Saturday, April 29, 2017

Real-life Stories

There is nothing like a story to inspire, uplift, and give hope that anything is possible.  Now imagine listening to the real-life stories of women as they share their experiences that exemplify the traits of determination, passion, advocate, resilience, inspire, and endurance. That is powerful. With my school district's equity challenge, my director of IT enlisted the help of others to host a 'real-life stories' night to highlight the experiences of women in IT.  I was honored to be invited as one of the speakers along with two of my former students.

The stories were incredible - a refugee who endured to establish a new life for her family, spending her last coins on buying a dictionary in order to learn English and who is now an IT specialist; a medical school student who is now researching neuroscience and learned to be 'relentlessly optimistic'; two students who first experienced the power of computer science as members of their robotics team in middle school who are now entering university and continue to use their computing skills to create apps for social good; a stay-at-home mom who learned to code at her kitchen table and founded Women who Code in Phoenix; a regional manager for Google who made a career-switch because of her passion for education; a teacher who continues to advocate for equity and access to computer science for all.

Some big-takeaways for me were:
1) never underestimate the power of mentoring
2) stand together to stand strong - community means everything as we are on this journey together
3) don't be afraid to set a goal and ask for it

At the end of the evening, all of the speakers were presented with this lovely frame with an inspiring message:

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