Blog by Jamie Soon-Kesteloot, Managing Director for Girls in Tech Paris

Girls in Tech is a proud partner of the .HEART social responsibility program organised by Nutanix and we have been invited to attend the .NEXT Europe conference held in Nice, France.  Apart from sponsoring conference passes (worth USD1299 each) to our members, so that Girls in Tech members could be part of this amazing 3-days experience, a luncheon was also organised to honour of women in technology.  During this luncheon, I was honoured to represent Girls in Tech Paris as the guest speaker in my capacity as Managing Director for the chapter, together with Wendy Pfeiffer, CIO of Nutanix, who’s recently been appointed as a Board member of Girls in Tech.

Luncheon in support of women in tech

The luncheon was attended by over 40 women and men with a passion for technology and united support for women in their carreers.  I spoke about Girls in Tech and our mission to “Education,Empowerment and Engagment” females in Science and Technology.  Wendy discussed the importance of embracing our true selves as a female leader, adding a dash of humour with her observation that for once, there was a line at the male’s toilet but not at the female’s – a telling sign of the lack of women in technology.

In a small group, I was intrigued by a conversation on the display of authenticity and vulnerability at the workplace.  Conditioned by the society, many see this as a display of weakness, a no-no for a leader.  I do not agree.  I see authenticity and vulnerability at the workplace as one of the most efficient form of communication. Especially so in today’s context where everyone’s glued to their computer and smart devices, our concentration span for face-to-face communition is getting shorter and shorter.  This makes the extra dose of humanity in our communication even more important, and it helps to build transparancy in communication and a trusting relationship.  Contrary to popular beliefs, I think exposing our vulnerabilities makes us stronger, because awareness is a critical step to self-improvement.





Wendy (in red blazer) with some participants of the luncheon.



For this conference, the Nutanix .HEART program selected four non-profit organisations which they support, and they encourage conference participants to join in the support in a fun and ingenious way.

  • Girls in Tech: A global non-profit focused on the engagement, education and empowerment of girls and women who are passionate about technology.  GIT aims to accelerate the growth of innovative women entering into the high-tech industry and building startups.
  • Movember: Timely as it was in November, Movember is an annual event involving the growing of moustaches to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide.
  • Fabien  Cousteau Ocean Learning Center: Founded in 2016 as a non-profit by world renowned oceanographic explorer, conservationist and documentary filmmaker Fabien Cousteau to fulfill his dream of creating a vehicle to make a positive change in the world.
  • Not impossible:The use of breakthrough technology to imporve the lives of individuals.

How it works?  Each conference participants received one token with their conference goodie pack, and they can ‘earn’ additional tokens by discussing with the exhibitors during the conference.  The more they interact, the more tokens they collect.  They can then choose to donate these tokens to any of the four non-profits they support.  For each token collected, Nutanix engaged to donate 1€ to the non-profit.

Fabien Cousteau supporting Fabien Cousteau.  🙂

According to the conference registration statistics, of the 2300 people who signed up for the conference, only about 10% were women.   What really touched me and opened my eyes was when I realised how many male participants supported Girls in Tech.  For me, at the beginning, it seems very natural that the men supported “manly” causes, and I was not expecting such overwhelming support for Girls in Tech.  I had to keep my unconscious bias in check when so many men and women came up and donated to Girls in Tech.

Why did they?  The various people I discussed with said that they would like to see more women in tech, that it’s important to have more women in tech, and that they have daughters and they hope their daughters will receive the right support should they choose to go into tech.  One participant from UK(sorry I forgot your name) told me that his 8 year old daughter wants to design and build a roller coaster when she grows up.  How amazing !

The result?  Our box was bursting full at the end of the conference!  I’m certainly most pleased for Girls in Tech.  I was also very happy for Movember, Fabien Cousteau OLC , and Not Impossible because together, we raised 11 000€ – surpassing the original target of 10 000€ set by .HEART.










A happy photo with Michele, the Sr. Director for Corporate Social Responsibility at Nutanix and the hardworking organiser behind the .HEART program.


To find out more about the #NutanixHeart Social Responsibility Program, click here.

To find out more about the next Nutanix #NEXTconf, click here.

Blog by Jamie Soon-Kesteloot, Managing Director for Girls in Tech Paris