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The Courage To Be Uniquely You


Presented by Women Who Code Dallas-Fort Worth Speaker: Nicole C. Calhoun Topic: The Courage To Be Uniquely You
As women, sometimes we struggle with where we are in life. We struggle with the roles we play. We’re frustrated that we didn’t get the promotion or the raise or even the recognition. We think that to get where we want to be, we need to become more like our male colleagues, like “one of the guys”. Becoming like one of the guys is not the solution, the solution is having the courage to be uniquely you.
This event is led by Nicole C. Calhoun. Nicole is a high-energy and results-oriented professional who has worked with diverse multi-cultural teams around the world. She brings 25 years of corporate and technology experience to her training workshops.
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Thrilled to introduce tonight's speaker. Nicole is a high energy and results oriented professional who has worked with diverse multicultural teams around the world. She brings 25 years of corporate and technology experience to her training workshops. In addition, she has highly technical experience that includes enterprise level technology systems with such roles as software engineering, business system analysis and project manager, project management, and not to mention, she is a certified John Maxwell Team trainer and coach. She is prepared to deliver content that adds value through an inspiring, engaging and exciting experience that we hope you will enjoy tonight. Everyone, please welcome Nicole. Thank you, Patty. Thank you. And thank you, everyone who is joined here today. I want you to do me a favor really, really quickly. So on. I want you to be able to see be me. So if you can Pin, if you can select the screen where I am and then select those three dots and just click on pin. And that way, if something comes up, we won't go between screens. Okay. But I am so happy to be on here with you all today. As you can tell, my background is in technology. And so I love working with tech groups. Women in tech groups. I love it. And by the way, ladies, happy Women's History Month. Happy Women's History Month. My 14 year old son asked me, why do women need a whole month to be celebrated? Listen, I almost went into stereotypical black Mama response mode, okay? Don't you know I burped you? I woke up in the middle of the night to feed you. I cleaned your smelly diaper and your snotty nose. Do you want to ask that question again? But you know what? There will come a time. There will come a day when that question will be relevant. Why would we need that? Right. And it will be because women will be recognized every day, enrolled everywhere, on every level. But until that day, we're going to keep celebrating our month. So, Yay, that deserves an applause. So one of the things that you all are going to realize is that I love interaction. So, hey, I may have you all come off. I may ask a question and ask you to put it in the chat. I'm so glad Vic is monitoring the chat because you can let me know if I missed something. But I love interaction. Okay? So don't be afraid to interact with any of the questions that I ask. We're at the end of a work day, so just relax and take it all in. All right. And you know, one of the things as I look around at this Zoom room, I'm excited by what I see. I see women of all ages, ethnicities and career stages. I see daughters, sisters, wives. I see some guys out there. Yay. I see mothers. I see friends. I see women delicately balancing all roles, all of their roles, while being the ultimate professional. I see power, I see strength, and I see dignity. And I love this picture because I didn't see this when I first started my career 25 years ago. Can you believe it? 25 years. So 25 years ago, I showed up to an old dingy building called the Chevrolet Central Office in Warren, Michigan, and I was fresh out of College. I was excited, and I was excited about what I had coming in store. I was about to embark on a career where I was making the most money I had ever seen in my life. A whopping $33,000 a year. And to answer your question, yes, there was something wrong with that number even back then. But walking through those security doors, I thought, Nicole, girl. You made it big. I was entering one of the most admired professions, even to this day, information technology. And my new manager, he met me at the security desk and led me down some hallways and corridors. And so we reached the stairway to my new office in the B suite. You've heard of the C Suite? This was the B suite. Translation, the basement, which, by the way, was equally Benji but with no windows. Now, down there, there were other new College grads all starting the renowned system engineering development program of Eds. Eds is a company founded by Ross Perot. It's been turned over, bought out, merged several times. They're no longer in existence, but they had a program that it was a really good program. In fact, other companies would hire people that were a part of this program. And Eds, they got smart. They started finding people if they left before two years of completing that program. But as College grads, we were wide eyed. We were very green. We were hopeful, excited and ready to meet with expectation. Whatever the job had in store, I was ready. Or so I thought. I didn't know. I was in for one of the biggest challenges