On Oct. 24, more than 70 girls from three area high schools visited ConocoPhillips’ corporate headquarters in Houston for the first-ever Girls Talk Tech Fest — an inspiring day of presentations, tours, hands-on activities and interactions with employees and company leadership.

Mike Pfister talking to group of young women
Chief Information Officer Mike Pfister hosts a Q&A session.

The event was hosted by Girls Talk Tech, a group of ConocoPhillips women in technology roles who are passionate about educating, encouraging and inspiring young women to embrace technology.

The day kicked off with breakfast and a keynote presentation by sponsor Diana Ramberansingh, manager, Enterprise Application Services. The girls then teamed up and chose team names: the Boolean Bats, Pythonistas, Data Divas and Code Crunchers were top choices. Volunteers escorted the teams through a rotation of activities, including a Microsoft Makecode Arcade game and a virtual reality experience hosted by Amazon Web Services. Also in the mix were tours of the office, an employee panel and lunch in the cafeteria. The day ended with insights, encouragement and a lively Q&A session with Chief Information Officer Mike Pfister.

student using virtual reality device

“This event was a first for our company, and we were all so impressed by the level of engagement shown by these high school girls,” said Pfister. “To see their excitement and interest in technology careers was inspiring to those of us who have been doing this for years. If these girls represent the next generation of female leaders in technology, the future is bright indeed.”

Feedback from the girls was overwhelmingly positive:

— I really had fun and feel so much better about my future and what I might decide to do.

— Love the people. I want to come back soon!

— This event has helped widen my perspectives of the STEM field. I have a better idea now what path I should take for my future.

Formed in 2018, Girls Talk Tech has already made an impressive community impact. In 2019 alone, the group reached over 250 girls through panel discussions at local high schools. Presenters bring lunch and invite girls to attend a discussion. Each panelist shares about her life, interests, educational and career paths, and her role at ConocoPhillips. They then open the floor for Q&A.

smiling student in foreground with laptop

“The real conversation takes place once we stop talking,” said Keleigh Maddox, analytics analyst and Girls Talk Tech charter member. “We love seeing their eyes light up when they hear about the opportunities available to them.”

The group is busy planning activities for the coming year, including more high school visits, a coding camp, and, of course, the 2020 Girls Talk Tech Fest.

students at computer screens

“Girls Talk Tech is an outstanding example of our commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said Ramberansingh. “This group’s work supports our efforts to diversify our workforce and bring new perspectives to our business. We want girls to know they can be part of an exciting future in technology. We’d love nothing more than to welcome some of these girls as colleagues someday.”

For inquiries, please contact the group at GirlsTalkTechHouston@conocophillips.com.