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There’s No Going Back!

“Robots and computers will own any clearly bounded job, skill, or game. Humans should focus on creative work.” @naval Ravikant

This statement truthfully sums up my beliefs and why I’ve become an advocate for requiring the learning of the language/s of TECHNOLOGY.

Regardless of your political, social, religious, etc. beliefs…change is the only constant and technology will continue to have an ever increasing impact on the economic landscape. There are opportunities being created today that weren’t more than a thought to a handful of individuals only 5-years ago.

There Is No Going Back!

 

Don’t wait on some person or policy to save you from what will happen in the future. Discoveries in technology have always led us forward and eliminated what was once thought of as innovative. To keep pace, we must evolve into ‘Learning Beings’. We must embrace our ability to turn our minds and talents to a thing with focus and discover ways to mold it to our will. We must keep up or be prepared to be left way behind.

There Is No Going Back!

Here are 10 jobs that once played important roles in a then economy:

  1. Bowling Alley Pinsetter
  2. Human Alarm Clock
  3. Ice Cutter
  4. Pre-radar listener for enemy aircraft
  5. Rat Catcher
  6. Lamplighter
  7. Log Driver
  8. Switchboard Operator
  9. Resurrectionist
  10. Lector who entertained factory workers

Here are 10 jobs that didn’t even exist ten years ago and are apart of the noweconomy:

  1. App Developer
  2. Market Research Data Miner
  3. Educational or Admissions Consultant
  4. Millennial Generational Expert
  5. Social Media Manager
  6. Chief Listening Officer
  7. Cloud Computing Services
  8. Elder Care
  9. Sustainability Expert
  10. User Experience Design

Here are 11 possible jobs of a future economy:

  1. Chief Productivity Officer
  2. Excess Capacity Broker
  3. Drone Manager
  4. Private Industry Air Traffic Control
  5. Medical Mentor
  6. Self-Driving Car Mechanic
  7. Autonomous Transportation Specialist
  8. Personal Medical Interpreter
  9. Human-Technology Integration Specialist
  10. Wholeness Mentor
  11. End-Of-Life Coach

This was not written as a platform to shame those individuals who are happy with the status qu0 but rather to inform them that even the status qu0 is changing and changing rapidly. Becoming a Learning Being means that you get to decide what the status quo is for you.

Because There Is No Going Back!

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I’m Not Being Defensive…I Just Said No.

All my life I’ve felt that I’ve had to exist in two worlds,

  1. Being Honest
  2. Being Female

and they seldom seemed to be allowed to exist at the same time, in the same place.

If I am being honest, I’m being defensive and now I must be concerned with how I’m perceived by others.

If I am being female, I do not offend but I also am not being truthful. My ability to effectively communicate my needs and desires suffers, which is deemed as acceptable as long as others are not made to feel uncomfortable.

I’ve had far too many experiences to count when my attempts at clearly stating my intentions has been called “being defensive” and something that I needed to evaluate.

Why does my ability to say “no” offend?

And more importantly, why should I care if you take offense?

If it’s one thing that I’ve learned about myself since entering the technology space two-years ago, it’s this:

My Ability To Maintain My Sense Of Peace, Trumps You Taking Offense To My Unintended Words Or Actions.

When I first read the Four Agreements, I was blown away by the sense of permission to be my true self that I felt. And although it was a paradigm shifting experience, I was not sure I’d ever get to a place where I would consciously intend to live by its tenants but I now am. I face each day with these intentions:

  • Be impeccable with your words.
  • Don’t take anything personally.
  • Don’t make assumptions.
  • Always do your best.

This is who I am. This is who we ALL are. Do we fall short? Of course. But what I will no longer do is believe that I have to compromise. I no longer have to choose between being honest and being female, nor will I.

I am loud, silly, smart, courageous, honest, female, and so much more.

Learn to take comfort in knowing that what I say is what I mean. That you do not have to guess at the truth behind my words. That I am going to be authentic and that my words and actions are my attempt at being in alignment with that authenticity. That I have consciously thought through my response in an effort to alleviate any chance of miscommunication and eliminate discomfort to all involved.

So, I am not being defensive…I just said no.

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Strategies For Attracting More of the “Underrepresented” Onto the Conference Stage

Since technology now literately touches almost everyone and it is no longer the playground of just a few, it isn’t economically prudent to build products and services that don’t reflect the needs and desires of large portions of the population. So it makes sense that conference organizers are turning their focus and effort to ensuring that program content is inclusive and diverse. This post is meant to aid conference organizers in making sure the stage is a real option for anyone who’d like to take it.