and longest journeys of self discovery simply because I was a woman in the traditionally male industry. Now, that journey, it turned out to be the best thing to ever happen to me. Was it all fun? No. There were good times. There were bad times. There are ups and downs. But again, it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. Like many of you, I've experienced frustration when I didn't get the function. Maybe the opportunities or the raises. In fact, I realized I was passed over. I realized I was underpaid, and I realized I was over utilized. Yeah. Let's talk about those late night production support calls. Two, three in the morning. And I told myself it was because I'm not one of the guys. That was the biggest crop of crap I could have ever told myself. And I am here because I don't want you to tell yourself the same I mean crap. The same crap. I'm just messing with you all. I don't curse. I really don't. Except for on occasions when I can't find the most intelligent, intelligent words to fully express myself. Like when I stuck my toe. Right? Some of you are laughing because you've been there, but don't mind me. I just have to do what I need to do to keep you awake and make sure you are not falling asleep on the other end of this camera. Okay? You've been in meetings all day. See, what I expected was a straight shot up the career success ladder, but the reality was more like climbing a rugged, rough and tough mountain. Does that sound familiar? Yeah. You know, my mentor, John Maxwell says everything worth having is uphill. Let that soak in, ladies. Don't let the disappointment of unmet expectations stop your client. Instead, pull out the tools in your tool bag and keep it moving. Keep moving and working within your unique talents, your skills, and your strengths. These, whether you know it or not, are your unique muscles. They are your superpower. Do you know that you can spend 20% of your time working on things you are great at, and that 20% will give you 80% of your results? That's called the Pareto principle. And the reason for it is because you're great at it. You have passion for it. You're going to give it your off. You could probably do it in your sleep. So why waste your time trying to act like one of the guys, or anyone else for that matter, so that you can get in advance? Does that ever work for you? I want to see the hands of those work acting like one of the guys has worked for you all I see, Patty, you are who you are for a reason, and you are meant to bring that to the table. Not to mention, no matter what, there's going to be some that like what you do and there's going to be others that won't. And believe me, I know because there are some things that I do that tend to shock people, but I do them simply because of who I am and how I was raised. Now, let me tell you, my mom is the epitome of I am woman. Hear me war. And with good reason. She was shuffled through foster homes as a child, so she learned to fend for herself very early. And she raised me to be the same way. So during my childhood, anytime there was something requiring heavy lifting, we were doing it ourselves. She said, Come on, Nicky, let's rearrange living room furniture. And I'm thinking, what now? You want me to lift what? But Mom, I can't lift the couch with my response and be quiet, girl, and pick up your end with hers. So I would pick up my end and I grind my mom. It's slipping. And she didn't care. She wasn't having it. No excuses. Her response was, you better not drop this thing on me. Now imagine this 100 pound tall, skinny, I mean, bony teenager trying to lift a couch. They called me olive oil. That gives you any kind of perspective. And whether or not I thought I could do something, I was doing it. But you know what do you need? Your refrigerator. Move. Done. You need help with your fixer upper. I'm on it. What? Your car won't start? Girl, I got jumper cables. No, seriously, I do have jumper cables. We push cars and move furniture up the stairs. Down the stairs and back up again. So naturally, being her daughter, I've inherited some of the same traits. I don't know if my husband knew what he was getting into, but you know what? Remember I said no matter what you do, somebody's not going to like it. And that's not your problem. See, acting like someone else nor hiding your talents will help you advance. I love sweets. They're my downfall. And I especially like cake. It's like a passion, okay? I mean, really, it's bad. And that passion is exactly why I have this new pillow around my waist. But we're not going to talk about that. But you know what's probably the runner up to cake brownies. And do you know what the best part of a brownie is? It's that very edge where you get a good mixture of the chewy and the crunchy. I see Melissa says she loves desserts. Yes, so you know Melissa. But the best part is that very edge for me. Oh, my goodness. There's nothing else like it. Eltonbrowny, we're going to have to talk about this. But have you ever seen someone cut off the edge of the brownie and try to throw it away? They may as well have committed a crime. Sorry, baby. You probably do it. We'll talk. We can trade. But, you know, every time we try to be someone else, we're eliminating what could be the best part of us. Be careful with trying to fit into a mold. You just might cut off the best part. You might cut off the part that the people around you actually need. So you don't have to be