Motherboard Podcast

You may be aware that in the past year my husband and I had a baby. Yet, I’m still here and participating in the community. That’s no small feat and is due in part to the help and support of my family, my managers and my employer (Red Hat,) and many of my peers who are also moms in tech. My friend Kathryn Rotondo recently put together a proposal for a new podcast – the Motherboard Podcast – to provide ideas and advice for other women in technology, like me, who would like to start a family but are worried about how it might affect their career, or who are already trying to balance both and are feeling alone. She will interview women with children who are working at tech companies; they will discuss the challenges they ran into, solutions their families came up with, and other issues. I think we need more role models for women in technology in general, but especially role models who are able to raise a family while continuing their career, so the interviewees for this podcast will be a great start. The podcast will be available for free and will tentatively be licensed under …

AdaCamp: Geek Moms (Day 1, Session 3)

Hi there. I was at AdaCamp DC last week. AdaCamp is a conference put together by the Ada Initiative non-profit organization to help further women in open source and open culture. My posts will reside in the AdaCamp DC category; watch that category if you’d like to read more about the event. Session 3: Geek Moms In this session, a group of AdaCampers talked about what it’s like to be a geek mom, the challenges geek moms (and dads) face, and ways to balance being a mother with a career or contributions to an open source / open culture project. Participating in conferences and other travel is difficult for moms Motherhood changes your ability to travel for your job and to conferences. When a parent travels, very young children have a hard time understanding where the parent went. It’s really difficult to leave them, because you don’t want them to feel abandoned. Remote participation isn’t a real solution. Virtual participation in a conference sounds like a good idea, but even in 2012 the software to enable this just isn’t as good. Remote participation in conferences, if offered as an option at all, is a really far cry from the in-person …

AdaCamp: Kill Yer Boss and Take His Job (Day 1, Session 2)

Hi there. I was at AdaCamp DC earlier this week. AdaCamp is a conference put together by the Ada Initiative non-profit organization to help further women in open source and open culture. My posts will reside in the AdaCamp DC category; watch that category if you’d like to read more about the event. Note the above photo wasn’t from this session; it was a challenging event to photograph so I don’t have a photos from every session. Session 2: Kill yer boss and take his job Despite the provocative name, this wasn’t a session about murder. I was a few minutes late to it, but I think the main goal was to talk about why there is a “glass ceiling” for women who have ambitions to work their way up the corporate ladder, and to brainstorm some strategies for busting through it. Why are there fewer women in the top ranks of organizations? The session goers started out by talking about some reasons why women might not be as prevalent in the higher ranks. #1: Tendency to not want to rock the boat It takes a lot of risk to work your way up, and there’s an increased reluctance on …

AdaCamp: The Magic Wand Session (Day 1, Session 1)

Hi there. I was at AdaCamp DC earlier this week. AdaCamp is a conference put together by the Ada Initiative non-profit organization to help further women in open source and open culture. I’ll be putting posts in this category under the AdaCamp DC category so watch that category if you’d like to read more about the event. AdaCamp is run barcamp style. Leading up to the event, Val and Mary led registered attendees in a brainstorm for barcamp topics to prime the pump. So, during the opening session on the first day, Mary read off the topics that we’d come up with collaboratively over email. Everyone was given a sheet of paper and invited to write up a proposal for either a topic off of the list Mary read or a new topic entirely. Then, Mary and Selena arranged the proposals along a schedule grid. I believe there were 8 or 9 rooms going at any one time, and there were four slots per day. I’m going to walk you through the tracks I attended with a rough outline of what was discussed. Session 1: If you could wave a magic wand, what would things look like? The premise of …

WiAC ’12: Panel / Strategies for a Successful Career in Computing

Hey! I was at the USENIX Women in Advanced Computing 2012 Summit earlier this week and am blogging the talks from it. You can view more of my posts about this conference under the wiac12 category on this blog. Panel: Strategies for a Successful Career in Computing Moderator: Rikki Endsley – community manager for USENIX Panelists: Jennifer Ash-Poole, AdNet Systems/NASA GSFC Jessica McKellar, Project Lead, Ksplice Group, Oracle Sherry Moore, Software Engineer, Google Margo Seltzer, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Rikki: Once you’ve been in a field for a while, you get bits of wisdom along the way. What do you wish you’d known then that you know now? What advice would you want to give yourself back then? Sherry: I think as a female engineer, one thing I definitely wish I’d known is to market yourself. There are many ways to market yourself that aren’t just about going to presentations, to your boss, or to your upper manager. If you want to be well-respected among other engineers, especially as the only female, you should tell the people around you about the hard problems you’ve been solving. Do this at lunchtime, in the hallway – but say it …

