• blog
  • Thursday Tech Talk – Sleek Hard Drive!

    Who knew? I was moving to a new laptop for personal use and needed to move a lot of data, okay … 11 years of photos and music. I talked to my resident tech support, a.k.a. computer science graduate child. If you don’t have one of these in your family, I highly suggest you nurture one in this generation or the next. Not only are they highly marketable for employment, but they also come in handy for help in the home when they are in the right mood.

    So, back to the challenge. I needed to move a lot of data and I didn’t want to do it in multiple copy / paste / delete, start over steps and I asked for help.

    My son came home with an external hard drive (HD) for me. When I took this out of the box, I couldn’t believe my eyes. This hard drive, now called “mobile drive” is beautiful, stunning, sleek, and attractive. It’s a Lacie Porsche Design one terabyte (1T) hard drive. It’s described in marketing material from Lacie as a combination of speed, design, and technology resulting in a different breed of mobile drive.

    I was so taken by this HD that I looked up the Lacie brand and learned they make many beautiful technology products, and I also looked up the Porsche Design to find out if this was really the same Porsche. You know, the ones who make cars.

    Yes. It is. The same company who makes cars designs technology for the everyday user. The idea of Porsche Design was started by the grandson of the Porsche founder, and this same grandson, Prof. Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, also designed the Porsche 911.

    They also state … “Out of a collaboration born in 2003, a trailblazing Tech firm and an iconic design house have forged another functional showpiece.” No debate from me.

    I tested it out and this HD works like a charm. It’s fast, quiet, and reliable. The device itself is smaller than my mobile phone and light, yet sturdy. It comes with two cables (USB-C and USB 3.0) and works with PC/Mac and next-generation computers.

    One terabyte storage for less than $100. I still remember when we bought “jump drives” with 250MB for about $19.99. And they weren’t even cute.

    Well done, Porsche and Lacie, well done.

  • lifestyle
  • Thankful Tuesday – One Grad’s Story

    We received the grad photos today for my son’s graduation from University.

    We attended the graduation ceremony a few weeks ago. As I sat in the audience, full of pride and nostalgia, my mind reflected on our journey as a family to this point and then to thoughts of every graduate in the ceremony. Each graduate has their story, their journey, their moments of struggle and triumph.

    We have two kids – both Queen’s graduates now, and yet so different. This one felt like the graduation that wouldn’t be. This kid – intelligent, wise, independent, and personable. And yet, challenging, stubborn, and sullen at times. This one never enjoyed school, worked since the age of 14 and wondered what he would learn from formal education that would be better than what he was learning on the job. And he was committed to his own path.

    In second year of University, he announced at our family Christmas dinner that he planned to stop going to school. It didn’t go over well. After several hours, many words, and some tears (mine, not his), we came to an agreement that he would continue school if he could tell everyone he was only doing it for his mom.

    I didn’t care what he told people as long as he continued. I knew he could find jobs and thought he might even be fine without the degree, but I didn’t want him to regret the choice. And with this child, I knew a break from school would probably result in him never returning.

    He continued with school. He stayed connected to his family. He kept working at a job he loved – to balance with the school he didn’t. He persevered. We traveled over these 4 tough years, him to us, us to him, and many lunches and dinners where we met halfway. Once a month, we checked in physically to see him. My style is to see the kid to understand the kid. It’s easy to hide things from your mom when you just text or call, but the face tells the story.

    Other parents gave me advice to let him do what he wants and said he’d make the right choices. It didn’t feel right so we took our chances. We pushed when required and stepped back to give breathing room.

    This child of mine…
    – could have graduated in the ceremony in June but didn’t file the paperwork in time
    – could have had his photo in the school yearbook, but had the session 2 days before the grad ceremony
    – forgot we were having family Thanksgiving dinner the night before the ceremony, but changed his plans to join us anyway
    – sent me a picture in line with his robe on so I wouldn’t worry that he would be late
    – posed with his sister, and his girlfriend, and parents and smiled for his photos in front of the school landmarks, all without a complaint

    So dedicated and focused at work. So loving and caring to his family as he has matured over the years.

    It’s been a long and winding road to this graduation. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Here’s to all the graduates. And all the parents. And grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, friends, professors, and school counselers who helped them on their individual journeys.

    Bask in the success. You’ve all earned it.

    The night before grad when I was teasing him about the time he told us he was quitting school, he said with a twinkle in his eye – “funny, I don’t remember that”. I responded with an equally light tone “Oh, yes, must have been someone else.”

  • blog
  • Thankful Tuesday – Significance

    A day of significance.

