• lifestyle
  • Women in Tech – Own the Stage!

    I recently attended a conference and came away inspired. The technical information was helpful, the contacts I made were valuable, and I came home feeling full and thankful for the experience. I was full of knowledge, full of ideas, and full of an overall positive experience from thinking and talking about technology non-stop for 4 days.

    The bonus was sitting in the front row of an audience of over 40,000 people and watching talented, technical, business focused women speaking about the future of our industry and using examples of achievements that have already been accomplished.

    All of those words are inspiring to a girl geek like me – the technology industry, the future, and real life achievements (not just what could be done, but what has been done). It’s a fantastic and exciting time to be in tech. But the word in the sentence that brings chills to me even as I write about it weeks after I am back home is the word women.

    When I started in tech many, many years ago, there were no women in management in the technology team at my company. There was no role model, no sense of my spot at the table to aspire to, and no clear view of whether I would be supported at that time to move into an executive role in technology.

    So I sat in that front row – even having that terrific seat was an achievement based on being in a position in technology of making decisions – and listened to women telling stories of accomplishments. Not stories about being a woman in tech, just a leader leading tech innovation. And they did it with strength, and knowledge, and personality. They did it sounding powerful and looking female.

    I share two photos. I know they aren’t great quality, my phone camera competing with magnificent stage lighting, but they capture the essence of the moment. Two women owning the stage and inspiring women like me that we are making great progress in this tech field from that moment I started with no women role models above me.

    I share to inspire you with their greatness, and challenge all you girl geeks to look up to them as role models. I equally challenge you to look around you once today to find a girl geek you can inspire too. There are young women every day entering the field. Let’s take care of them.

    Ginni Rometty, Chair, President, and CEO of IBM

    Alice Keung, SVP & Chief Transformation Officer at Economical Insurance

  • blog
  • Women in Tech – Stay Connected!

    Life is busy, to-do lists are long, and it’s easy to lose touch with people when you no longer work with them every day.

    Tonight I caught up with a friend. She’s another woman in tech. We talked about work, and families, and ourselves. We talked about what makes a great place to work, and what we want out of our jobs. We’re both at a state in our career where we have choices and we want to work with people who are talented, and driven, and respectful. We also want to keep learning and influence change and make a positive impact on business outcomes and people we lead. We talked about technology, infrastructure, IT security, testing practices, and digital transformation. Of course we did because we love it!

    We talked about how we met, and how we loved working together to drive a major change agenda because ego never got in the way of making decisions for progress.

    We also reminisced about our time leading the Women in Leadership initiative for hundreds of women. We took away as many learnings from the question and answer period as the women did from our speeches. I’m now leading the Diversity and Inclusion committee for the company where I work. I know I felt ready for this based on the previous work I did with this friend.

    We talked about current challenges we are facing and gave each other perspective. Don’t let the negative in your head. It didn’t earn that space in your brain.

    We ate and laughed and walked outside since the weather had turned warm for a few hours tonight. And then we took a photo.

    Girl geeks – take care of each other. Stay connected. You’ll never regret it!

  • lifestyle
  • Women in Tech – Be Fierce and Fabulous!

    A message from me to men and women on International Women’s Day –

    “Be fierce in your support of strong women, and relentless in backing the delicate ones so that they may find their personal strength”.

    Many thanks to my parents for inspiring me and giving me perspective as I reflect on this day. Thanks to my father for telling me I could do anything I set my mind to, and my mother for showing me the way.

    For all the women in tech – be fierce (showing heartfelt and powerful intensity), and fabulous (extraordinary and wonderful). Notice that neither of these means you need to be loud or aggressive. Be you!

    We’ve come so far, but we’re not done yet.

  • blog
  • Thankful Tuesday – The sign of the line?

    Thankful Tuesday – the sign of the line?

    Did you ever stand in line and feel thankful? I did today and let me tell you why.

    I am attending an IT conference for CIOs. The attendees are all senior executives in technology – about 900 men and women – and there are short breaks between sessions. During the last break, I found myself standing in a line for the women’s restroom. And I realized I was smiling at the prospect.

    Imagine being at an event for senior IT executives and there are so many women there is a back-up and a line. Wow! I’ve attended at least 15 of these type of conferences over the years and this hasn’t happened to me before. So many women, so many leaders, so much progress. And so many role models for young women joining the technology career path.

    Back to the sign. What is the sign of the line? We’ve come so far, but we’re not done yet!

    Oh yes, the photo. They also had muffin tops for snacks. Another reason to smile. Am I on Seinfeld?

  • Travel
  • Travel Tales – You don’t get credit!

    Travel tales – you don’t get credit!

    If the flight is advertised, booked, and scheduled for 9:10, and you put it on the board as 10:00 and then say we are leaving ‘early’ at 9:10… sorry, you don’t get credit for early departure.

    Interesting day of travel so far. The driver who picked me up to bring me to the airport went to the wrong house and I had to ‘find’ him, a serious multi-car, multi-truck accident occurred on the highway 15 minutes before we passed through, and I got pulled over in the security line for having an iPad. Being tired from an early morning start and distracted by all items above, I’m still not tricked by the message that we are ‘early’. But good try!

    I feel fortunate that with all the snags and some grumpy people along the way this morning, I arrive at my gate still calm and peaceful and looking forward to my speaking engagement this week. I send out positive thoughts to those involved in the accident and the emergency response workers on the scene. Safe travel to anyone embarking on a journey this week!

  • lifestyle
  • Thankful Tuesday – Provoking Thought

    Interesting that when we think of the word “provoke”, we often think of the negative definition of the word as in “deliberately make (someone) annoyed or angry”.

    And yet, “provoking thought”, or the commonly used term “thought-provoking” causes us to think of the positive definition – “contains interesting ideas that make people think seriously”.

    I traveled to a new destination and attended a summit for two days this week that was very thought-provoking. A room full of CIOs discussing areas of opportunity and areas of concern, in a safe environment where we could learn and question and share. And for a person like me who is an introvert by nature, there is the added challenge of consciously putting myself into a situation where the value I get will be dependent on actively approaching people I never met before. I agreed to participate in a ‘meet the press’ style presentation on stage to ensure I wouldn’t back out of attending. There was nothing to gain except knowledge and nothing to lose except time.

    Topics included digital disruption, cyber-security, vendor management, IT talent, AI and machine learning, and agility.

    I came away with interesting ideas, serious thoughts, and some new professional connections. I met CIOs from companies across the country who I wouldn’t have run into if I hadn’t taken the time and pushed myself to attend and interact. I was inspired by the conversations and by the expertise in the room. So, I guess there was nothing to lose after all.