WiAC '12: Overcoming My Biggest Roadblock, Myself / Sabrina Farmer

Hey! I was at the USENIX Women in Advanced Computing 2012 Summit yesterday and will be blogging the talks from it. You can view more of my posts about this conference under the wiac12 category on this blog. Invited Talk: Overcoming My Biggest Roadblock, Myself Speaker: Sabrina Farmer, Site Reliabity Engineer, Google Inc. Sabrina started her talk by telling us that she has had a 17 year career in IT. She has been at google since 2005 and is now responsible for the of availability of Gmail worldwide. Her IT career started with her computer science degree, but she said, “I don’t think most people would guess what my journey was like.” She feels very passionate about advocating for women and inspiring women, which is the reason for her to decide to give the talk today. When Carolyn and Nicole first approached her about giving a talk at WiAC, she had no idea what to talk about. Nicole encouraged her to talk about her personal journey and successes rather than technical topics. “What is my success?” Sabrina asked herself. She went to three questions she’s used throughout her career to figure out what to do: What’s the problem? What’s the …

WiAC '12: Career Information and Workload Warriors – Time Saving Tips and Tricks / Clea Zolotow

Hey! I’m at the USENIX Women in Advanced Computing 2012 Summit and will be blogging the talks today. You can view more of my posts about this conference under the wiac12 category on this blog. UPDATE 19 June 2012: Clea has kindly sent me a copy of the STSM checklist she mentioned during the talk. It’s a spreadsheet file that you can download right here. Career Information and Workload Warriors – Time Saving Tips and Tricks Speaker: Clea Zolotow, Senior Technical Staff Member, IBM Clea started by talking about her early background. She graduated from high school in 1982. She first got into technology because she was lazy: she wrote a program in BASIC to translate Latin. Her career path started at Dunkin Donuts, then she became a bartender, and she ended up becoming a system programmer. She started her technology career in Medford MA as a ‘Kelly Girl,’ before the company came to be called ‘Kelly Services.” She was a typist for Amdahl computers on-site at American Express. There was a dresscode and she had to wear a skirt. She ended up getting hired by Amex as clerk. During Leslie’s talk, it was postulated that it might be easier …

WiAC '12: Staying Happy in System Administration / Emily Gladstone Cole

Hey! I’m at the USENIX Women in Advanced Computing 2012 Summit and will be blogging the talks today. You can view more of my posts about this conference under the wiac12 category on this blog. Staying Happy in System Administration Speaker: Emily Gladstone Cole, Operations Architect, Cisco Systems, Inc. Emily opened her talk by explaining that she’s been a system administrator for a decade. Over this period of time, she found that some people think she doesn’t know how to spell ‘ls,’ that she likes lightbulbs, and that her job will never be flashy. How did Emily become a sysadmin? She went to UC Berkeley, starting out in hard science. She has degrees in genetics and French. She happened to take a computer class and hung out in the basement of Evans Hall – the computer / math area – now called the dungeon. The area had stations/terminals – Apollo workstations and the open computing facility. This was her first exposure to UNIX. Friends told her that she had to get an email account so they could keep in touch – you could go there to get an account and use UNIX to check your email. After graduation, she got …

WiAC '12: Uncharted Paths / Leslie Lambert

Hey! I’m at the USENIX Women in Advanced Computing 2012 Summit and will be blogging the talks today. You can view more of my posts about this conference under the wiac12 category on this blog. Uncharted Paths Speaker: Leslie Lambert, Vice President & Chief Information Security Officer, Juniper Networks In her opening talk, Leslie walked us through her “uncharted” career path and demonstrated a common pattern in her professional development – she discovered some discipline or technology of interest, either went back to school or somehow got training in it, and switched career paths or roles to try out the new discipline. Her main messages were that you should never stop learning and you don’t need to choose between two ORs – you can AND your interests. Since Leslie was very young she was treated as a “smart kid.” One thing parents told her all along: “You can be anything you want to be!” They were very non-specific, so she tried to figure out what she actually wanted to do. For her in her early years, 7th grade (middle school) was a big fork in the road. This was when she and her classamtes started tracking into different classes in …

Women in Advanced Computing Summit (WiAC)

So a while back I made a blog post about the USENIX LISA ’11 conference Women in Tech panel. Carolyn Rowland (who was a panelist) and Nicole Forsgren Velasquez (who attended the panel and had some great insights to share) are putting together a brand new USENIX event: the Women in Advanced Computing Summit (WiAC). USENIX is having a federated conferences week from June 12-15 in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Women in Advanced Computing Summit is an all-day at the very beginning, on Tuesday, June 12. It’ll be at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, located in Boston’s Back Bay area by Newbury Street and the Hynes Convention Center. The Women in Tech panel was a really worthwhile and helpful event to attend and since WiAC’12 is organized by many of the same folks, it’s sure to be a great event to attend. The full program is available and the lineup of speakers looks pretty impressive. Get more information about the Women in Advanced Computing Summit at the conference website: https://www.usenix.org/conference/wiac12/tech-schedule/workshop-program