like one of the guys you're not supposed to be. You just need to be courageous enough to be unique with you. Katie, put in all ten brownies. I'm going to someone, please copy that and send that to me. So how do you unleash the real view? Well, you certainly don't have to push powers and move furniture, but today I'm going to share three key elements that will get you there, and that's self discovery, self esteem, and self promotion. Now, I just want to say quickly, we only have about, I guess about 40, 45 minutes. So I'm going to give you as much information as I possibly can. But I know some of you are going to want more. You're going to want to dig into this. And how can you grow yourself into these areas with self discovery and self promotion and self esteem. So I promise I'm going to save a few minutes at the end and tell you a way to dig into this even more. If that's of interest to you. Is that okay? Okay, so it starts with self discovery. Okay, ladies, I have a challenge for you. I'm going to give you, I'll say about 30 seconds. I'm not even going to take the time to put the 30 seconds on the clock. You're just going to have to stop. When I say stop, but I'll give you I'm going to guess it's about 30 seconds. And when I tell you to go, I want you to think of seven of your skills and put them in a chat. Go. I was going to say I'm not seeing anything. Katie, seven of your skills in the chat. Fan said eating everything. Liza helping people find their inner Compass. Oh, I love that. Okay, stop. I've given you way too much time. Now, would you say if that was easy or hard? I want to type in the chat. Whether that was easy or hard for you? There's a few of you that said easy. I see. Emily said seven was tricky. Most of you said hard. Some said definitely hard. Someone said difficult and it was hard with seven. Seven was tricky. Okay, seven is a lot. Sierra, we need to talk. Seven is not a lot. Now, I had you do that exercise because as women, sometimes we struggle with where we are. We're frustrated that we didn't get the promotion or the raise or even the recognition. And after a while, we start feeling like it's because we're women. Now, there's some truth to that, but it's not the only thing. And it's probably not the biggest thing holding us back after training plenty of women, I can say without a shadow of a doubt, there are some fundamentals we don't know about ourselves, hence this exercise. And that was holding us back. And those things we don't know about ourselves is why it's hard for some of us to list more than a few skills. We don't know who we are, our passions, our values, our worth. So when we show up, we show up lacking confidence, defeated and frustrated. And that's not who you are. You are a woman of value. Once you solidify who you are, believe me, the world responds in agreement. Now I know because I've been a person who didn't have the confidence. I've been the person that didn't know what I brought to the table. And when I found out my value, it all changed. People know the difference. So who are you? Who is Melissa? Who is Fan? Who is Katie? Who is Laura? What are you great at? What do you bring to the table? I guarantee you you bring something significant to the table. You are a unique package of talent, skills and abilities. But I bet you don't even see it. I know most of you don't. I know because I've been there. We underplay our own accomplishments and overplay that of others. But guess what? Your employers hired you because they need that unique mixture that only you can bring. Now, it took a painful incident for me to arrive at my own selfdiscovery. You know that sick feeling you get when you know something major is about to happen? Well, yes, that happened to me. I was at a fork in the row trying to travel two paths. On one hand, I was traveling the promotion path, and on the other, I was pursuing my passion of empowering women. Both required a lot of work. You all a lot. Now, I do want to pause quickly because I want you to understand that I don't share this storyline. In fact, this person that I'm going to reference has been very, very supportive to my advancement. And ultimately, what happened next in this story became a gift that caused me to finally solidify who I am. So on that day, each of the senior leaders in they showcased their direct reports and gave remarks of the significance of their roles. And the moment that the leaders started presenting, my stomach did this weird turn flip flop thing. See, of my colleagues, I was very much aware I was the only woman, the only African American, and the only person who was not a vice President. Though my role was very significant. And just before our slide displayed, the thought flashed in my mind. I wonder if I'm on that slide. Guess what? I wasn't there. My heart sank. Years of holding back flashlight. Years of working hard and being over a Passover flashlight. Years of hoping that next year will be the year to make VP flashbox. Can you relate? First I was hurt. Then I was angry. You know that I can't think straight angry. Then I must have snapped out of it because I thought enough to take a screenshot and sent a screenshot to my mentor. And after about a week of playing out every possible scenario of how that could have happened, I brought it up to my manager. That was hard. And we both had a very uncomfortable but much needed conversation about why these types of things tend to happen to women. And