On one Thursday in every month, women from the Georgia Tech community gather at Ferst Place, a restaurant located across from the Student Center ballroom, to dine together and engage in discussions oriented around professional development, ambitions and the everyday experiences women share at the school. Organized by the Women of Georgia Tech Employee Resource Group (WoGT), Chat Over Chicken aims to provide a comfortable environment for campus women to network.
At a typical Chat Over Chicken event, attendees sit at tables with six to eight other women, including a table host to complement the natural ebb and flow of healthy conversation. Each tabletop includes a list of topical questions and conversation pieces pertaining to women at the time of the event — upcoming performance reviews and strategic planning at the start of the new year, for instance — but dialogue tends to flow naturally and take on many different directions.
The event was established in response to feedback from WoGT members, who expressed a desire for informal, natural ways to network on campus. Following positive feedback from a pilot event in August 2018, where organizers were able to witness the supportive environment and valuable conversations that ensued, Chat Over Chicken has become a monthly staple at Ferst Place.
“In the very first Chat Over Chicken, one member was talking about a new certification she was working on and contemplating how she could use these new skills to continue and grow at Tech,” said Amy Duke, engagement co-chair for WoGT. “As she was outlining all these goals she had, another person standing there essentially said, ‘well, I’m the director of that here at Tech, and here’s what I think.’ It was worth doing this because these two people would not have interacted in any other way naturally, and they were put together in an opportunity to help one another. It’s those kinds of things that I find exciting.”
Following the success of the event over the past seven months, the organizers hope to extend the event to meet the needs of women from areas such as Tech Square. In the immediate future, the event will likely be expanded to include more registrants.
“Tech is such a widely distributed place, and departments can end up siloed because we’re all heads down, trying to accomplish so many goals. These opportunities to be in the same place are incredibly important to share best practices and make new associations,” Duke said.
Chat Over Chicken is open to members of the Georgia Tech community. Students and employees may register to attend through the invite on the Georgia Tech Daily Digest or sign up to the mailing list on the Employee Resource Group (ERG) website, diversity.gatech.edu/erg.