial meetup encounters. I used to drive home from GITLV meetings in tears, feeling insecure and unworthy. A recurring story played over and over in my head:
Would I ever find my tribe in Las Vegas? Who was I to sit at the table with such bright, innovative women? Who was I to claim I was some sort of “techie” or “entrepreneur” when my husband was still subsidizing my business? Who was I to think I could shine just as bright as the other members of the group?
The mentorship and inspiration I received from GITLV led me to accept a Co-Managing Director role alongside Ms. Amber Bradley within 6 months of joining the group. Over the past 2.5 years, Amber and I have built a meetup group that is now 610 members strong. The volunteers in the GITLV meetup group have launched several initiatives around the Las Vegas Valley to help CELEBRATE the achievements of women in technology and to get people EXCITED about all things tech.
Last week, I was honored with The 2015 Distinguished Woman of the Year Award in STEM, I have been nominated for next week’s Las Vegas Women in Technology Community Service Award and with my fast-approaching TEDx Talk … it is clear that I have no choice but to change my story. The story has evolved into:
My Las Vegas tribe has been integral to my personal growth and business development. How many other bright, innovative women can I invite to sit at the table? What new techie or entrepreneur skills can I learn to support my business? Who am I to NOT shine just as bright as the other members of the group?
Rosa and I shared business ideas and celebrated our growth, punctuated by the laughter of children playing in The Container Park treehouse. As we parted ways under the setting sun, celebrating our journey with a sister-selfie, I wondered what we would accomplish in the next 3 years. I wondered what our community would accomplish. Thank you Rosa, thank you GITLV, thank you Las Vegas Tribe, for shining your light bright and for serving as a beacon of integrity, support and inspiration for women and for entrepreneurs everywhere. I am proud to be a part of your tribe.
Connect with me on twitter! @luckygirliegirl