I’ve been in the tech industry for the last 10 years. Not as an engineer but as a sales person selling and managing high performing software sales teams. I’ve worked for organizations that preached the need for more women in tech and leadership. After attending the AWS conference last week, my eyes were opened to the bubble I had been living in. I finally understand why there is so much talk about needing more women in tech. Walking into the conference I felt a little out of place. You see I was one of just a handful of women walking the halls of Reinvent in what felt like a sea of men.

So why would I attend reinvent if I wasn’t an engineer? Well, I’m a first-time founder and a few weeks before the conference our company, PartnerTap, deployed our application to AWS. Our application is built for salespeople who partner with other salespeople to close business. We knew with a tradeshow floor of over 300 companies attending we could talk face to face with potential users and learn about how they are partnering with other salespeople to close business.

As we walked the tradeshow floor we learned a lot about our demographic. What surprised us were the new gadgets, giveaways, and great conversations. During our tradeshow booth exploring I watched my CEO rip off a pair VR glasses mid gaming session before she nearly threw up. We saw Alexa in action in a smart house display room. There were also many drone giveaways. But one of my favorite memories was a connection I made over a drink with a Stanford Professor. During the pub crawl event, this professor taught me how to make polished marketing video’s using only my iPhone. Oh yeah, and did I mention the Alexa echo was just one of the items in my swag bag – now I can call my home “smart.”

AWS ReInvent introduced me to an entire partner network ecosystem that I had little knowledge of prior to the conference. The networking that I took away from that event was well worth the cost of the entrance fee. AWS ReInvent I’ll see you next year.

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