Serendipity means a “fortunate happenstance” or “pleasant surprise”.
I met a young woman by happenstance last week. My typical Thursday evening would involve working until about 6pm, taking the commuter train home, eating dinner, and catching up with my husband. Maybe a quick trip to Dairy Queen if the night was hot and we felt like a treat.
On this Thursday evening, I was fortunate enough to attend a TIFF event (Toronto International Film Festival) with Emma, and so I was downtown later in the evening.
Emma and I were walking along a main street and realized we would miss the train by a few minutes, leaving us to wait about 25 minutes for the next one. As we passed the Starbucks that is close to my office building, I suggested we stop for a coffee and pass some time.
We were the only customers. The staff were very friendly even though it was obvious they had started their closing routines for the night. We ordered, and Emma sat down to spend a few minutes on her Duolingo so she wouldn’t miss her goal for the day. I was talking to the staff and then I met Aleisha as she made our lattes. I asked if she worked a lot of shifts and she said “Oh no, I have to go to school and study and I can’t work too many shifts.” I asked what school she went to and she said she was studying Business Technology Management at Ryerson University.
This is where it turned into serendipity for me and for her. As she talked and I could tell she was a serious student and interested in a technology career, I told her that I worked in technology and led a team of 600 people. She said “good for you, we need to show women are leaders, and I want to congratulate you.” We then had a conversation about TD Bank, technology careers in general, and women in technology. I gave her some advice about job hunting and making connections and gave her my name.
What Aleisha didn’t know was that I sat on the Advisory Board at Ryerson that helped to develop the program she is in many years ago. I didn’t mention this part to her because that was my story, and we were talking about her.
As we prepared to leave, she ran around from behind the counter and asked if she could give me a hug. She hugged me and simply said “girl power, congratulations again to you for what you do”.
We walked out and I asked Emma if she had heard any of the conversation. (Remember, she was doing her Duolingo Spanish lesson.). She said “I did, wasn’t that cool mom?”
Serendipity. Aleisha the girl geek, nice to meet you.