Christine Herron is one of the blog panel participants. First I added Christine to the panel because of what she's not. She isn't a VOIP blogger. She isn't looking at VOIP the way we have covered it in the past, and oh yes, she's not a guy.
As a guy I'm tired of the boys club approach to technology and technology conferences as a whole. Sure there are Women in Technology, but most of them are stuck and relegated to positions where they are on the service the guys side. "PR fluff," "booth babes" or just "eye candy." But where is the perspective from the "better half" of society?
This is a new era and I don't mean the feminist/femi-nazi one either. That stuff won't fly here. What I'm talking about is brains, savvy and the ability to tell the story. That's why Christine is on our panel. To help shake things up. Provide other views. My old neighbor Kelley used to always bring up the idea of "curb appeal" when we would talk about technology products, the way to get the woman to buy in...she would say "we think about things differently." My fiance Helene, says "we're wired differently." So while some guys will say they are in touch with their "feminine side" it's usually more of a sign that they admit to having empathy and can relate to women. Face it guys. They're not just here to look at or to fetch coffee....(i.e. Melanie Griffith in Working Girl)
In looking at the VON speakers list I found about a dozen women on the dais. AT&T's Katherine Bagin who is an old friend (and wine pal), Net2Phone's IR princess Sarah Hofstetter who has branched out on her own, and a few from the big telcos, some analyst types and one or two small firms make up the baker's dozen.
In sports we used to say you know you've made it when there is a line on you in Las Vegas. In trade shows you know you've made it when the woman are in equal numbers and on equal footing. I have to believe there are more than 12 articulate, insightful and knowledgeable women in VoIP..but where are they? Hopefully they show up at the panel on Friday...and contribute, just like Christine will....otherwise, don't be mad if someone calls you "candy" or "babe."