When I first heard of the networking event Geek Girl Dinners Ottawa I remember thinking I wish I had thought of that. What a great idea; bring together women in technology to network, learn and connect in an engaging and interesting format. I loved the concept when it launched in 2009 and have a tonne of respect for the founders Veronica Giggey, Kelly Rusk, and this month's Woman of Wonder, Melany Gallant.
Purposely try to connect with one another....we have to help each other and promote the women who are doing it
Melany is a 14 year Communications veteran who met, and fell in love with, social media in 2006. Since then, it's been a love affair that has changed the nature of her career. Melany is currently the Public Relations Manager at Halogen Software and a great portion of her job includes managing and administering the various social media channels Halogen uses. Specifically Melany is experimenting with using social media to engage customers in the Human Resources industry and is very client centric. This includes blogging about customer successes using Halogen products.
In 2006 Melany started Women 2.0 which was eventually rebranded as Geek Girl Dinners, an offshoot of the London Geek Girl Dinners initially started by Sarah Blow. "There were bar camps and events happening in Ottawa, but there was no involvement by women," explains Melany. "We wanted to create a monthly event to get women together to talk about business and technology in a safe environment." The goal was to feature fascinating women and women leaders.
You are not an island; surround yourself with people who can help you
And it worked. Their success was phenomenal; events were sold out and people (men and women alike) loved it, just as I did. And from this experience Melany has developed a wonderful network of impressive, interesting women locally; women she admires and respects.
Although Melany and her co-founders have passed the Geek Girl Dinner torch to Samantha Hartley, the event remains dear to them. Melany, along with her role at Halogen, has recently begun volunteering for a Social Capital Conference which is taking place June 1st 2013 in Ottawa. Given her love of social media this is a natural fit for her current passions and aspirations. Since it's an annual conference Melany doesn't have to be away from her family like she did when the GGD took place monthly during the evenings and it allows her to contribute to the social media community, as well as providing a learning opportunity.
The blog acts almost like a diary for me
Outside of work, social media and being a networking whiz Melany is the mum to a 3 year old girl and has a hubby who supports her passions and ambitions. "Folding laundry is not a priority for me," explains Melany. " I want to be a well-rounded person and that means not stressing about things like laundry." In fact, Melany started her own blog where she shares her experience being a parent, a working mom and a social media junkie. "The blog acts almost like a diary for me," Melany confides.
So what has Melany learned about herself throughout this process? "I recently discovered that I am an introvert. Despite organizing the GGD events and the Social Capital Conference I am someone who likes to be in the social circle but not the focus," she adds. "It is my goal to continue supporting the Social Capital Conference and the social media community. I am still working out what the next big thing is and I am taking steps to get there."