I've spent my entire career in IT. Starting with my ﬁrst programming class in 1981, I was hooked. Add to that my love of Mathematics and Physics, and I knew I had found my professional calling. It's an industry that has served me well. But, such is not the case for all women who are considering entering the world of Techies and Geeks. I've taken great note of this over the years and I’ve even been involved in various initiatives to attract and retain women in IT.
What I've realized is we're missing a real community of women, a community of women, by women, for women. I've worked as an Agile Coach over the past 10 years, all of which have been spent with large companies undertaking large transformation programs. One thing I've noticed with these large programs is that women occupy at least half of the seats on transformation teams, where we engage in training and coaching, mentoring and leading others. What I believe is women are drawn to transformation programs because it's a story that we know well. You see, every woman has a story of transformation.
Just by the sheer act of growing up, every woman is transformed, from girl to woman, daughter to lover, aunt, sister, wife. We weave our stories of transformation, bringing together family, community, and work into a single context that becomes the stories of our inﬂuences - the stories of our lives.
I believe in the power of the story. I believe that in the act of telling our stories and the act of listening to the stories of others, we are transformed. I believe this is how we build a community of women in IT. Give women a way to share the inﬂuences of our past and articulate our visions for the future in such a way that builds compassion for one another. By getting to a place of compassion, we can have those authentic conversations that start to create real, meaningful, and fulfilling relationships. We spend so much of our waking days at work with one another. Imagine how much better off we would be if we felt true compassion for one another in the workplace! Imagine how much of a sense of belonging we would have if we knew one another's stories, where we see each other in those stories, where we build a collective voice. Imagine the power that comes with that collective voice. This can be a differentiator for us as women in IT.
Over the course of my career, I have been asked to assimilate to the male dynamic. Sometimes the inference was subtle, being treated as one of the boys. Sometimes the inference was intentional, being told I need to be more aggressive in my daily interactions with clients and coworkers. In all inferences, I stayed true to myself, knowing that I could not compromise who I was as a person, and as a woman. I was fortunate to ﬁnd a mentor at a pivotal point in my career who brought me to a place of greater understanding of what my gifts were. He validated my need to stay true to myself and showed me how to be effective without being the loudest one in the room. I am grateful for his guidance. I now mentor other women in IT, guiding them in their professional growth in this industry, sharing what I've learned over the years, giving back to my community, while continuing to grow myself.
A second pivotal point in my career was discovering Temenos just over a year ago, and it changed my life. Through Temenos, we can get to these authentic conversations. We can accelerate forming relationships with one another, relationships that are real, that are meaningful, that are fulﬁlling. I’ve seen Temenos in action in groups and teams, in the corporate setting and in personal development labs. I now work with women to share their stories of transformation. By applying Temenos, I create a story telling container where women feel safe sharing the inﬂuences of their past, acknowledging their patterns of self-sabotage and success, and activating their personal visions for the future. I use the Temenos technique of introspection, visualization, and articulation to elicit women's stories. I bring in discernment, giving women a way to notice and acknowledge the distractions and fantasies in our lives so we can focus our mental energy on our life purpose, taking those steps necessary to activate our personal visions. And, I facilitate bringing women's stories of past, present, and future into a single context, giving a voice to the stories of our lives.
What I've found is that women resonate with the ﬂow of Temenos. We respond to the method of discernment as we look for those authentic connections. This is how we'll build a community of women in IT. By creating meaningful and fulﬁlling relationships, we'll show other women the rewards of a career in IT. We'll attract and retain women because of the relationships that are formed. Through mentoring, we'll impart our wisdom by staying true to ourselves. In bringing more humanity – and women - into IT, we'll change the world of Techies and Geeks forever.