Opening Remarks From The 2020 Digital Inclusivity Summit

Carolyn Leighton

December 13, 2020

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"And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed." -- Kitty O'Meara

As the vaccine is now being distributed and the light is at the end of the tunnel, I want to
congratulate you all for your determination, your stamina, your persistence, your love and your compassion as you took care of business. But you also took care of the people you report to, your co-workers and sometimes even your bosses. And you took care of your families and friends.

But did you take care of yourself? I want to encourage you as you participate in the coming three days to do that. Come, be thoughtful, be intentional. Absorb the knowledge, the wisdom and experience of those around you. Come and be filled with hope, compassion, knowledge and thought. It is at this pivot point in our history that we need the best of each of you to forge the path forward out of this chapter in our histories.

"WITI's Digital Inclusivity Summit: Reinventing our Future!" What does this mean?!? While it is a collection of words we use everyday....what is the objective of this Summit? And more importantly....what IS the emotion, the compassion....the spirit of this summit?

Well, the way I see it, and the way the thought-leaders of this summit envisioned it, this is the place where we stop talking about and start figuring out how we include as many women as possible in the global Digital Economy. Because, if we do,we change the game for women and children around the world and therefore the future of the world.

What exactly does that mean? It means it does not matter if you are in a hut in Uganda, an underserved disenfranchised community in the United States or you have a physical disability in Czechoslovakia. You can, you should and you must be part of the Digital Economy.

If that is what needs to be done, the 'How' is much harder. We need each and every one of you to be your strongest self, so you can help us find these answers. The 'how'. So, as you participate in this Summit and 'take care of yourself.' My first ask is that you think about what we can do to include more women in the Digital Economy by removing all barriers.

So, if we need you to be your strongest self. That is where WITI comes in.
WITI, in everything we do, is all about supporting you to be your strongest self. It also means through the life cycle of each woman -- from classes in elementary school through University and through her career and onto Boards -- WITI must continue to evolve to support women in technology every step of the way.

As we move through the coming three days, my second ask is that you think how WITI can support you in your journey every step of the way. We are open and want all of your ideas. Get involved, get engaged in WITI and let's see where the world of technology can take us all.

Thank you for all that you do, as I will never get tired of associating with the talented accomplished women in technology that make WITI the amazing organization that it is today. I wish you the very best in life.

So Let's make "new choices, and dream new images, and create new ways to live" together.

Enjoy the conference.

If you miss the conference you can see it on our Youtube Channel. Don't forget to subscribe.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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