it was a lesson for both of us. And I have to say, he quickly fixed it. But it didn't fix me because I asked myself, Nicole, why is this bothering you so much? What do you really want? And I knew what I really wanted was to empower women who are like me. Women like you. And that was my defining moment. That was when I looked at myself in the mirror and I asked, who am I? Listen, I don't care how many degrees you get, how much money you make for the size of your house, or the name of your car. You will never hear me. You will never be fully satisfied until you find out who you are. Now, how do you discover who you are? Well, you start by looking at your passions. What do you love doing so much? You would do it for free. Understand your skills and your expertise. In what ways are your clients or your colleagues seeking your advice? They are seeking it for a reason because they know you have something valuable. Give a handle on your values. What's important to you is it family? Is it community, integrity, honesty and own your accomplishments. Stop taking these for granted. Some of your work has earned the company millions of dollars. Sometimes we act as if what we have done is much of nothing. Get clear on who you are. You want to change the view that you have of yourself. Because, ladies, you are amazing. You are amazing. We just talked about selfdiscovery. And if I were to rank those three keys that I'm going to talk about today, that I would say is number one, that's the first place you want to start, and it's the foundation of the next two keys. And I love. Thank you, Patty, you've had to start a list of accomplishments. Yeah. And you want to do it at the time. You don't want to wait till the end. Yeah. Next, I want to talk about self esteem. I've noticed a repeating thing with the women that I trained entry level, mid career or senior leaders, no matter what level, we all struggle with something called imposter syndrome. Now I'm going to put a definition here up here on the screen, because I want you to see this definition of imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is persisting, persisting selfdoubt. Keep in mind, we all have doubts, but this is something that doesn't go away. So persisting self doubt and feelings of incompetence, despite your education, your experience and your accomplishments, we say things like, I'm not good enough, I'm not smart enough, or how about this one? You're going to find out I'm a fraud. You thought you were the only one who thought that, didn't you? You're not. Last year, the consulting firm KPMG released their Advancing the Future of Women in Business report. And when asked, 75% of the women executives surveyed said they still experienced imposter syndrome. 75%. These were executives. Now, impostor syndrome comes from several factors. One is a lack of self discovery, which is why I said that is probably the foundation. And yes, Patty, you are right. That is a huge number. But also it comes when we do great things like taking on new roles or challenging our limits. It comes when we stretch ourselves and grow. We all feel like impostors sometimes until we do something we don't know whether or not we can do it. Just the very nature of that makes us feel like imposters. But guess what? Do it anyway. Do it anyway. So first you want to discover who you are, and then you want to kick imposter syndrome in the butt because people will only treat you the way you allow yourself to be treated. They know when you see value in yourself. Now I want us to do something here. If you have your phone handy, I want you to grab it. If you don't have your phone handy, if your camera is on, you can just use your Zoom screen. Patty has hers. Now, I don't want you to start checking your text messages. Okay. As Patty looks down at her phone, just so you know, Patty, somehow you got pinned to my screen. So I see everything you're doing. Okay? So open up your cameras. Hopefully you have your phone, open up your camera app, and then I want you to turn it so you can see yourself. All right? Or if you're using your zone screen, that's fine, too. You can look at your screen. Now I want you to look at yourself and I want you to say out loud to the women and then to the men. You're not going to say woman. You're going to say man, or you can say your name. Okay? So I want you to say this out loud. Just alter it however it works for you. I want you to say out loud, I am a woman of value. Yeah. I can see your lips moving. You all okay, I want you to say it again. I am a woman of value. Okay, now we're going to do this one more time. Okay? So if you need to stretch out, if you need to, we're going to do this one more time, because this time I want you to say it so that I believe it. And most importantly, I want you to say it so that you believe it. All right? Ready? One, two, three. I am a woman of value. Yes. Hadty. Yes. Give yourself a hand. I want you to keep saying that to yourself until you believe it, because believe me, you are a woman of value, and believing that about yourself builds your selfesteem. So what's the opposite of impostor syndrome? Something I'm going to tell you, because it probably can be all types of things, but I'm going to talk about executive presence. Executive presence consists of several factors, and it's not probably what most of you think. Executive presence doesn't mean that you have to be executive. It's that wow factor, the thing that