June 15th, 2019
GirlCon Chicago

About us

Empowering the next generation of female leaders.
GirlCon is an annual Chicago-based event that takes place in mid-June. GirlCon has breakout sessions from numerous companies that the attendees will have the opportunity to learn from and make connections with. We focus on how technology is a huge factor in EVERY career field, whether it be science, fashion, or anything that students are passionate about. The lack of diversity in STEM is a big issue that everyone on the GirlCon team is striving to fix. The attendees will have a chance to personally connect with companies from many different career paths and gain advice from women in both college and the workforce.
Thank you to everyone who helped make GirlCon 2018 + 2019 possible. We couldn't have done it without you.
Anyone is free to attend
30+ Industry Professionals
We invite incredible women to share their stories
From all over the United States
Future leaders travel from across the country to join in on the excitement
What's on the agenda?
Get ready for an action packed day of discovery, inspiration, and incredible people.
Breakout Session Bios

Tech + AI

Augmented Intelligence, Analytics, Big Data - all leveraging machine learning, neural networks, natural language processing. Learn more about what AI is and how it can be used. Learn from IBM AI, data science, and analytics experts.

Tech + AI Applications

AI can be applied across any industry. Learn through examples of current applications in Music, Food, Fashion and many more! Also we will discuss AI Ethics and transparency.

Tech + Agriculture

With 795 million people suffering from hunger, food security continues to be a problem our world needs to solve. During this session, girls will learn techniques that scientists, farmers, and development specialists are implementing worldwide as the intersection between agriculture and tech expands.

Tech + Astronomy

Come learn about the technologies used in astronomy and space exploration and how the development of these have benefited our lives, as well as how some of these everyday technologies can in turn be used to for scientific discovery and research.
Tech + Art
Learn about Processing, a software sketchbook and a language for learning how to code within the context of the visual arts. At the end of the workshop, participants will have created an abstract visual design that animates based on mouse and keyboard input.
Tech + BlockChain
Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are set to revolutionize the way we interact with the internet. Will you be ready? Come learn all about blockchains, cryptocurrency, and how they will affect a variety of professions. Get a head start with blockchain technology!
Tech + Business
Learn about how Arrive's technology had to evolve as it moved from a B2C to a B2B company, then get a hands-on lesson on how to use SQL to extract data insights to make smart business decisions.
Tech + DesignThink
IBM Enterprise Design Thinking Leader Jill Sherman, will take you through an interactive module of how technology merges with design to meet real needs of users. This is a scalable framework that enables faster development and delivery of numerous differentiated outcomes.
Tech + Journalism
Come explore ideas for political and social change, and discuss which kinds of careers and work can approach these issues. Maira Khwaja, Director of Engagement at the Invisible Institute, works at the intersection of technology, legal strategy, youth development, and journalism to investigate police misconduct and criminal justice.
Tech + Law
Learn about the different types of lawyers that represent technology companies and their careers, such as representing a tech startup from its earliest stages through its funding rounds, hiring of employees, and beyond. Come discuss success strategies for women lawyers and the issues that women lawyers encounter during their careers.
Tech + National Security
Explore the implications of a financial network disruption with a scenario designed by women national security practitioners that will challenge your ability to make critical decisions with limited info and debrief the National Security Council (simulated) after!
Tech + Politics
Software Engineers at the DNC build tools to support all Democratic candidates and their data needs, as well as applications and services to support grassroots organizing, fundraising and voter empowerment. Learn what an Engineer's day to day responsibilities are and what technology support for an election cycle entails, work with some tools currently deployed in political campaigns around the country and understand the big role that tech plays in Democratic wins up and down the ballot.
Tech + Robotics
Come to Tech + Robotics to teach a robot how to complete a maze, using only block programming, a Finchrobot and a maze drawn on paper. Team work and creativity are encouraged!
Tech + Surgery
This is a team-oriented and hands-on workshop to help you gain an understanding of how medical professionals use medical devices to treat patients with a wide variety of conditions. You will also get the opportunity to work with Baxter engineers to program an infusion pump therapy, and learn about how these devices are designed.
Tech + Travel
Ever wonder about the algorithms and history behind booking a flight online? Come to Tech + Travel to learn about the incredible world of online travel!
Tech + Wearables
Many technologies come together to create wearable products like smart watches, fitness trackers, health trackers (ex: Medtronic SugarIQ), and others. Learn about the technologies and approaches to design and use wearables.
Tech + Web-design
User experience (UX) is a critical aspect of web design and of any interface design. Learn about the coding, the design process, the look and feel and the challenges. Think about color blindness, sight issues, and many other challenges.
Tech + Wildlife
We are losing the planet's biodiversity at an unprecedented rate, with factors from the indirect effects of climate change to the direct results of wildlife crime. This makes wildlife conservation an extremely important yet challenging task. Technology, especially AI, has shown to be able to solve some of the most challenging problems to protect wildlife and can do a lot more! Learn and brainstorm how technology can help engage people in wildlife conservation and help fight wildlife crime such as poaching.
GirlCon Leadership
GirlCon would not be possible without the help of our 4 teams composed of incredible students from around the US. Interested in being a part of the behind the scenes magic? Team applications open November 1st!
We invite over 30 speakers from tech industries to share their stories.
Gina M Bennett

