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Young women encouraged to be 'gutsy' at Calgary's Geeky Summit

The annual women in tech conference takes place this Wednesday at Telus Spark

Caroline Paul is the author of Gutsy Girl.

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Caroline Paul is the author of Gutsy Girl.

Caroline Paul is a firefighter, a paragliding pilot, an experimental plane pilot and a best selling author. To her fans she’s likely affectionately known as a Gutsy Girl, after her best-selling book, The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure.

Paul will be setting down her fire axe to speak at the annual Geeky Summit conference for women in tech in Calgary, where she’ll talk about her book and the concept of being a gutsy girl.

Essentially, it comes down to bravery. At a young age, boys are taught to take risks and push outside their comfort zone.

On the other hand, young girls are cautioned away from having these experiences.

“When you’re scared – we’re talking about you’re almost going to die. That’s when you should be scared,” Paul explained. “But women and girls are talking about being scared of fixing a dishwasher, or changing a tire.”

Paul said bravery is learned, it just takes practice.

There are a multitude of books around the topic of bravery, especially to encourage women in the workplace to speak up and be more assertive, but not enough targeted towards young girls.

Gutsy Girl was Paul’s chance to speak to this age group, at an age where they’re more receptive to the message.

“By the time we become women, a lot of challenges we face are with trepidation and fear, because that’s what we’ve been taught,” Paul said. “We don’t have the tools that boys got when they were told to take risks on the playground. Those don’t look like important things – playing on a playground – but boys were encouraged to take risks and girls were encouraged to not take risks. That translates when you become an adult.”

The message falls in line with what Geeky Summit is all about. According to executive director Kylie Woods, this year’s focus for the conference is 'Brave the Ask.'

The goal, through inspiring speakers, discovery sessions and valuable networking opportunities, is to have attendees walk away with a set of practical tools that can be applied to both their personal and professional goals

The day will include everything from Paul’s keynote to women in tech panels and special sessions on how to give and take constructive feedback.

Geeky Summit takes place Nov. 8. For more information, visit www.geekysummit.com.

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