occurs when a person walks into a room and can't be ignored, not because they're loud and boisterous, but because somehow their very presence changed the atmosphere. And guess what? Confidence gives the person that wow factor. When you become true to who you are, that confidence shows up. You walk a little taller, you speak with greater confidence, and people notice. But it's hard to have confidence when you when you're trying to be someone else. I mentioned earlier that no matter how you show up someone not to like it. I later realized that being that empowered woman that my mom made me offended some people, and I started hiding myself. When I said that holding back years, of holding back five, that's what I meant. I started hiding myself. And you know how we do? We dumb ourselves down. We display a neat, quiet, false humility so that we don't offend anyone. And it showed up throughout my life, not just at work, like in Church. My husband is a licensed Minister, and I can't tell you how many times people have called me sister. Say coup. In a black Church, we call each other brother and sister. I don't know what other people do, but we call each other brothers. But sake, who is my husband's name? As if I don't have a name. So I would show up as this quiet, Minister's wife. Like I had no thoughts, nothing to say. I hit myself because I knew showing up as a talented, strong, determined woman offended some people. It offended those who don't want to accept that a woman could be just as good in hiding. It left me self conscious. So I bite my tongue and eventually couldn't contain myself. And I would blurt out bold statements and open forms. Didn't matter whether I was at work, at Church didn't matter. Wherever I was, I just couldn't hold it anymore. Yeah, that's real good. Some people don't know which Nicole would show up. Would it be the Meek and quiet Nicole? Or would it be the bold not smoking Nicole? You know, if you do that too much, people start thinking something's wrong with you. I remember my spiritual mentor telling me, Nicole, a lamp is not lit and then hit me under a bed. A lamp is lit to give life. I had to own who I was because God designed me to be uniquely me, not someone else. And when I took ownership, I finally showed up unashamed. No more hiding. No more false humility. No more dumbing myself down. I look back at those days when my mom made me lift the furniture and push cards in her own way. My mom taught me I didn't need to be one of the guys. She taught me the courage, the strength, and the wherewithal to be unapologetically me. Listen. How can they see if we don't shine our lights? In fact, there are certain things they'll never see unless you shine yours. That's why diversity works. That's why it's better. It's the individual life working together that illuminates the full picture, the complete solution. When we're just relying on one light or similar lights, all we get is one part. Finally, it's time for self promoting. Don't cringe, ladies. Don't cringe. This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where you take control of your career, because this is where you sell yourself and your abilities. But I know enough to know that we women are very uncomfortable with this. We've been taught to be humble and modest. And I agree, I agree. Everyone should be humble. For that matter, we've also been taught to let our work speak for ourselves. Now, there's two problems with that. The first problem is when we do this, we put our career in someone else's hands. The second problem is our managers and supervisors. Guess what? They're not mind readers. They don't know all of the work you've done, and they certainly don't know your aspirations. They don't know all the fires you had to fight just to get one task done. All the hurdles that you had to jump, they don't know. They're not mind readers. This is why healthy self promotion is important. Now, I'm not talking about obnoxiously stealing off everything you've ever done. I'm not saying that. I'm talking about speaking about your accomplishments with passion and excitement, the same way we talk about the first time we cooked our first holiday meal and it did not burn or send anyone to the hospital. Right. We get excited about that. There are ways that we can get across to decision makers, to our supervisors, to our managers, to the higher ups, what we're capable of doing without being arrogant and private. And this is how we take control of our career. This is how we advance. Now, I struggled with that myself, too, but I found that when I shared my accomplishments and story format, it didn't feel like bragging. And I'm going to show you I want to show you really quickly something called Star Stories that will help you with that. All right, so Star Stories, these are stories that we use to record our accomplishments. And the S stands for situation. Hear you describe the situation that was required, and typically, it was something that wasn't very easy to do. Next is tasks. List the specific tasks that the situation called for. Next are actions. What were the actions you took to complete the task? And then finally, what were the results of your actions? Now when you're thinking about results, you want to think about, could anybody have done this? What was the impact? What would have happened if it wasn't done? Each time you complete an assignment, a project, something if you fought some type of fire that saved the