Women In Tech (WIT) conference 2018

Women In Tech (WIT) conference 2018

I attend many conferences and tech events each year. Mostly are great in terms of tech talks but WIT was inspiring in terms of innovation, digital transformation, personal development, diversity and career development.

It is quite heart-warming when you see many strong and smart women in the senior leadership positions and it was also motivating to talk about mutual issues at workplaces and reviewing our future visions.  

As a take way, I would like to point out to a few talks I attended and recapping what I have learned from them very briefly. There were many more topics but I just wrote what I was interested in and I could attend.

1- Unblocking Innovation for Digital Transformation by Miriam McLemore

Digital transformation is a matter of survive in the competitive world of IT for businesses. What is digital transformation?

In the old world of IT, everything was disconnected but now a days employees, marketing, social media and every other aspect of a business are well connected.

So you need to identify the changes you need to take in your business in order to achieve the goals. Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all area of business. Personalisation, data analysis, online sales and marketing ,.... It come to break down the innovation barriers.  Companies need fundamental changes on how they operate and deliver values to the customers.

Consequently it needs cultural changes since digital transformations is based on experiment and preparation to accept the failure. So digital transformation touches customer experience, cultural changes and leadership visions.

The new world of the IT rapidly moved toward the AI to leverage all capabilities and finding proper use cases for enhancing customer experiences . Many top companies according to KPMG utilised AI to personalise the context, to assist the sale department by building Chatbots with the help of voice recognition to identify customers need.  

In terms of how we decide to move through the digital transformation, we need to apply two-ways decision other than one-way.  One way decision  is when you open a door to walk in but if you don't like it there is no way back. However, in two ways decision you walk in and walk out from another door if you don't like that choice. One way decision should be made thoughtfully and slowly while two ways decision should be made quickly and experimented through MVP process.

2- How to Talk to your Boss about Diversity, Like a Boss! by Roisin Parkes

Surveys showed women enjoy their career, feel confident and ambitious however 56% of them leave their job in the middle. The reason is they don't get enough support from their managers.

The filling of exclusion is something which happens to women in IT a lot. Exclusion from decisions, meetings, discussions and even daily catch ups.

Women should learn to have proper conversations with their managers and ask for their supports. Simple steps can help you reaching out your voice in the team.

  • Ask your manager to ask for your voice specially in the meetings.
  • Take a change to lead even if it is leading a discussion
  • Ask your manager to back you up and not immediately ignore your idea. Ask them to give a chance to you to articulate your idea.
  • Ask your manage to keep you also in mind when they are making any decision.
  • Ask them to be better Ally. (BetterAllies.com)

3- “Fueling your life”- How to Live an Extraordinary Work and Personal Life by Melissa Verner Green

When yo work in a smart, high performance team, you need to be also on fast pace which sometimes is quite stressful and you need to take care of yourself. You need to be organised and exactly know what you expect from your life.

In order to have a proper vision, Facebook proposed a program to its employees called Fuel. The summary is you need to have a thorough plan for your personal life, career, community. You should write them down as detail as you can in the range of 1 year, 3 years and 5 years plan.

Then you need to share it with your team, in particular with your manager. You should share even the personal ones for instance I am going to renovate my home this year!As simple as this.

The reason is when something is on your mind, your brain is overload and you are here and you are not here.

Practice: Fast Forward one year from today - what does extraordinary success look like for you? What do you want to be known for?  Then write it down in extreme detail as if you’re looking back one year from now…..
* Business
* Personal
* Social good

• Describe what were your accomplishments professionally? Be specific, describing the outcomes that you (and your team) produced. Use key metrics so you can track progress.
• What were your accomplishments in other areas of your life that matter to you? Be vivid and specific. Areas can include: health/well-being, relationships, family, friends, community, recreation, finance, home, etc.
• Describe the culture of your team.
• How did you grow and improve?
• Describe the quality of important relationships.
• What is your outlook on life?
• What are you known for? Notes:
• Why is this important to you?
• Share about your year as if it's already happened. Use past and present (vs. future) tense.
• Be specific (avoid words like “more” and “better”)
• You do NOT need to know HOW to get there.

4- Why it is Critical to take Men on the Journey of Equality by Ben Green

This talk was about the importance of having mentor and sponsor in your career.

Mentoring is more about having someone to ask your questions, getting advice and guidance to achieve your goals. You need to build network to find some mentors.

Sponsors though, recognise your strengths, abilities and ambitions. They invest on you, have 1:1 with you and literally walk you through the steps you need to take.

So we need to make it socially ok for the community to catch up with your sponsors. Don't bring judgement to your relations.

5- Why Truth and Valour Trump Short-Termism and Gantt Charts by Gail Williamson

Curiosity leads to creativity. So in order to have innovation in your business get people with some characteristics like curiosity.

Sometimes best imagination is stronger than best practices. In the innovative companies, everyone can reach out others without considering any hierarchies.

In innovative companies, people learn to say comfortably 'NO' as a social contracts. They value  'sorry I did not follow you ' as much as when you say 'I got it'.

They encourage people to increase their self-awareness to avoid saying things which is hurting their team.

6- Avoid the Pitfalls of Today By Creating a Long-Term Plan by Natasha Mandie

Having a purpose in the career is the toughest one. When you pick one purpose you limit your options and this is why everyone scared of having a purpose. However, it is the only way to reach the success and measure it up!

When you have purpose you have the clarification to set the priority of your works. You are able to say 'NO' to other things in order to achieve the thing you are passionate about.

You might be concerned on how genuine your purpose is?! you should not! Don't worry!  you are able to validate your purpose through MVP. In MVP you are prepare for any failure so you reevaluate if it works for you and if after a while you are still keen to keep this purpose.