I was recently at the Hitachi Customer Conference and attended a Women in Technology luncheon. I always try to support these initiatives and this event was particularity interesting. It inspired me to share a few pieces of my story and tips for other ladies out there who may be struggling to find their way.
You can do anything!
This is easier to say than it is to do but it is something everyone (especially women) need to hear – you can do anything!
I was a premature baby and right after I was placed in the NICU, the doctors played my mom a video called “It’s okay to be early”. This featured all the potential problems early babies could have and left her in tears. When I graduated from college with honors, that same doctor reached out to my mom and said “I guess it’s not true what they say about preemies.” Nope, guess not.
My parent’s always encouraged me to be whatever I wanted and pursue any passion. The fact that I was female did not stop them from pushing me towards technology and mathematics. By the time I entered the workforce I was used to being the “only one”. In high school I was the only student in Computer Science class (yes only one, not only girl) and in college I was the only girl in my program. This was not a weakness but a strength which leads me to my next point.
Embrace your Personality
When I was the only girl in most of my college classes, I started buying valentines for my classmates. So on Valentine’s day I would start each class by delivering a valentine to each of the other students and the teacher. One year another student tried to make fun of them, to which the teacher replied, “Be quiet, this is the only valentine you are going to get this year.” I remember this frequently when I feel out of place because there is always someone who will want to bring you down. But you can use your individuality to reach others.
We are all different and that is good! Your personality makes you stand out among the masses.
It’s OK not to Know Everything
This point is still a growth opportunity for me – it’s okay to ask for help! Needing help does not mean you are any less of a person or that you don’t fit in with others. It just means you are aware of your own strengths and weaknesses. It means you know where you need others to ensure a great product is delivered.
I have seen this in my own life when I look at the D365/CRM User Group chapters I am a part of. When I became the Washington, DC Chapter leader there was no chapter team but lots of work to be done. Over the past few years we have built not just a team for DC but also partnered with other local chapters to work together. This has brought better content for all chapters and the ability to share best practices and tips. It has improved our chapters, spread out the workload and taught all of us many new things.
I hope these few anecdotes will encourage you to push towards your dreams. You can do it but you don’t need to do it alone!