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An Inside Out Success: Techbridge Event at Pixar Raises Over $100,000

From the time that they are very young, girls open their eyes and ears to the world around them. They take in the messages each day at school, at home, and on TV about society’s standards of girlhood and the complications of what that means today. We know that these messages are internalized and highly shape the voices inside girls’ heads. We also know that when we connect with young girls early—instilling in them determination, resilience, and self-confidence—we can help positively influence these voices inside their heads.

Pixar, too, knows this, and the heart of their newest movie Inside Out shows the power of messages and the importance of our invisible emotions. This spring, Techbridge partnered up with Pixar to host “A Very Inside Out Evening at Pixar to Empower Girls through Tech,” a pre-release screening of Inside Out to bring the community together to support girls and make a stand for providing positive and encouraging messages to our youth. The screening was a fantastic way to bring together familiar and new faces, raise money for our programs, and highlight issues of equity in technology and engineering.

We were delighted to partner with Pixar for this event to increase our community of individuals and organizations that support Techbridge and our girls. Our generous sponsors helped make the event possible: Symantec at the Platinum Level; Chevron, Best Buy, and Slalom Consulting at the Gold Level; Lockheed Martin, and Wells Fargo at the Silver Level; The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa, Hood & Strong, The Paul Scammell Foundation, at the Bronze Level. This support ensured that 100% of funds raised through ticket sales and auction items would go directly to programs that support Techbridge girls in STEM. 

On that note, we are thrilled to share that the event raised over $115,000 – enough to fund an entire year of after-school programming for 70 girls! We are immensely grateful for everyone who contributed any part in this wonderful evening, as this support from the community in funding and presence shows a stand being made to lift up the voices of girls and empower them to believe in their abilities despite any obstacles ahead. 

Event tickets sold out in record time, largely due to the efforts of a wonderful group of influencers who stepped up to serve on our Host Committee, sponsor the event personally and spread the word: Our deepest thanks to Kim Ondreck Carim, Bambi Francisco, Matt Furman, Lyn Gomes, Susan Kimberlin, Jane MacKenzie, Jules Maltz, Ann Miura-Ko, Colleen Wheeler McCreary and Sheryl Sandberg.

Guests came from the Bay Area, throughout California, and across the country –joining with friends and family to support a movement of inspiring girls and creating opportunity. In the week before the event, crews of volunteers came to Techbridge headquarters to assemble goodie bags, auction items and final details for a memorable evening that would show the Techbridge community what can happen when you empower girls to believe in themselves and each other. 

On the day of the event as guests started to stream into the Steve Jobs Building at Pixar Animations Studios, we beamed with pride to see Techbridge girls running jitterbot stations and golf ball mazes that they engineered, and saw guests’ faces light up at they attempted the activities. We saw folks bidding on and winning remarkable silent auction items generously donated for the event such as a an Inside Out Poster signed bydirector Pete Doctor or an exclusive tour of Tesla Motors. We saw longtime Techbridge supporters and new friends discussing important issues about equity in technology and engineering, girls, education, and after school programs. Most of all, we were overjoyed to see people come out of the woodwork to celebrate and support girls and do so while having fun. And this was before the movie even started! 





Once people filled the theatre and sat down, Techbridge CEO and Executive Director Linda Kekelis summed up why we all were sitting in that auditorium together, and why we must continue this necessary work. “To change the minds and hearts of girls, we need to engineer a revolution. We need to nurture girls’ interest when they’re young, then help them hold onto to that interest through middle school and high school, and into college. Along the way they will hear voices inside their heads—do I belong in this class when everyone already knows so much more than me? Can I find happiness in a career in tech?

“At Techbridge we are committed to influencing those voices and replacing the doubts with confidence.  We are working to make sure that girls will want to take their rightful place in technology, and be inspired and prepared to be the innovators of tomorrow.”


“At Techbridge we are committed to influencing those voices and replacing the doubts with confidence.  We are working to make sure that girls will want to take their rightful place in technology, and be inspired and prepared to be the innovators of tomorrow.”

The movie, Inside Out, from Academy Award Winning Director Pete Docter, follows as 11-year-old girl Riley gets in touch with her emotions during a difficult transition in her life moving from Minnesota to San Francisco. Starring the voices of Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, and Bill Hader, Inside Out continues with Pixar’s tradition of making movies that are equally entertaining for kids as they are poignant and emotional for adults. After the showing, we were lucky to hear from four women who had technical roles in the production of the film:  Angelique Reisch, Lighting Technical Director; Athena Xenakis, Shading Technical Director; Danielle Feinberg, Director of Photography; and Fran Kalal, Cloth & Simulation Technical Director. In the panel, moderated by Techbridge National Advisory Committee member Bambi Francisco Roizen, the Pixar women lent their time to discuss their experience as women in technology, what it’s like to work as a woman at Pixar, the ever-evolving work-life balancing act,  and how to help girls and young women think about studying technical animation or tech in general. Their words were insightful and eye-opening, and showed us just how much work goes into making these magical films.



At the close of the panel on the night of the event, Techbridge Board Chair Kim Ondreck Carim echoed Linda’s opening remarks with a call to action that we seek to reiterate again, “I hope there is now a little voice inside your head saying ‘I want to do everything I can to support this important work to empower girls.’  Because it’s a long road from curious elementary school girl to confident college graduate with a STEM degree, to role model, and it’s going to take support from people like you to bring more girls along that road.” 


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