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November 07, 2018
Women in XR: Encouraging women's involvement in XR field
By: Raffaella Camera

Panelists share career experiences at Accenture-sponsored event

“It’s so encouraging to hear women’s insights about their careers in the XR field.
I’ve been to so many AR/VR conferences where there are no other women.”

—XR founder and attendee at Accenture’s Women in XR event

In September 2018, I was invited to serve as an Advisor to the Women in XR (WXR) venture fund along with my Accenture XR colleague Jason Welsh. The quote above explains why this role is so important to me.

WXR was started in 2017 by three women entrepreneurs with deep immersive technology experience. The organizational charter is to provide venture capital funding, pitch showcases, educational programs, mentorship and community to promote gender-balanced representation in the XR space.

As a member of the advising board alongside successful venture capitalists and technologists in the XR industry (see full list here), Jason and I will support the growth and representation for women in XR while helping to determine investment and enterprise-level partnership opportunities to expand the fund’s reach and positive impact.

The role closely aligns with my strong personal belief that equal representation is a kick-starter for true innovation: it takes a variety of approaches, viewpoints and skills from both women and men to create new solutions in immersive tech.

So, it’s a benefit for everyone – men included – to grow the representation of women at all levels of an organization and to welcome their differing style and contributions. It also reinforces Accenture’s deep commitment to gender equality. Accenture set a global goal to achieve a gender-balanced workforce--with 50 percent women and 50 percent men by 2025—and the company is making steady progress towards that goal.

Elevating women in XR
As part of Accenture XR’s new partnership with WXR, we sponsored a Women in XR event on September 20, 2018. Approximately 125 people attended the invitation-only event—60 percent women and 40 percent men—including founders, investors, corporate leaders and students. It fittingly took place at The Cube, a co-working space in Vancouver dedicated to people working in the XR field.

In addition to experiencing new VR/AR demos, attendees participated in a panel discussion on “Charting the Course: The journey to becoming a leader in XR,” with myself and three other women leaders in the industry: Jean Luo, Head of Augmented Reality Product Monetization, Snap; Amy LaMeyer, investor and advisor to start-ups in AR/VR, AI, cybersecurity and music tech; and moderator Martina Welkhoff, Women in XR (WXR) Fund co-founder.

In a candid, inclusive and non-confrontational style, we shared our unique perspectives about our journey in emerging technology leading to our current XR role, and the importance of receiving and providing mentorship in our careers. We openly discussed challenges and lessons learned along the way, and why each one of us got into immersive technology in the first place.

When asked what they would tell themselves if they could rewind to the beginning of their career, my co-panelists offered this advice:

  • Martina—"Invest in community and be willing to take risk. When I was starting my business at age 25, I knew people who had my back and I could turn to for help.”
  • Jean—"Don’t be scared. Speak up for yourself and ask for what you want.”
  • Amy—"There’s a lot of time in your career. You don’t have to be exactly right. When you make mistakes, you learn more than when you’re successful.” .”

My thanks to these strong and insightful women for all that they do for the XR community and the technology industry at large. And kudos to the audience members, both men and women, who thanked the panelists afterwards for being so open and inclusive about the topics.

To learn the latest from Accenture XR, visit our site.

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