Winning the Women in Tech Award - Behind the Scenes

About a month ago, I was sent an email from Women in Tech®, an international non-profit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in the tech industry and to helping women embrace technology. I was surprised and delighted to learn that I had been nominated for a 2018 Women In Tech Award for my work in communications, and that the ceremony would be held in Lisbon, Portugal on November 7th. The awards were being held alongside Web Summit, one of the biggest tech conferences in the world.

I was incredibly excited, but admittedly my first thought was “Can I make a trip to Lisbon work right now?” In addition to the expense of last-minute travelling across the world, I also have two kids and a busy business schedule with several new digital strategy clients (as well as many long-term clients) that need my attenion.

Still, I couldn’t pass up the chance to visit Lisbon and attend Web Summit. So I posted a simple query on my Facebook page, asking “Who is going to Web Summit this year?”

I was touched by the way that the tech community in Saskatchewan rallied around one of their members. Within two hours, my good friend (and CEO of Saskatchewan’s first technology incubator, Co.Labs, Jordan organized shared accommodations. Marie Savostianik from Tech West Canada connected me with the Canadian delegation heading to the event. My good friend Greg from TinyEye Technologies offered me an extra ticket to Web Summit. I feel like this is a strong example of how our small-but-mighty group of Sask Techies help each other to succeed.

Not to be outdone, my wider community around Canada and the US kept me on Cloud 9, sending me tons of support through email and social media. I was amazed when the blog post about the awards was shared over 500 times. I can’t thank all of you enough for the online hugs.

As I was preparing for the event, I read the biographies of the other women that were nominated. These are amazing women, doing remarkable things in the world of communications . To be honest, I felt pretty sure that, although the trip was an amazing life experience, the award was out of reach.

Nominees for the international women in tech awards

But any anticipated disappointment was muted when Jordan and I arrived at the location of the ceremony - a beautiful hotel that was quite close to the Web Summit grounds. I knew that regardless of how things shook out, it was going to be a fun night.

Venue of the women in tech awards 2018

During cocktails, we chatted with a dazzling array of Parisians. In a glamorous dining room, over dinner, we got to know the other attendees that were sitting at our table.

Women in Tech 2018 Award ceremony

The laughter was enough to make me feel that the night was already a success.

My table at the women in tech award ceremony

At last the award ceremony began. The “Women in Communications” award was second, and I could barely pay attention to the first category. Although I had convinced myself that I was not going to win, my heart was beating and I was barely breathing.

The presenter stepped up and announced the names of the nominees. The cheers from various tables around the room told me that the other nominees (from Italy, Portugal, and the United States) were in attendance.

The moment came. “And the winner is….” and then she had what felt like the world’s longest pause.

“Katrina German”

Katrina German winner of women in tech award 2019

I genuinely could not believe it. The emotions of that moment will stay with me forever.

Thank you for all of the support from my community, near and far.  - Katrina