Hello, I’m Joni

an excitable brand strategist

GDI Has Come to Delaware!

24 October 2015

Girl Develop It has officially come to Wilmington, DE.

I recently teamed up with some amazing local women to bring the organization to Delaware. While there was no shortage of enthusiasm from our team or Wilmington businesses, we initially couldn’t get around a mid 2016 launch due to lack of seed money and the orientation schedule.

That’s where AT&T came in to save the day with their Connect To Good initiative, providing this essential start up funding and we couldn’t be more appreciative.

1313 Innovation has also stepped up to be major sponsor in terms of venue space and refreshment costs. The proceeds from every class conducted get split up in several different directions. Having this essential class space provided at no cost allows us to dedicate more money to super neat things like the scholarship fund.

We recently hosted our meet and greet kick off event and it was … perfect; I tried to think of a less obnoxious word to use here but it’s sincerely the only one that accurately describes what happened.

I wanted to write this post as a thank you to everyone that has made this possible but also talk a bit about how we got here and where we are going.

Why GDI?

I have personally been a dedicated fan of GDI since I began volunteering as a teaching assistant in Seattle a couple years ago. Since then I have gone on to teach classes in Philly and Chicago and speak at various events.

Each experience is better than the last and I’ve realized that being part of a community with these women is a constant source of inspiration and empowerment. There is something so reassuring about being part of such a solid network of women that just completely kick ass and are invested in one another’s successes.

GDI addresses the women in tech disparity through a truly unique and well-rounded approach. It’s too easy to assume there are not many women in tech in your area when you don’t see many at events and classes. Of course there are women in tech in your area, but what are these events doing to make sure all attendees feel as comfortable, safe, and welcomed as possible? Is there any sort of local group for women to gather and encourage each there to attend these events?

The organization provides this needed network and as a result more women feel empowered to learn and take on positions of leadership. So instead of wondering why women are not interested in certain tech events or positions we are left with more women organically seeking out these opportunities on their own.

It’s this super strong community and the equally super high quality, affordable classes that make GDI stand in a league of its own.

Why Wilmington?

Wilmington is an ideal location for a GDI chapter to call home. Everyone has been incredibly welcoming and there’s a solid sense of wanting to make this a better place for innovation and inclusiveness.

While so much of GDI’s success has been achieved through the quality of the classes offered, an equally important contributor is having support from the larger local tech and business communities.

Countless people agreed that the area needed a program like this but they weren’t really sure where to start. Bringing GDI to Wilmington provides the perfect opportunity to get this community for women in tech started.

Many are already familiar with the organization’s work and know what to expect. Having this trust in place from the start has allowed us to get rolling very quickly with 132 Meetup members at the conclusion of our very first social event!

Also, I’m a Delaware resident so I’m invested in the area. The idea of playing any sort of role in making this a better place warms my damn heart <3

Get Involved!

There are several ways to get involved with the organization outside of being a student and I’m already blown away by the excitement that’s been generated so far.

We are currently looking for TAs and teachers. TAing is a great way to get started teaching as you will quickly get familiar with the class structure and curriculum; knowing exactly what to expect makes the prospect of teaching so much less intimidating.

If you are interested in any of these opportunities reach out to us!

Upcoming Classes & Events

Our very first class, Intro to Web Concepts, is scheduled for October 29th, quickly followed by our second class on November 10th, Intro to Git. The initial focus here is higher level foundational classes to help ease into any intro to language classes scheduled for early next year.

Our next social event will be a code and coffee study session taking place on December 2nd. It will be a great place to share your latest project, ask questions, and just chat about what you are up to and how classes are going; keep an eye on the Meetup page for this one!

See You Around

I can’t wait to continue to get to know all our members personally and offer the most rad and helpful course schedule possible. We’ll continually be looking to partner up with local businesses for social events and have already been contacted by employers looking to recruit from the group’s student base; how flipping cool is that?!

All I’ll say to conclude this post is that I will be bringing my WORLD FAMOUS (read: Philly and soon to be Wilmington famous) gluten free cookies to the first few classes.