Gina Bennett's 30-year career in the Intelligence Community has spanned most every aspect of terrorism. She was featured in the Showtime documentary, Spymasters, the HBO documentary, Manhunt, and in the PBS documentary, Makers: Women Who Make America. She appeared in the cover story of Newsweek's issue on "Women in CIA" and in a variety of media for her first book, National Security Mom.

Ms. Bennett graduated from the University of Virginia and earned a Master's
Degree as a Distinguished Graduate from the US Marine Corps War College. She is an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown and George Washington Universities, a Girl Security Director, and a single mother of five.

Sandee Kastrul

Sandee is the proud president and chief hope officer of i.c.stars, a workforce development organization and a social enterprise. I.c.stars exists to develop change-driven individuals to excel in technology careers and effect change as community leaders. Sandee is also a board member of a start up residential school in Chicago, Ryan Banks Academy and a board member of i.c.stars Columbus. Sandee enjoys working with i.c.stars alums in their entrepreneurial endeavors both for profit and non-profit and is currently working on expanding the i.c.stars model into new cities. Sandee is close to finishing her book, Change and Equity.
Ann Yeung

Ann Yeung is Vice President of Technology at Northwestern Mutual, where she currently heads software engineering teams in imagining and building the next generation digital solutions to enable 7000+ financial advisors; helping create financial security for Americans.

Yeung is a senior technology leader and business strategist with 17+ years of experience in various industries. Yeung's intensive software career includes software engineering, team motivation, change management, mentoring, leadership collaboration, facilitating business performance and results in distribution, tech services, financial, fintech, and insurance industries.

Yeung was named to Crain's 40 under 40 list of 2018, InvestmentsNews' 40 Under 40 list of 2018 and Crain's Tech 50 of 2018 list. She received the ApplaudHer Senior Leadership Award in 2017 from the Women Who Code Network and recently profiled on Crain's Chicago Business.

Yeung holds a bachelor's degree in computer science and mathematics from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She's director of the Women Who Code Chicago Network, a non-profit organization that advocates for and elevates women technologist while leading the conversation on plugging the leaky pipeline for girls in STEM. Ann lives in Chicago's West Loop with her husband, daughter, and furbaby.

2019 Sponsors
If you're interested in being a sponsor for GirlCon, please check out our sponsorship prospectus.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much is GirlCon?
GirlCon is FREE! Registration, swag, food, and everything else is no charge - we want this event to be open for anyone to attend.
When is this event is taking place?
GirlCon 2019 was held on June 15th, 2019 at Google's Chicago office.
What should I bring?
A valid state ID/drivers license (if possible) or a school ID will be required to get into the Google office. Please plan on bringing one.

If possible, please bring a laptop to GirlCon. Water jugs will be provided so feel free to bring a water bottle. Meals, snacks, and drawstring bags will be provided. You can also bring a notebook if you wish to take notes! Otherwise, all that is required is a smile and your passionate strife.
Can parents/guardians come?
Though this event is for high-school girls, if parents would feel most comfortable accompanying, the more the merrier! We will have several volunteers from an array of Chicagoland companies the day of the event.
What forms do I have to fill out?
In order to come to GirlCon, before filling out the registration form, liability forms from our organization, GirlCon Chicago, must be reviewed. These can be found on the main registration page. You will not be able to come to GirlCon without the consent of your parents or guardians. Please read through these forms before registering.
Do I need any previous technology experience for this event?
No experience is required - GirlCon is for everyone.
Who can come to this event?
Though this event is aimed at anyone who identifies as female/non-binary, anyone is able to attend GirlCon, regardless of gender! The conference is primarily aimed towards 8th - 12th grade students.
How should I get to GirlCon?
We encourage attendees to be dropped off or carpool to GirlCon. As we don't have access to Google's parking garage, we suggest that you download SpotHero if you plan on driving yourself!
Have another question?
Please email us at GirlConChicago@gmail.com
GirlCon Chicago
E-mail: GirlConChicago@gmail.com