This year I was invited to attend the Women In Technology luncheon as a blogger. So I’ll be live-blogging it through it in the same way as I did the keynote.
The WIT lunches are a fascinating, and let’s face it, unique PASS-style event, that have been taking place for years at the PASS Summit. It’s about growth and empowerment for women within technology. But, it’s not some crazy man-bashing event. It’s just another, special, way to network (that thing that PASS does so well).
Panelists are Cindy Gross, Gail Shaw, Kevin Kline, Rob Farley and Erin Stellato.
Mickey Steuwe is acting as moderator.
The theme is Beyond Stereotypes: Equality, Gender Neutrality, and Valuing Diversity is the theme.
The first question: “Do you have to make an effort to fit in?”
It goes to Gail, and in true Gail-fashion, she says, “No I bloody well don’t because I couldn’t be bothered.” She’s awesome.
“Have you experienced more subtle cultural forms of prejudice?”
Rob Farley gets this one. So he goes on to talk about his Christianity as a weird way he’s been affected. For example, a friend wouldn’t come out as gay because he knew Rob was Christian. Interesting point of view.
“Outside of the obvious reasons, how can you tell you’re being treated differently?”
Cindy Gross tells us how she figures that out by talking to friends to get their point of view. But, she correctly says, she has friends who’ll say that “Of course you’re treated differently as a woman” or “Of course it’s not about you being a woman” as knee-jerk positions. She suggests keeping a good thing in mind, of course we’re all prejudiced. Not badly, but on purpose. You assume that a person who is an adult will act like an adult and a child will act like a child. These assumptions are prejudices and judgements we make every day because you can’t start from a clean slate.
Kevin adds that the concepts of stereotypes are, at least in part, based on reality because they act as short-cuts. Indexes if you will. It was pretty cool. He also went on to talk about the differences between introverts and extroverts.
Ooops. Too much typing. I missed the question.
Kevin is talking about how we, as DBAs or data pros, frequently will spend more time trying to figure out how to tune indexes, etc., instead of trying to figure out our co-workers. I don’t disagree with that at all. I actually did get a set of tools for doing this at my previous job. They were occasionally crazy to work for, but they really did think through how work is supposed to be done and done right. Kevin goes on to discussing the interesting differences between ethical and moral.
Rob adds to this, in a nutshell, if you see something, say something. And, the fact is, this is true. We, all of us, need to be willing, and able, to stand up and make noise if we think things are wrong. It’s a must.
However, I’m not so sure about where the discussion went then. A piece of advice was given that said “If your friends are trying to get you to change who you are, maybe they are not your friends.” Well…. Can I use a DBA phrase here? It depends. What if they’re trying to get you to change for real and positive reasons? You’re doing drugs, smoking, terribly overweight, out of shape, in a destructive relationship… Anyway.
Cindy then talks about how, because she advocates for people of various styles, she has been associated with them. In short, because she supported gay people, others thought she was gay.
Erin is FINALLY asked a question.
She talks about how, regardless of who you’re working with, you need to find some type of common ground with others. That you can do that, even though it may be somewhat painful or difficult. But, once you’ve done it you really can make a difference in how you work with people. Mainly because, you have to work with people. It just makes sense.
So, Erin not only got a question, but she knocked the answer out of the park.
next up, how to get things working with teams. Oh nuts. Good luck. This is a horribly hard situation for ANYONE in ANY situation. Male/female or other negative or unhelpful prejudices. Cindy Gross also did racing on dirt bikes in Texas. She tells the story of getting a bunch of girls together, calling them dirt chicks, and giving them popcicles at the end of the race. Why? Because in school the girls who raced would get ostracized at school because they were beat up from the races (and yes, dirt bike riding can mess you up good, it’s a blast).
I have to leave early for another event.
Thanks PASS, panelists and Mickey. Great Job!