31 January 2019 - Expanding my learning opportunities

Last year I decided to expand on my broader learning and looked outside the usual Salesforce Community groups and events. 

My first stop was a side step from technology with a few events hosted by the magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, covering topics that women may face in today’s work environment, such as the 'Mastery of Your Mindset' and a 'Power Refresh Workshop'.

I also was lucky enough to attend a TedX London Women event in December. The day was packed with a range of speakers covering a multitude of subjects all dear to their heart, and the majority of speakers were women, or those who identified as women too.

Earlier in the year I joined Ada’s List, an online community of like-minded people (mostly women, allies welcome) in the digital industry who openly share work, speaking and event opportunities. 

It’s from Ada's list that I have found and attended 2 other groups, the Women in Technology and Telecoms and mostly recently 10 Digital Ladies. 

Today I want to talk about the Digital Ladies event I recently attended. 

First of all, who are the 10 Digital Ladies? Well, for a start there are more than 10 of them. In fact its a meetup group of many more ladies coming together in an informal surrounding to discuss issues that may relate to their digital career and that might help them reach their full potential. 

I joined them for their January meetup at the Photobox offices along with about 50 other ladies to cover the topic of Nailing a Growth Mindset: How to Build Resilience Throughout Your Career. The evening started with wine and nibbles, as any good meetups should (in my opinion).

We heard from one 10 Digital Ladies Award Winner, Roselene Thomas, on her personal story on how she set up her own testing company and how she had to push herself over again to keep working at it to achieve her goals. It was her resilience that kept her going through the tough times and to make the success of her business.

We then had a workshop, hosted by a group of actors from Frank Partners. It was an interactive session where we paired up and did exercises together. We found that by switching partners and trying different exercises we were able to build up our resilience to the tasks. A simple but effective example. 

Frank Partners also took us through a role play of a boss and subordinate conversation and garnered our thoughts on how it went and how things could have been better on both sides. Some of their conversation did ring home to me. There was one particular phrase "don't take it personally" that the boss character said to the subordinate. Its a phrase that really pushes my buttons when its been said to me, because, you know what, most of the time it does feel personal to the individual. Whatever the situation is, it is affecting the person. I think it shows lazy management when that phrase is said. They don't want to dig deeper into the subject and actually figure out the route cause and try to fix it. "Don't take it personally" - you may have just thrown a grenade at the situation. 

We ended up with a panel discussion with 3 ladies, all giving their advice and top tips on how they have built their resilience throughout their careers. I particularly liked one tip from Alex Mecklenburg when she suggested to keep a jam jar of compliments. Its too often that we remember, all too easily, comments from others that can bring us down and make us feel less worthy. We seem to be hard wired to struggle to remember when someone gives us a compliment. The jam jar is a place to store a positive memory. Collect them over time and when you need to, dip into the jar and pull out a slip and read the happy moment. It will help you to feel better about yourself, especially at times when someone is trying to burst your balloon. 

The last thing I came away with me that night was a book. The 10 Digital Ladies have compiled a book of career hacks. They are top tips from the 2017 award winners, event speakers and community. 

They cover a range of subject areas including managing change, developing your career, how to be a leader for good, and how to innovate like a disrupter. Each chapter covers a subject area with stories from key ladies and quotes from many others. Its all very digestible and easy to dip into for a bit of inspiration.

I think I might just do that! And in the meantime, I shall keep open to other groups. Its helped me to expand my thinking and connections. You never know where they might take you. 


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