Last year, as we celebrated our 3rd anniversary in the wonderful Autodesk Gallery on 1 Market Street, San Francisco, a small group of women in the room decided they wanted more than this one event and that it would be nice to gather every month to have drinks, food, and more 3D printing discussions. And so we started our San Francisco Chapter.
A year later, we now have over 20 chapters, all across the world. Women and men using the technology every day, but also curious about it and looking for an in, are now meeting every month in Australia, Asia, Europe, Africa and all over the Americas, from Canada to Argentina.
If the first 3 years of Women in 3D Printing were mostly carried on the shoulders of a small group of people (I am lucky to have amazing people in my life supporting me, starting with my husband, Oury, and my very good friend Helene), as the blog grew into something else, that I wasn’t able to name until recently, I got surrounded by more people: Celine and Nathalie, who offered to contribute to the blog as writers.
And then something else happened: Women I didn’t know a few months or few weeks before offered to help in a different way: They wanted some of Women in 3D Printing in their local communities. We started in San Francisco, but not even a couple of months after our first SF meetup, we got a gathering in a bar in Paris, where dozens of women showed up. The following month, London was calling!
Before I knew it, this blog I started in December 2014 really became a global community.
Starting something like Women in 3D Printing was very simple and easy for the Millennial I am and I didn’t overthink it when I first set up my WordPress account and started working on the interview of Dilek. The challenges came later, as it started to become something else. I’ve said it a few times in the past already: when I started this blog, I sincerely thought I knew almost all of the women in the industry. I had been working in Additive Manufacturing for 5 years, both in Europe and in the United States, and told myself we’d be maybe 20-30 women in the industry and it wouldn’t take me more than a few months to feature those women on the blog. Perfect for a side project, right?
What a fool I was! 4 years and more than 170 interviews later, we still have hundreds of women to feature! Of course, this is wonderful, but it got me thinking about the reality of this industry in terms of data on diversity. That’s also about the time Sarah Goehrke and I started to have those discussions about the industry, wondering what stage of maturity it was in. After a few drinks and a great discussion, we both agreed pretty quickly we’d need to make our own studies. That’s how the Diversity for Additive Manufacturing report project was born. And just like that, we released our first report of the year in April 2018 and are now working on the end of 2018 semi-annual report.
So, if I were to summarize the year 2018 for Women in 3D Printing, I’d say we’ve actually become a global community. We’ve also decided to contribute not only by telling the stories and by giving a stage to the women in the industry, but by looking into data and tracking progress when it comes to diversity in Additive Manufacturing.
Last but not least, we also incorporated Women in 3D Printing as a non-profit organization and officially welcomed Sarah and Dana McCallum on our Board of Directors.
So, now what?
Now, as we’re celebrating our 4th anniversary, we are taking a month off for interviews and will have fewer events this December as we are regrouping and preparing for 2019.
2019 will be busy pursuing our regular activities: featuring a woman in the industry every Wednesday on our blog, organizing and promoting Women in 3D Printing Happy Hours every month on all continents, and of course, providing more resources, such as the bi-annual reports. You should also hear from us as we continue our monthly international #3DTalk panels organized with our partner Cyant.
We have great new plans for 2019 that we will share in time. If you are willing to help us in our mission to promote women in 3D printing and encourage more women to join this industry, and are willing to contribute any way you can — whether it be volunteering some of your time, doing introduction, donating some funds — I am always available to chat and discuss how we can help you strive.