Hey, Brown Girl Tribe! I had the distinct honor to attend the Google Women Techmakers in Cambridge, MA at the Google Campus. Over 200 women and a few good men were in attendance ready to celebrate and be empowered by International Women's Day. I was surrounded and connecting with women who are software engineers, front-end developers, illustrators and more. Here I am over here thinking I wasn't "good enough" because I didn't have the high profile of being an engineer, developer, or having a degree within one of the STEAM industries. However, I had to snap back to reality because I am a self-learn and self-taught digital storyteller, digital social media strategist, and business developer. Like, I help people with their branding, social media and storytelling. I also taught within the technology education program as a graduate assistant at the University of Southern Mississippi while obtaining my Master's of Social Work.
|Selfie in front of the Google sign|
I want to provide some of my actual tweets and tips from the conference. I was tweeting and updating throughout the conference. By the way, I would suggest you open up a Twitter account especially if you are attending any workshop or conferences anytime soon. Twitter is a great way to make your point, connect with attendees, panelists, speakers, and retweet important information. I love Twitter and love using it as an attendee. Need Twitter assistance? Holla at your girl.
I was inspired by the morning speakers which consist of a great mixture of diversity and inclusion of women in tech who founded and run successful startups. I was definitely inspired by two of the speakers: Julie Farago of Verily and Melissa James of The Tech Connection
Julie Farago discussed how we shouldn't forget that we are humans who are imperfect and emotional.
Here are some highlighted Tweets and Tips from Julie Farago:
1. "Trust that you and your human self are needed." #WTM17
2. "If you want to make something great, you need to start with your own conviction."
3. "I'm a great manager not just because I'm smart, but because I know that things like joy and sorrow exist at work."
Julie's segment helped me to appreciate that it is okay to be vulnerable, passionate, and emotionally over my work. Sometimes, I beat myself up a lot because I feel I should be doing more or I should be at a certain destination at 34 years old. Thank you, Julie!
|When I share my story!|
Next up was Elsa Sze, an Asian American sistah who spoke truth to power about the lies we tell ourselves every day. She spoke on how her father was diagnosed with a terminal illness right when he retired. She spoke on how her Father lived a full life by graduating from college, traveling the world, and being until his death. Here are some Tweets and Tips from Elsa Sze:
1. "Our voices matter every day."
2. "We are good at finding things. We are not good at wayfinding."
3. We have our own internal critic." (I Can't, I won't, I haven't, I'm Not, and I shouldn't)
Elsa's segment was everything because she kept it 100. We beat ourselves up over minuscule things and not giving ourselves enough credit. We often limit ourselves and self-sabotage our greatness and never live a full, passionate, and purposeful life.
Lastly, Melissa James, Founder of The Tech Connection, spoke truth to power. She spoke on being 1st generation Caribbean-American and college student. She spoke on her journey of becoming a tech recruiter and starting her own tech company without a background and degree in STEAM. I was relieved and excited because her story is similar to mines. She went ahead and started her own inclusive and diversity recruitment firm due to her background from a start tech firm and working for Google in the past.
|POV from Speechless|
1. Build your confidence and work on pitching.
2. You need to have a sense of urgency.
3. Pay attention to your curiosity. That's God way of telling you to research and act on that curiosity if applicable and positive.
So....the morning session was everything. The afternoon breakout session was exciting with a lot of storytelling and vulnerability involved. Speechless provided us with the beautifully explained Improv. If you ever did Improv, you understand how to stay in the flow, get out of your feelings, freestyle, and liberate yourself. I absolutely love the Improv because we got to freestyle, laugh, come up with creative stories, empower one another, stay in the moment and laugh. We had some laughs at the stories we created and not count the mistakes and said what was on our mind and heart. It was freeing because we did not hesitate, we did not hold back anything and we didn't judge one another.
Lastly, the panel discussion was done right. I have been on panels in which it was quite a bore because people were holding back and giving cookie cutter answers. The panel at Google Women's Techmaker did an amazing job capturing various women with a diverse background who took risks, saw a need, failed, pick themselves back up and failed again along with using their difference to the best of their ability. I truly appreciate my Nigerian Auntie, Yetunde, in which she started a coding school in Nigerian and here in the States. She saw a need and went for it despite the lack of resources and help. I love how she answered the question about being a Black Woman. She stated being a black woman is like having Superpowers. People are not used to being in certain spaces which make them curious but also interested in helping with funding or other needs. I did a Yass because being a Black Woman is powerful and magic because we can have a seat at any table and communicate with folks on different levels. We know how to create resources, use our contact, and use our voice and asking for what we want and need.
When I met Yetunde, afterward, I told her she inspired me to really go hard in my online work of digital strategic planning, social media, content creation and digital storytelling. She gave me her card and will follow up with her immediately.
I had a wonderful time at the conference despite feeling as if I wasn't this or wasn't that. I fell right in place and representing for all the Brown Girls who are trying to find their way and find their power. I truly appreciate the empowerment and education I have received. Much love to all the Women Techmakers who are doing dope things while looking FLY as ever doing it.
|Google love feeding folks good food. Check out these cupcakes!|