company, you want to record your accomplishments, and this is a way to be able to do that. All right. All right. So we talked about self discovery. We talked about self esteem, and we talked about self promotion. Now, of course, we don't wake up one day and just say, hey, I'm there. It takes work. It takes growth. And we must be intentional about pushing beyond where we are now. We have to with anything. And that's the thing that I wanted to share with you all if you wanted to participate. I also work with another group called World Development. And at the end of April, I'm going to be offering a seven week learning circle. The learning circle is on 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, a book by John Maxwell. We're going to talk about the law of the Mirror. You must see value in yourself to add value to yourself. We're going to talk about why it's important to understand what you bring to the table. I'm going to talk about Environment 15 laws. Okay. So if that's something that's of interest to you, then I think we're going to share that in the chat. Now, they do charge a fee for that one, but it's seven weeks. It starts April 28. That's a Thursday at 06:00 P.m.. Eastern, and it's $120. That's the fee. That's what I was trying to get to, but believe me, it's well worth it. It's less than $20 a week if you think about the growth that you're going to have. But listen, hopefully you heard something in this. Hopefully I gave you something that you feel that you can take away and run with it. How many of you would say that I gave you that? Raise your hands or type yes in the chat. Okay, good. Thank you. You never want to get a silence behind that question. Great. Sorry. Is something I've never heard of, and it's so easy now. I think we have time for Q and A. So let's go ahead and open it up for Q and A. I love to hear what kind of questions that you have. Could you repeat the Star acronym again for me? I just want to make a note of that. Yeah, I'll put it back on the screen really quickly. Okay. Now, everyone else, start thinking of your questions, because I know enough to know that nobody ever wants to be the first person to ask a question. So Melissa already asked the question, so feel free to ask after that. Let me put it back on the screen. Hopefully I'm not blocking it. Am I blocking part of it? No, it's perfect. Thank you. Okay, I actually have a question about Star stories. Okay. I have a really hard time defining results or saying, like, I feel like people want tangible numbers. Like I drove, like 20% more business or something like that. Like, to me, that's a result. But when you work in software and product design, you don't necessarily have a tangible number to go with that. So how would you reposition results when it's not necessarily a tangible number? Well, whatever is the project you're working on, what is the benefit to the company? What are they going to make from it? That's one way to look at it. The other thing is it could be results in time. We cut down the turnaround time from normally this is 20 hours. In fact, I worked on archiving project like that years ago where it took us three days to archive, and we cut it down to, like, actually, no, it took two weeks and we cut it down in two days. So that's tangible. And then you can take even with time, you can translate if you have the numbers, how much that's saved in people hours. Because if you cut down the time, you're cutting down the cost in people hours, too. That's a really good point. Thank you. We just have to look at it in different ways. There is a question in the chat from Mary. She says for someone who is self taught and has the skills but will be competing against others with a University degree or et cetera, how does one avoid imposter syndrome? So, Mary, you don't necessarily avoid it. You have to remind yourself of what you are bringing. You have to remind yourself. So one of the ways to do that goes back to understanding what you've done. So I just want to get a little bit more clarity on Mary's question. Are you saying that have you started in the field yet? And you're asking how do you compete against the other people or are you in the field but you still feel the imposter syndrome because you feel like you haven't attended University? You can come off mute, Mary, if you want. So I'm finishing my studies, but I use Udemy and a lot of other sources. So I'm doing a lot of projects and things like that. I'm still learning. I'm 51, so it's about going into something I've never done before. I don't have any background at all. So coding was something brand new. I just started really enjoy that. I worked with a local nonprofit, started learning it and a teaching assistant, and I had no clue I was doing. So it was really fun. But for me, it's like when I'm looking at getting. Oh, you just cut out. Okay, until Mary comes, hopefully she's still there and can hear me. But so what I would say is remember that everyone started from somewhere. That's one thing that you want to keep in mind. The other thing is look at the things that you have done. So you taught yourself how to code. There's not very many people that can do that. So instead of reminding of yourself of what you haven't done, remind yourself of what you have done, and that will begin to build up that selfesteem. So you don't really feel so you don't let the imposter syndrome just kind of stop you. But to tell you the truth, we're