I just attended my first Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) event. To be honest, my inhibitions of attending their event was quite high since I live the graduate student life so never know when I can be promoted to being a “professional.” However, the event turned out be inspiring and fun! Few people from the Railsbridge workshop I attended last weekend were there and seeing them almost immediately calmed my nerves down. I actually knew someone (or in this case some people)!!
AITP did a great job ensuring that the panelists came from various walks of life. The link below lists more detailed biographies of the wonderful ladies. One of the questions raised by Barbara Berkovich, a panelist from UCSD was, “How many of you are doing what you thought you would be doing when you graduated high school?” The incredible answer was reflected when no one in a room of over 30 people raised their hand. When I graduated high school, I wanted to be patent lawyer and now am a graduate student in Cyber Security Operations & Leadership. So it was definitely powerful to know that I was not the only one whose life had other plans.
Other inspiring answers were given to questions like, “How can we integrate life-long learning into our daily practice?” Berkovich offered that the hardest step is the first step. Lynn Langit and Jessica Ellis supported Khan Academy’s informative videos and advised to just be the first person willing to figure it (a problem) out. This was a great question in itself since we are all often supporters of being a life-long student but it was the first time someone had given concrete steps on how to implement that in our daily life.
As a frequent attendee of women in tech events, I was sure the topic of the “glass ceiling” would come up. Surely enough the question was asked, the panelists did an outstanding job giving frank and useful answers. Karen Gibson of Quidel offered her experience on how it was up to her to prepare for the next level. Building relations that were based on trust, she said, was the key into obtaining senior positions. Langit’s view was to just quit – to be open enough to take the risk. I resonated with that answer since just having that option on the table would make anyone more powerful even if they decided to stay.
Other messages such as health is wealth, trust your instincts, force yourself to be ahead of the curve were all various gems the panelists offered. I walked into that room a little nervous, and walked out extremely inspired and ready to take charge. It must be true when they say you are the company you keep, because just in this short luncheon the positive, powerful vibes were extremely contagious!
Thanks to AITP, ISACA and the panelists for such an insightful event.