Those who know me know that I’ve embraced my status as “underrepresented” in the tech world. For the first time, being a black female has opened doors for me that in any other industry I’d have to pry open to gain access. So I’m thankful for every opportunity I get to learn, connect, and travel because of who I am.

In my efforts to expose myself to as many of these experiences as possible, I’ve discovered that there are some assumptions being made on behalf of conference organizers which are often creating barriers to entry that they may not be aware of. These assumptions are:

  • They know us
  • They know what to do
  • They will figure it out

They know us

This assumption is rooted in conference organizer’s belief that the community knows about them already. And this may be so. Your conference may have a wonderful reputation, you may have people lining up every year waiting to attend or present, and you may have the data to prove your success. But what you don’t have is any relationship with the “underrepresented” communities which you’d like to attract.

Strategy

Conference organizers and supporting community members need to take intentional steps to build relationships within the communities they’d like to attract. Hold meet and greets, offer scholarships, sponsor some of their events. The point is to become a community ally, a group of individuals who are seen as trustworthy and committed. By building relationships within the communities you’d like to take the stage, you will be demonstrating your conference’s values while introducing it to the very communities you’d like it to serve.

They know what to do

This assumption is rooted in conference organizer’s belief that the CFP process is an easy one. Not long ago, there was a BIG conference organizer who took to social media to complain about submissions that didn’t follow their anonymous submission rules. Since I was sure that I was one of those who made that mistake, it didn’t feel good to be called out about it, even if no names were called. I felt shamed and was thankful that my presentation wasn’t selected.

Strategy

If there’s ANYTHING about your CFP process that’s different than the boilerplate…PLEASE PROVIDE CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS! Most people who’d like to speak, have their presentation details in a format which makes for easy “copy and paste”, just as most conference organizers create their CFPs. So unless something stands out, it may be missed.

Even then, make sure that you’ve made the effort to OVER explain your expectations. Use images and video whenever possible because remember, your goal is to attract to the stage those individuals who wouldn’t otherwise be there. Which means MEETING THEM WHERE THEY ARE.

As a educator, I know that if I keep seeing my students making the same mistakes, it’s time to change my approach. If your requirements are important, provide mentoring throughout the CFP process. This will ensure that proposals are completed in the appropriate format. But above all else, please DO NOT take to social media to complain because the very members of the “underrepresented” communities you are trying to attract are watching.

They will figure it out

This assumption is rooted in conference organizer’s belief that once they’ve accepted the “underrepresented” presentation, that their work is done. And this is far from the truth. In fact, if it’s important that these speakers are successful, then your work has just begun.

Strategy

Since I am new to the space and finding employment has been challenging, I ONLY apply to conferences that cover travel and accommodation expenses. So if your conference is able to offer this extra, please plan to make it a simple process. Please ASSUME that speakers who indicate that they need their expenses covered, mean just that…that they do not have the funds to attend without the conference’s help. Asking them to pay up front and wait to be reimbursed could seriously cause them a financial hardship. Plan ahead of time by setting funds aside to make travel and accommodations arrangements on these speakers behalf. Because after stating that they need financial assistance during the CFP process, no one really wants to go back and forth with conference organizers about this. As a person asking for assistance that was offered, it just doesn’t “feel right”. Either figure out how it’ll be paid on the speakers behalf or don’t offer it.

Also, make sure there are supports in place to help with presentation development, stage fright, and overall moral support. This experience should be as safe and nurturing as possible. Members of “underrepresented” communities are often discriminated against in their every day lives, so as an event that is actively seeking their participation, conference organizers must take extra steps to cultivate an atmosphere that is warm and welcoming.

The team at ScotlandJS did an amazing job with this. Not only did they have a code of conduct, which they strictly adhered to, they went out of their way to make sure that my first conference presentation, my first international travel, and my birthday was a special and celebrated occasion.

Side Note:

If you are interested in how to create a successful diversity program for your conference please reach out to Peter Aitken, organizer of ScotlandCSS and ScotlandJS.

In conclusion, I commend those conference organizers who understand the importance of diversity and inclusion and are thriving to make sure the their program content better reflects today’s population and sensitivities. I hope what I’ve shared can help you in creating an experience for which all parties will walk away happy and fulfilled.

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#CodeAScene Vol. 3

I’ve decided to take you along on my coding journey by using #CodeAScene to ask for help and resources to share with the community as I work my way through “Learn Python the Hard Way”.

Here are the conversation from the week of May 10 – 16, 2019

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#CodeAScene Vol. 2

I’ve decided to take you along on my coding journey by using #CodeAScene to ask for help and resources to share with the community as I work my way through “Learn Python the Hard Way”.

Here are the conversation from the week of May 3 – 9, 2019