The book is launched! Your Turn
It seems like just a few moments ago, but was in reality several months ago, Melody Adhami contacted me and asked if I would participate in a book idea she had. 150 strong women in Canada to give advice and inspiration to their generation and the next in honour of Canada’s 150th year.
A hard request to pass up.
And so I agreed to participate. Fast forward to tonight. The book launch party. And meeting Melody in person. And meeting many of the other 149 fantastic women who also contributed their wisdom to the book, and their family members, friends, and co-workers who joined us. I invited my husband to the event and he came knowing that he might be a minority in a room full of talented, passionate, and confident women!
It was a special night. For Melody, and all the women, and the book itself. And more importantly, it wasn’t just about one night. At this moment in history when there are stories every day of women being disrespected, what a feeling to bask in the collective strength and support of this group of people.
Well done Melody. Well done women. Not simply sharing wisdom and being in a book, but achieving greatness in your life that led to your connection to this book.
I feel blessed to share this moment with you.
I am thankful today. These two. My biggest fans.
This is not the name I gave them, but the name they gave themselves. Their real names are Mom and Dad, or Bob and Lorraine in the world outside my family. But I frequently receive a note signed ‘your biggest fans’.
I know I am blessed. I always felt fortunate, but didn’t really understand how important the support and belief and challenge is from parents in our lives. I assumed for most of my childhood that everyone had people like this in their house – people to cheer us on, people to celebrate our success. I know now that not everyone has these types of fans standing with them.
Don’t get me wrong. They didn’t cheer me on without having high expectations. When I needed a push to study harder, to think about my actions, and to bring my best self to the table, they were there for those moments also.
But they were always there as a fan when the moment mattered … when I got an interview, when I landed a job, and when I was promoted. They were there in personal moments too … when I got married, we bought a house, made important decisions about how to raise the kids, and when I achieved my black belt in martial arts. They discussed important decisions with me, they provided input, they let me make decisions and mistakes, and they celebrated the successes.
I recently gave a strategy presentation that was extremely important in my job. I discussed it with them. They both have backgrounds in technology jobs. They provided feedback, proof-read the presentation, and provided feedback on how to make it stronger. Just like real fans, they want me to be great.
They call, send notes, share photos, and brag every now and then. 😎
They inspire me with their zest for life. They are busy, involved in life, and yet always there for people who need them. One of their mottos is “we show up” and they do. They have extended family all over North America and they are often on the road. They’ve got it figured out from packing the car, hitting the road, finding new adventures, and being there for the good times and hard times in equal measures. People often say “we knew you’d come”.
They’ve taught me so much and been there for so many. And yet, at the end of the day no matter what else is going on I know they are there for me. Encouraging, smiling, and cheering. My biggest fans.
Serenity in Sturgis? Three words I never thought I’d say. Heck, I never knew what Sturgis was until 10 years ago and certainly didn’t think I’d go there. More accurately, never thought I’d want to go.
I found myself agreeing, and then actually looking forward to attending the bike rally in Sturgis, South Dakota this year. It was the 77th annual rally.
It all started with the first rally of 9 bikers and a race so long ago and has grown to an all-time high for the 75th anniversary of 739,000 attendees. There are bikes and people everywhere you look, vendors hawking shirts and hats, and bikes for demo rides and bikes for sale. And of course, food and beer.
We had great weather – the rain threatening every day but not really invading (okay, soaked us once) and the rally was fun.
So, where’s the serenity? Oh yes…
I was fortunate to attend with my husband and 11 other members of his club. And while the rally was terrific and Sturgis a sight to see during rally week, the riding…the beautiful riding was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. The views, the history of the area, Mt. Rushmore, the eye of the needle, the Badlands (as fun to say as it is to ride), Spearfish Canyon, and Needles Highway.
I felt like an honorary member of the club being treated to a secret world of twisties, wind rushing past, beautiful sights, and camaraderie over dinner after each tiring day. I could never find the words to thank this crew of hardcore riders for generously sharing Sturgis with me so I’ll try with photos.
When you’re on a road that twists and turns for miles on end and then arrive at a sign that says ‘caution, tight turns ahead’, you know you’re in for something special. Leaning into the curve and enjoying the sensation is the prelude to opening up after the curve and being presented with a visual feast of rock formations, waterfalls, and wildlife.
South Dakota. Where they planned the views, and then built the roads to present them at the perfect angle. Literally. How could you not find serenity in that?
May all you girl geeks enjoy vacation this summer and find your own inspiration for serenity.
Stand strong and be visible. There are so many reasons to be discouraged by what you hear, what you read, and what you experience in technology today.
And yet, there is one reason to stand strong – because you want to be in Tech and you know you’re good at it. Scratch that, girl geek. If you’re in tech today as a female, you’re probably great at it! If you were merely curious, or sort of good at coding, you likely would have opted out through the education, hiring, or early days of working in tech.
Great coders – those who ‘feel it’ – when the code doesn’t work, and then ultimately when it does, have so much in common. This goes for men and women. We all have the common desire to solve problems and create. The most humble also have the trait of wanting to help others by looking for the elusive bug or syntax error in your colleague’s code help him/ her get over that roadblock. These humble geeks care – about the profession, about the people, and about the results.
You can always find the other kind of coder – the bully, the sexist, the kind who believe the ‘club’ should be closed. Spoiler alert – some of these people are actually women. Women who had a hard time breaking in and want the women behind them to feel it too, and women who are afraid there are only so many seats at the table open to women and will (sometimes quietly) derail other women to secure or protect their seat.
Don’t focus on these people too much, but know they exist.
Seek out your positive, helpful, supportive colleagues and bosses and network. There are so many people in tech – men and women – who want to help with advice, and connections, and their time.
Girl geek – stand strong! After all, if you walk away, who will help the next girl geek who was looking to be inspired by you?
Today I am thankful that although I have to do some work after hours, I found this beautiful workspace to use. Travelling for business, staying in hotels, and missing the comforts of home can be draining at times. Instead of sitting in my office at work, or sitting at the desk in my hotel room and feeling tired of handling paperwork, I decided to sit outside and work. Reading documents and managing email felt so different. It was a quiet space and the weather perfect for sitting outside (in the shade).
I also realized I am feeling more creative and my mind is flowing in better ways than normal. I’m inspired and motivated. Is it the peace… the comfort… the time of day… the warm weather and sunshine… ? Maybe a bit of all these factors. And I’m sure one other reason is I made a choice – to sit and focus, to enjoy my surroundings while working, and to set a cut off time when I would wind up the day and head to the gym. When I work in a hotel room, it’s hard to cut the work off so I’m enjoying many benefits and a positive sense of perspective.
Our surroundings – the space and the people – matter. Make good choices girl geek!