    Significance – the quality of being worthy of attention; importance.

    I made a conscious choice to spend a day making deliberate decisions and it paid off excellently. I didn’t do anything ground breaking, just thoughtful.

    From a delicious homemade breakfast, making a decision to have fun while taking care of an important family transaction instead of thinking of it as a chore, talking to 5 dear friends, texting with parents and kids, confirming family plans for the upcoming holidays, lunch with my husband at a restaurant we’ve frequented since before we were married, and picking out a cute new phone case; the day was definitely on a roll.

    But..there was still more to come. Meeting a kid at the airport and catching up on her trip and the people she met, a beautiful story that brought tears to everyone’s eyes, a long drive to be onsite for a business meeting tomorrow morning, and a chat with a dear friend on the final leg of the dark road.

    All day with just one goal – make deliberate decisions and enjoy my life. I am so blessed. Add a late night slim can of Perrier. Simple pleasures. Life is good.

  • blog
  • Thursday Tech Talk – Innovation and Public Speaking!


    What a fantastic day I had! A public speaking engagement I enjoyed, and talking about Innovation.

    Reflecting on the day, the first thought I had was how blessed I feel and all the people who were instrumental in bringing me to this day.

    The obvious ones:
    – My parents who have always been my biggest fans.
    – My two brothers who are both extroverts and make the public speaking / meeting people aspect of their jobs look so simple.
    – My husband and kids who think I can do anything, and listen to me practicing the words.

    The professional contacts:
    – The boss, Dominique, who told me it was important for me to give public speeches for my team and the people who needed to hear the messages, not for me. This was a life changing moment for me 15 years ago that I never forgot.
    – The communications expert, Ann, who I worked with many years ago and taught me that the words we use matter more than we think.
    – The executive team work with who drives Innovation, always pushing for “what’s next?”.
    – The technology team I work with who delivers on the Innovation agenda every day.
    – My many professional colleagues who supported me over the past week, saying things like “you’ll be great” when I told them I had this engagement on my calendar for Thursday.

    And the IBM colleagues who believed in me:
    – Ayman Antoun, President of IBM Canada, who graciously shared the stage with me.
    – Bill Steele and Brian Medeiros, who believed in our Innovation message.
    – and all the supporting characters who walked me through the prep and stage directions, provided tips for getting through the curtain in the dark backstage, and then whisked me back offstage when the time was up!

    My second thought was on how the message went.
    I delivered the key points and was proud of the work I am involved with, both at my company delivering for Economical and Sonnet Insurance, and also the industry forums I participate in to develop the next generation of talent for these jobs in technology.
    The key points:
    – Digital Innovation – let’s Listen, Learn, and Surprise. With my favorite definition of surprise being “to cause someone to feel unusually delighted”

    – Integrating emerging technology – putting complex technology solutions together in a way that creates simple transactions for our customers (including Feedzai, Cloudera Hadoop, Guidewire, SpringBoot, Pentaho, and delivered on the IBM Cloud)

    – Investing in talent – integrating technical experts with new grads, and diversity in age, culture, experience, and thought. Remember diversity is accepting the presence of people different than you, and inclusion is embracing their participation. girlswhocode and IBM’s “Pathway to Technology” are two great examples of how we can support young people to embrace technology and technology careers.

    – Implementing agile practices – and let’s remember that agile is just a way of delivering. Our goal should be to deliver at velocity and not be focused on the word or the method.

    And the third thought I had was how our stories connect us.
    – Strangers talked to me afterwards and told me how one sentence I said was exactly what they were going through.
    – 4 people in the audience approached me afterwards to reconnect. People I had worked with at companies in the past who shared with me an update on their life.
    – and the people who wished me well checked in to see how it went.

    The event was the IBM Innovation Forum 2018.

    All in all, a good day indeed. And tomorrow it’s back to work and reporting into the Risk Committee.

  • blog
  • Thankful Tuesday – Strategy and Cakelet?


    What a day…

    I attended a long strategy meeting today and enjoyed it. The topics were interesting, the team dynamics positive, the outcomes important, and there was food. Discussion about the future, the company strategy, and how the technology my team delivers fits into those plans.

    It is also my birthday and that was fun too! One last swim for the season – this is saying a lot for October in Canada. A delicious dinner with family, flowers from my kids, a call from my parents, a bouquet also from my team, and a cakelet. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Cakelet. Enough cake for everyone to have a taste, and not so much that you wonder what to do with it.

    I am thankful and I feel blessed. Work and colleagues I enjoy, and a family who knows how much I love my birthday and all the traditions that come with it.