by: Amie Frickel
I had the opportunity to participate in the "Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing" gathering in Houston, Texas recently. It was inspiring to see 12,000 women representing a broad variety of nationalities, life stages and professional experience rallying together, hungry for opportunity to share similar passions for technology, and to fuel individual desires to pursue their dreams.
All too often we unintentionally dilute our personal and professional dreams under the pressure of seemingly urgent day-to-day demands and cultural influences. Participating in the Grace Hopper event and hearing stories of personal and organizational transformation reminded me that our dreams fuel us with purpose. Purpose gives us direction and inspiration. Inspiration energizes us to learn and contribute with confidence. Confident contributions foster new ideas and create opportunity for positive change.
The Grace Hopper keynote and plenary speeches were delivered by several articulate and accomplished professionals and there were a few themes from these keynotes that stood out to me:
- Be unique and be yourself
- Be a change agent
- Be persistent, be brave, don't give up
- Use your talent to make a difference
- Take risks. Make better mistakes tomorrow than you did today.
How much more self-assured would we be if we had a little bird on our shoulder reminding us of these things? We need to be whispering this type of encouragement to ourselves and to each other through the twists and turns of professional challenges that we face each day. If you have ever been professionally overlooked, side-lined, excluded, doubted, misunderstood, rejected or disrespected then you know what I'm talking about. These things happen to each one of us and are part of a character-building professional journey.
Encourage yourself today to be unique. There is no one else who will "do you" better than you. Contribute your ideas and approach with a spirit of teamwork to complement and challenge the environment that you are in. Make it better. If you have a unique perspective, listen first, consider your audience and the situation carefully, and share your idea in a relevant way. Give others a chance to adjust to a new concept, a new approach, or a new way of thinking. Learn from your conversations and interactions and be self-aware, so that you can continue to develop your ability to collaborate and communicate effectively with a diverse set of individuals in a broad variety of situations. Concentrate on contributing constructively and fostering inclusion even if you think you are the most "different" one in the room.
As you meet resistance, have courage to be a change agent and the patience to accept small changes along the way. Remind yourself of the goals and dreams you had 2 to 10 years ago. Take a few minutes today to look back on your journey and see your growth! Give yourself freedom to refresh old goals and to create new ones. Tell yourself, "I can do this!"
As women in technology, let's continue to inspire and encourage each other… Don't give up, be yourself. Find and refine what you know you do well - and seek out opportunities to use your strengths! Be inspired that there is an opportunity each day for you to make a difference.
Amie Frickel - Executive Sponsor
VP, Application Development and Digital Services
1501 S Mopac Expressway
Amie has over 20 years of enterprise applications development, technical programs leadership, digital user experience design, omni-channel digital strategy, and organizational leadership experience.
Amie is a member of the Avanade North America leadership team for Digital Services. She provides Avanade team development, mentorship and support for high-profile enterprise engagements.