I gave a talk on my post From babies to software development: A quest to afford all the cupcakes. It was so nerve wracking to talk about something so personal. I wanted to do it so that other people could see how little (and big!) things that other people did for me changed my life for the better. However, it was terrifying to talk about a variety of topics that people either look down upon or easily dismiss as not being as difficult as it was for me.
It’s a little funny — last week, I wrote a post about how I was nervous that someone would call me out for not being an awesome developer. That happened the day of my talk. I don’t think he realize how awful what he said was, but he basically said, “why didn’t anyone ask me to give a talk? I went to college for this and I’ve been doing it longer.” I wanted to tell him that I would trade him being asked to give a talk for not ever having to be homeless… but I didn’t think of it until later.
The talk went really well! Over 30 people showed up. I was nervous at first, but it lessened as I continued talking. I had a semi-ridiculous slideshow prepared to go with my talk so it would lessen my nervousness, and it worked for me. People were super nice. I was fortunate to have a lot of supportive coworkers come as well. Someone I look up to as an awesome developer told me that I did a good job and kept the audience engaged, and it was something that he couldn’t do himself.
An hour before the talk, I got an email saying that I could purchase ticket to go to Google I/O! I got the opportunity through Google’s Women Techmakers team and Systers. I’m stoked — I was fortunate enough to go to Apple’s WWDC last year, so it’s cool to go to the big Google conference this year. I was especially impressed with their conference last year because they made an incredible effort to make the conference accessible to women by having mother’s rooms and childcare. Pycon also had childcare, and I hope that other conferences adopt similar policies.
A couple days ago, one of my coworkers asked me if I was an advocate at work. The advocacy program at Asynchrony is “a program in which an employee guides a colleague in career options and feedback and advocates for career growth.” When she asked me, I thought for sure that she was asking me if I was in the program, had an advocate that helped me, and what my opinion was on the program. In actuality, she was asking me if I was available to be an advocate for her. It took me a couple of minutes to figure it out, but after I did, I immediately agreed to be her advocate. I’m still in a little shock that someone trusts me enough to help them, but it feels very exciting.
Ever since then, I’ve been reading all sorts of articles on effectively mentoring others so that I can be a good advocate. I want to string it all together into a talk for a conference, but I’m not sure that anyone would be that interested because it’s not quite technical. I’m trying to brainstorm ideas for a technical talk (maybe accessibility in iOS?), so if you have any suggestions, please let me know!