*Blog written by Amber Dagit, Business Execution Lead, Eli Lilly and Company. Amber has been a volunteer with Girls Inc. since 2012. She shares her most recent volunteer experience below.


Speed networking anyone?  Can you create a spark in 10 minutes?

The energy was contagious at last Monday night’s Women in IT Career Night! I had the opportunity to recruit 10 career IT professionals to volunteer/host the 25 Young Women in Leadership (YWIL) girls for a night of learning and sharing.  We had one goal = create a spark. As an employee at Lilly, we have a volunteer employee group that has bonded to promote and inspire women in IT-related careers. We wanted to share our real-life experiences and show the diversity of real women in IT. We also wanted to learn what high-school aged girls think about IT, what the barriers are to pursuing IT careers, and how we can help.

What do IT and speed networking have in common? As we were developing the night’s format, we wanted to make it easy and create connections between our volunteers and the YWIL girls. We hosted four tables each focusing on a different IT function: Information Security, Data/Analytics, Infrastructure/Support, and UX Design.  The volunteer’s job was simple – talk about your career path and your field. The YWIL girls came prepared with questions. The volunteers and girls were so engaged that they were disappointed when we rotated after 10 minutes!

After the event, my peers and the YWIL girls felt inspired for the future. I asked the girls as they returned to their bus what they thought – they took away similar inspirations. I heard one YWIL girl tell her friend “I had no idea IT solved problems” and another say “I didn’t know data could be fun.”

I asked the volunteers two questions:

What is one word that describes what you felt as you prepared for the volunteer event?

Before: excited, excited, insights, future, excited, nervous, fortunate, excited, curious, excited

What is one word that describes what you felt after volunteering?

After: energized, inspired, fantastic, future, energized, animated, inspired, inspired, inspired, inspired

The volunteers were animated and grateful for the young women and enjoyed connecting to the future!

The next question….when can we do this again?