There are networking events, and there are fashion events, and rarely the twain shall meet... unless you were meeting at the the first-ever Elle Magazine Women in Tech dinner at Quince Restaurant. Celebrating the X-chromosomes of tech leaders and changemakers profiled in the magazine's July issue, the evening honored thirteen distinguished women at the top of their game in both function and form. These women were bold, bright, beautiful, and badass in the very best sense, an unstoppable force of femininity and feminism that coalesced the glamorous group of Silicon Valley and San Francisco powerhouse guests into a temporary sorority on steroids.
As host of the evening sponsored by Verizon, Elle Editor-in-Chief Robbie Myers adroitly attended to the thirteen honorees, and ensured that introductions were made all around. If you need to crowdfund your concept, go get Danae Ringelmann, founder of Indiegogo. If you want to grab a byte from an engineer with 1.46 million Twitter followers, find Padmasree Warrior, CTO and Chief Strategy Officer at Cisco Systems. Danika Laszuk of Jawbone can set you up with the latest wearable technology, Sarah Friar of Square can create a whole new credit category, and Caterina Fake can serve up startups like Findery, Flickr, and Hunch. Want to meet the Martians? The perfectly named Gwynne Shotwell, President of Space X, can advise you how to pack for the eight-month voyage. (Her don't miss tip? BYOA -- Bring Your Own Atmosphere.)
Although many of the honorees and guests had only met that evening, it did not deter a rapid-fire download of meta-data about what mattered: how to get more women enrolling in engineering institutions, how to negotiate VC funding, how to get changed for a fancy dinner in an airport bathroom, which Kleiner Perkins' Juliet de Baubigny had just done just prior. And because these were women at the top of their game, they didn't shy away from the really big questions: handling difficult shareholders, managing multiple mentorships, and finding drop-dead shoes that don't make your feet numb.
No topic was off the exquisitely set table, thoughtfully equipped with ipads containing bios of the honorees and detailed descriptions of Chef Michael Tusk's exquisitely refined dinner, a test for even the most diet-conscious: tomato fantasia with herbs and basil gelee, lobster-corn risotto, a choice of wild seabass or spring lamb, and a Mars-worthy red planet of a dessert that used glassblowing techniques to render a perfect sugar sphere containing rose, lychee and berry cream. Guests lingered over cappuccino to exchange ideas, ID's and Instagrams, Tweeting and tagging one another like it was schoolyard recess. It was an unusual night in the Valley, and nobody wanted to disband the temporary girl group of stars that Elle Magazine had put at the top of the charts.
Also honored: Jessica Livingston, Cofounder and Partner, Y Combinator, Jennifer Pahlka, Founder and Executive Director, Code for America, Alison Pincus and Susan Feldman, Cofounders of One Kings Lane, Kara Swisher, Co-Executive Editor, Re/code, Genevieve Bell, VP of User Experience for Intel Labs, and Grace Woo, Founder for Pixels.IO. An equally accomplished guest list included actress Rashida Jones, Valley Girl Jesse Draper, plastic surgeon Carolyn Chang, Silicon Valley Bank's Michelle Draper, PR powerhouse Brandee Barker, travel titan Ruzwana Bashir, venture capitalist Gina Bianchi, photographer and bon vivant Douglas Friedman, Facebook's Libby Leffler, Elle Publisher Kevin O'Malley, lawyer and lobbyist Heather Podesta, retailer Sissie Twigs, chic Shoptiques Olga Vidisheva, Anne Waterman, Elle's Fashion Director Samira Nasr, TechCruch's Sarah Buhr, startup advocate Julie Samuels, and Enscient's Shelly Kapoor Collins. Space X's Gwynne Shotwell brought along her Stanford student daughter Anna Gurevich, whose poise and enthusiasm reinforced the evening's unspoken theme, that these girls are just getting started as stars of the tech universe, breathing the amazing atmosphere of their own creation