Empower Gender Diversity in Technology

Hello from the blogger table for the #PASSSummit WIT Luncheon!

Let’s take a moment to appreciate that delicious lunch, the uplifting music, and the welcoming atmosphere.  As I sit here at my table I hear the familiar hum of a thousands of voices lifting and carrying across the room.  I hear deep voices, high pitched voices, male voices, female voices, gravely voices, laughter, loud voices, quiet voices.  I hear voices of friends and newly made friends of all walks of life.  It is beautiful, it is loud, and my heart is soaring.  

As amazing as it is here at PASS Summit, this is not at all indicative of each and every workplace out in the world.  Not every space is as diverse and welcoming.  If you are in a workplace that is not as diverse, you CAN make a difference.  You can empower your space!

 

Lauri Bingham

Director of Technology, Engineering Project Management, T-Mobile is here today to discuss “Mobilizing Your Own Grassroots Movement to Empower Gender Diversity in Technology.” Throughout her 30+ year technology career, across the manufacturing, healthcare, and telecom industries, Lauri has always been passionate about leading diverse teams.  She is the Technology Chair of T-Mobile’s Women’s Leadership Network and leads the company’s Women in Technology initiative, to promote and retain gender diversity within Engineering and IT. Lauri is also an active member of the Project Management Institute’s Executive Roundtable.  

Start Today

Exacting change starts with one person who is passionate about making a difference.  From there draft 2 like-minded, passionate leaders.  Put in the work, be committed, and continue trying new things to get others involved.   Coordinate lunch meetings and open up the invitation to all.  Try new things to see what works.  Happy Hours may work better for your location.  Just keep trying.  Be sure to track your data so you will have a better idea what works for your location.

*Pro-tip, offering food at your meetings helps boost attendance!*

Suess

Look to the Future

Before I break out into a song about children being our future, let’s chat about how STEM events expose children to careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.  Opening up opportunities for boys and girls to learn about tech and engineering jobs expands their horizons and promotes diversity.  I am still shocked that many young girls are told that tech/science/engineering is “just for boys.”  On the other hand, many children from lower income families or disenfranchised locations may not know that these careers in tech would be a possibility for them.  We are stronger when we grow together.

Seven Keys to Starting Your Own WiT

Lauri shared some amazing keys with us and I want to share them with you.  Read these.  Re-read them.  Keep them close.  Tattoo them to your arm if you must!

  1. Don’t get stuck on how you measure success.
  2. There is no “one size fits all” solution.
  3. Show up!
  4. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
  5. You cannot do it all at once, don’t get discouraged.
  6. Bring people with you (not everyone is going to be ready).
  7. Say YES!

Be brave, you can do this.  We can make this change.
It will take all of us!

PASS Summit Introverts

In 2016 I attended PASS Summit for the first time as an attendee.  I was so excited and a little nervous.  I was certainly not a stranger to the #SQLFamily but I was not really a member of it yet either.  My intentions were to attend Summit, make a few connections, and learn as much as possible.  I had no idea what was truly in store for me.  I had no idea that some of the people I met there would become some of the best friends I have ever known.  I had no idea how my life would be so enriched by meeting and talking to so many diverse people.

Talk to People!

As many conference go-ers will attest, the most important thing you can do at a conference is networking! 

Look, Summit is like going to Disney World; there is NO WAY you will be able to see everything in that short amount of time.  So prepare accordingly and schedule in time to spend in the community center and go out to after events.  Summit is much bigger than you can imagine.  I knew I would meet some really cool people and would learn some amazing new things.  What I did not know is how vastly those three days would change my life!

I am very much a people-person gifted with the ability to talk with anyone about anything at any time.  I am an extrovert.  I thrive on meeting new people and gaining insights from others.  While this is totally me, I understand that many in the tech industry are not as ready and willing to start a conversation.  I am on a personal mission this year to help people enrich their lives one conversation at a time.

Calling all Introverts!

Sometimes all people need is an invitation to start a conversation.  My trick to starting conversations with shy people is to notice something we have in common, or to compliment something about them. Example: “Hi! That is a great bag!”  or “Oh hey, my hair is the same color as your backpack!”  These are small little introductions that may or may not lead to a full-blown conversation and maybe an eventual friendship!

You may be sitting there growing steadily uncomfortable at this thought.  (Mmmmm hmmm, I can see you squirming in your seat!)  Don’t fret.  I can help you!  If you are not ready to be the one who reaches out, give others something to start a conversation with you!  At Summit this year I will have a limited number of buttons to hand out to my Introvert Entourage!  Come meet me, ask for a button, and join the coolest group around:Angela’s Introvert Entourage!”

Come walk with me and we can meet new friends together!

Friends
Shown are Jim Donahoe (@SQLFlipFlopsDBA) Lance Tidwell (@Lance_LT) and David Stein (@Made2Mentor)

*You don’t have to be an Introvert to receive a button.  You can be an Introvert Ally!*