all going to keep filling it, especially when we move into new roles. So it's just a matter of not letting it stop you from what you need to do. I'm sorry. I see another question, but I'm not sure which one if there was one before that. Oh, Fan pointed out something really good. Hopefully, Mary, you can see that Fan pointed out all her headphone died. Okay, well, hopefully she can see in the chat that Spam pointed out something really good to scroll past, but hopefully you can go back to it and see it. Was there someone else that had a question? Hi, Patty. I think Maggie raised her hand. Okay. Hi, Maggie. Hello. So I am currently mid career, and I think I've gotten reasonably far in terms of representing my work to others on my team. I have spent a lot of time talking to my coworkers. I know generally how my output stands compared to theirs. And the thing that I'm running into now is that I am trying to figure out how to build good one on one relationships that will last beyond next jobs. And in previous roles, like when I used to live in the Midwest, I would vaguely follow sports. Right. So that I could have small talk. I would watch the highlights of the games or whatever. And that's definitely somewhere where I benefited greatly by putting in a little bit of effort to fit in. And most recently, I've been thinking about this in the context of drinking events, because a lot of networking happens at these after hour events. But I have had several experiences that make me feel unsafe, especially in the context of, like, bars and heavy drinking. So I'm curious how you think about that and bringing your whole self to those interactions from an individual perspective and not necessarily, like, trying to fix the system. Yeah. So there are several ways I want to answer that question. One thing you did pointed out, which is something that is good to know, is that building relationships and network is important. Sometimes the roles that we get is because of who we know. I've had several roles that I've gotten that way. So what you're doing is great. And hopefully you all heard what she said because and I'll say that you do want to build lasting relationships because when it's time for you to move into other roles, those are people you're going to reach out for, too, even if it's to say, well, what is this role really about? Right. So you do want to build your network. But what I would say is and you're right, a lot of the networking happens at these, like, dinner events or after hours events. I have been one that I don't typically go to those I have, but I can count on one hand how many because my kids were really young as I was coming through my career. But I connect with people in different ways. So if I'm working on a project, like Patty talked about her cat walking across her keyboard, well, next time I talk to Patty, I'll say, Patty, how many cats do you have? Right. That's a way of forming a connection. You kind of try to see what interests people because not everybody is interested in sports. Right. I can look at your background and say, oh, I see you have a plant. I kill plants. And I can ask you that's building it takes time, but it's building those connections. It's building those relationships. So that's a different way to be able to do it. You have lots of books. What's the last book you read? Really? What was the last book you read? I see you have lots of books, but as you can see, there are ways to connect with people and build those. And they're very genuine relationships. Sometimes going to the bar and you're uncomfortable. You're not necessarily going to build a genuine relationship with people when you're in an uncomfortable setting. So if you feel like where it is going to be a setting where you are comfortable, then, yeah, go. But if it's going to make you uncomfortable, then don't do it. Do what works for you. The other thing is if you see something, I ask about your books because I read a lot. Right. So if you see something that you have in common with someone, then start a conversation that way. I have people that I haven't worked with in years, but I can Ping them now and ask them for a favor because we just built those relationships. I hope that helps. Does that answer your full questions or is it just part of it? It does answer my question, and I guess it's something that I've also been thinking about, and I think that works with some people, but I guess I don't want to be behind. Right. Because my coworkers are doing something and participating in something that is building those lasting relationships. And I think the thing that I'm trying to decide right now is whether or not attending these events is like building those connections. But yeah, that was really helpful. Thank you. Yeah. And another thing that I noticed a few years ago was that anytime we had senior leaders coming into the office, they're not all in the same location. So they would come from different places. My colleagues would set up just 15 minutes, maybe coffee chats with them. That may be another way to connect with a leader, especially as you are trying to move along in your career. Right. And you may say, hey, paying someone. Right. If you know them, I would like to set up a 15 minutes chat zone chat with you, because these are some things I'm looking to do, and I think I can get some really good advice from you. Oh, man, they love that. Right. So there are other ways to kind of engage those