Axosoft started the #ItWasNeverADress movement to empower women and acknowledge that all genders can be equally successful in the tech industry and beyond. Part of this initiative is to inspire the next generation to pursue STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) fields. To help create access and opportunity for STEAM education, Axosoft is hosting a community-focused conference for girls between the ages of 12 and 17. During these critical years, most girls struggle with confidence issues and lose interest in STEAM fields. The inaugural #ItWasNeverADress STEAM Conference will be held on July 18 – 19 2015, and will bring girls from across Arizona together to build their skills, confidence, and interest in STEAM. The goal is to inspire these young women to see that technology can create amazing, impactful change in the world and can also be a lot of fun!
In two days, these young women will learn valuable tools to take on the tech world and the challenges that surround it with consciousness and gusto! The conference will be hosted at Axosoft Headquarters and feature renowned speakers, community leaders and teachers from across the country; cutting edge curriculum; and hands-on, interactive workshops. These young women will learn how to program a game; how to “reprogram” their inner critic and build confidence; how to responsibly use social media and build a personal brand; and how to combat bullying and stereotypes. They will also use engineering skills to create wearable technology, exposing a dynamic and dazzling world where art and technology intersect. Finally, they will use entrepreneurial skills to create a strategy and plan to take what they learn about STEAM back to their schools to request STEAM education in their curriculum. Changes in curriculum may come in the form of clubs, classes, or general guidance as it relates to conference topics. The ambassadors will have the support of an advisory board made up of influential community leaders who they can contact for guidance on an ongoing basis.
Hamid Shojaee founded Axosoft in 2002 as a software project manager frustrated with the tools available. He created the foundation for what is today a powerful, agile project management software used by over 11,000 software development teams across the globe. At the foundation of Axosoft’s tool is the agile methodology. What that means is that the product focuses on people over process, champions collaboration, embraces change, and lends itself to moving quickly, innovatively and consciously. The current CEO, Lawdan Shojaee, has continued to cultivate a culture that mimics this creative software development process. This shines through in Axosoft’s commitment to growing the tech ecosystem in Arizona—and beyond—by hosting codathons, sponsoring agile and developer groups, mentoring, speaking at tech conferences, and creating partnerships with organizations that share their values and mission. They are equally passionate about supporting women in tech and inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs; that’s why they launched the #ItWasNeverADress campaign.
The goal of the #ItWasNeverADress campaign is to start a much-needed conversation about the underrepresentation of women in the tech industry and the inequality that exists for women in many other spaces. It is about shifting perceptions and assumptions of women and the audacious, sensitive, and powerful gestures they make every single day. It’s an invitation to see, to listen, and to challenge social norms. It’s an opportunity to create movement, to start a movement, and to be moved by people’s stories, struggles and disruptions. Itwasneveradress.com was created as an online community for people to come together and share their stories about the challenges, indignities, and triumphs of being a woman in any space. Because of the overwhelming success of the online community, Axosoft was compelled to organize the inaugural #ItWasNeverADress STEAM Conference as a way to continue the conversation in real-life.