Commentary & Perspective

GHCI 19 Call for Submissions: A Lot More than Just Making a Submission

Maggie Inbamuthiah, Director of Communities & Programs at IndiaMaggie Inbamuthiah
Director, Communities & Programs ( India)

It is that time of the year. The Grace Hopper Celebration India (GHCI) 19 Call for Submissions (CFS) is open. After pedantically going over every word on the website and every part of the CFS process, the India team eagerly awaits the moment of truth: to see what our community that we love so much comes back to us with. Will we have more submissions this year? What exciting topics are we going to see? From which parts of the country and organizations will we have submissions?

While we have these questions, we are sure all those of you making a submission have several questions too. Is my topic relevant and exciting? Have I done enough? Will my proposal be selected for GHCI 19, the largest technical conference for women in Asia?

We sense the buzz as people tell us about efforts in their organizations to come together and submit papers for the conference. GHCI is a huge draw for women in the region to take a shot at being an author and speaker. The conference exclusively focuses on women in technology. Having been associated with GHCI for several years, I have come to realize that making a GHCI 19 CFS submission is more than just trying to submit a proposal to be a speaker — there is more to it. As I posed this question to many of my tech friends and the community, my conviction only became stronger. The very process of submitting a paper for a conference has a lot to offer with respect to the learning, application of knowledge, collaboration, focused writing, and more. Here is an attempt to sum up this experience for all those who are planning or already working on their GHCI 19 submission.

1. Commitment

The first and foremost aspect of preparing a submission is commitment. Taking something from an idea to implementation is not easy. It is even harder when this is something you are doing in addition to your regular day job and personal responsibilities. Carrying the idea in your head until you put it down on a document with all the necessary details requires commitment. Our minds are full of ideas; our inner space is a chatterbox where a million thoughts rise and fall. Picking one, weighing its content and usefulness, and living with it until it looks complete on a document is a journey that can be satisfying like no other. This in turn boosts your confidence and ability to conceive, discuss, and implement fresh ideas at work.

2. Discernment

Discernment is a wonderful word that implies the ability to sense through what is relevant and important. We make choices all the time in our lives; discernment is the wisdom that helps make the right choice. So what do our best speakers do when they get an idea? They vet it, research it, and affirm that their perspective or work in that field is unique. This requires an awareness and understanding beyond their immediate work environment. It requires tapping into where the technology and the industry are headed. The ability to hold a futuristic thinking and broad perspective are necessary qualities for a great leader and, in this case, a great submission and speaker

3. Visualization

Once you have the right idea and are committed to it, next comes plugging in all the details. The abstract at this stage asks for a 150-word brief description of the idea. But this short version needs to emerge from the final big picture and not the other way around. Digging in and getting a 360-degree view of your idea makes you a real expert while adding a lot of credibility to your submission. This is also where you go out of your comfort zone to get critical feedback.

4. Presentation

A submission is a message — a knowledge repository that is being shared with the audience at GHCI. It is important to think about and connect to the audience while one is creating a submission. Relating to the audience — be it your customer, senior management, or GHCI attendees — is what makes a presentation succeed or fail.

5. Connections

The GHCI format encourages people from different organizations to come together to make a submission. The impact of professional networks is immense. Most of us women are very good at connecting personally and do not really make the same effort to connect professionally. This is a powerful opportunity to reach out and find out who else is there working on the same domain or similar technology and to make that connect. Going by the number of friendships I have made over the years, I can vouch for the uniqueness and how rewarding such connections turn out to be.

Selected or not, putting yourself through the process of a submission pushes you to explore technology deeply and expand your skills as a professional. And I suggest you enjoy this phase; get together with friends and make it a worthy and fun project. After all, it is a celebration you are sending your submission to!

For all details of the GHCI 19 Call for Submissions, please visit: 

If you have any queries at any stage of making your submission please write to us at The deadline to receive your submission is 9 June 2019.

Good luck!