senior leaders. They have other lives, too. And it's just a matter of trying to figure out those things that interest them and doing it in a way, like you said, where you don't feel left behind. Yeah. You can get creative with it. Oh, and then there's people they may be answering. Sometimes people answer questions in the chat or things that they've done. Right. Hopefully that helps. I see Vic has her hand. Hi, Vic. And then I think someone way back beyond asked the question in the chat and it blew by. And I don't know what it was, but I'll have to ask her question. Yeah, actually, I will not ask any questions. I just want to share something because I've been in It industry for 20 years, and I've been a software engineer straight from when I graduated from College. So I've been traveling different country as well. I would say to Mary and other women here, I know a lot of men and women who never graduated, even College. They graduated in high school, but they are really good in programming. And actually, there are more other people that's higher than me. Even though I'm 20 years on it, I'm still learning until now. Just as long as you have passionate programming, I think you can excel. And for those connecting to other people, there's link in there's meetups. And also what I did when I was whenever I'm in the office, if I'm a new employee, I usually like sweets and cakes. So I take down all of the office Mitts birthday, and I gave them birthday cakes on their birthday. And it really works because I got this connection with all my officemates like, oh, it's his birthday. Everyone knows everyone's birthday. Yes. I need to work with you. But that's some really I'm glad that you brought up that because I've worked with people who weren't even trained in software development and they were some of the former teacher, one of my colleagues, previous colleagues. He just retired. He was a band teacher and he went to wear development. And he was one of the best people on our team. Yeah. It's as long as you have the passion, I think it's a big leap on your career. Thank you, Vic. Thank you. Yeah, that was some really good advice. Katie's baking a cake right now. Thank you, Katie. We have ten weeks. Who has her hand raised? I hope I said your name right, Chen? Yes, it is. Anyway, okay, great. Just want to thank you. I'm glad to be here. So you were just talking to me. I've been struggling with impostor syndrome recently. So I have a question because I'm actually trying to, in order to be confident, get me training, like training, because I'm a very sharp person on being confident. Well, it goes back to understanding your value. That's huge. I know it sounds really simple, but remember, it was hard for everyone to come up with those skills. The other thing I would say that worked for me is I joined Toastmasters and I was heavily involved in Toastmasters for about three years. That built my confidence to be able to present, but it also built my confidence to be able to speak off the cuff. They have a portion called Table Topics where you ask a random question. You said Toastmasters is awesome. It is. You're asked a random question. You know how you're in a meeting and someone asks you a question and all of a sudden your brain just goes to mush and you don't know what to say. Well, they have this thing called table topics. You're asked this random question And I think you have to answer it's a minute to a minute and a half. You do that enough time, you get really confident, you really start building your self esteem. Right? So those two things I think would be a really good start for you Is determining your skills and what you bring to the table, what value you're adding. And even with Toastmasters And I do believe that a lot of the clubs Are meeting virtually right now, but even with them, you can sit in on some of their meetings and see what it's like to see if you like it. Thank you so much. And by the way, I'm an introvert. I am. I'm an introvert, but I've learned to be extroverted and all that means is by the end of the day all of my energy is drained Because I've had to use muscles that are not natural to me. That's just me. Thank you. Eileen says she's an introvert too. I saw someone else said that too. Are there any more questions? Now I know there was a question in the chat. Did we answer them? Yes, I think all those questions have been answered. Okay. All right. Well, if there are no more questions, I'm going to wrap up. I'm going to close with this. If you can attend that class, I think it would be really helpful. We're going to be looking at the plans, we're going to be making plans for some of our goals and we're going to be mapping out ways to get there. I want you to understand that you are valuable when I say that everyone has skills and talents that they bring that no one else can bring to the table. I am very serious. I truly believe that it's a matter of understanding what those are identifying them and then owning them, being confident and being uniquely who you are. Now I want you all to do just one more thing. I want you to make a bold statement, all right? I want you to come off of mute. All right? I want everyone to come off of mute. Thank you, Leah. Thank you, everyone. Come off of you. We may hear it. Okay? We just want to hear each other. Okay? Now I want you to repeat after me. I commit to knowing who I am I will be courageous enough to be uniquely me? Great job five times.