Meetup groups are a popular way for people with similar interests to connect. The gatherings usually take place in coffee shops, coworking spaces or bars; less frequently at the home of the President of the United States.
On Friday, community organizers and entrepreneurs from across the country, including two of Philadelphia’s own innovators, gathered in the nation’s capital for the first ever White House Tech Meetup to talk about building a more inclusive technology community.
“Diversity in terms of age, gender, race, and financial background, how to build it is different for every community,” said Corinne Warnshuis, who works out of Philly as the executive director of Girl Develop It, a nonprofit aimed at empowering women to learn technology skills such as coding.
“We shared some best practices and some dos and don’t so it was really awesome and just a huge wealth of knowledge and brain share from across the country,” she said.
Warnshuis said organizers from as far away as Alaska were there representing their communities. The full day of talks and group discussions was led by U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith.
Also representing Philadelphia was Mike Krupit, the co-founder of Philly New Tech Meetup, among the fastest growing tech meetup groups in the U.S. Krupit also runs Trajectify, a company that partners with and helps coach entrepreneurs of young companies and small businesses.
Warnshuis called it an honor to be able to talk about the work that we do everyday, grassroots organizing, at the White House. She said as a meetup organizer, she knows how are it can be to get a group together, but she was confident the gathering would lead to future partnerships.
“My big takeaway is just collaboration that needs to happen. How can we all just share more and more to make sure we’re all being the best tech communities and the most inclusive that we can be?” said Warnshuis.