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.

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