Charlottesville Women in Tech hosted the inaugural SWITCH ON! summit Friday at CitySpace.

A morning session, open to all community members, featured presentations on the status, needs and accomplishments of women in the Charlottesville technology community. An afternoon session offered a women-only workshop with activities aimed at augmenting professional networks and career opportunities.

Speakers at SWITCH ON! included Charlottesville city councilor Kathy Galvin; Pamela Norris, executive dean at the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering & Applied Science; Gwen Murphy, executive director of KPMG Global Lead Business Technology Services; Megan Healy, Chief Workforce Development Advisor for Va. Gov. Ralph S. Northam.

Norris said communicating the social impact of engineering jobs is critical to recruiting and motivating a more diverse workforce.

“Tell people how your work makes a difference,” Norris said. “Talk about the people you work with, not the equations you work with.”

Galvin said women often struggle with choices between obliging others and acting in their own self-interest.

“It is a feeling of burial, almost, when you know how hard you have worked to get something through and over and over again you are sidestepped. You get muted and you get muzzled. And that is a detriment to the entire culture,” Galvin said. “It is okay to promote yourself.


Josh Mandell graduated from Yale in 2016 and has been recognized by the Virginia Press Association with five awards for education writing, health, science and environmental writing and multimedia reporting.