Sophia, I can’t believe that it’s already been a full year since you were born. Happy Birthday to my strong, sassy, smart, and sweet girl! In honor of your first birthday, I want to reflect on some things that I’m proud of since returning from maternity leave as well as share some advice from my inspiring #GirlBoss friends.
My first work trip after returning from maternity leave was to CES in Vegas in January. I was proud to walk the floor of CES with 300 women on the “Girls Gone Walkin’ Floor Tour” organized by The Female Quotient and add a “Girl Boss” sticker to my CES badge. I also attended Leslie Berland’s incredible #HereWeAre Twitter event in reaction to the all male keynote speaker controversy. I can’t even put into words the amazing feeling that I had listening to the superstar women as they described their personal stories, journey and advice for other women in tech. I was smiling so hard that my face hurt and I wanted to jump out of my seat and hug every single speaker.
I was also beyond ready to see my kids after a few days of inspiration, innovation, and networking and booked the 7 am flight out to NY. When our JetBlue flight ended up leaking fuel and forced us to deplane, I chose to look on the bright side. This shared deplaning experience brought me together with 4 of the most unique, genuine, and smartest people that I’m now privileged to know from AdAge, WHOSAY, Mic, and Google over breakfast sponsored by JetBlue food vouchers.
We had so much fun together that we decided to create our own “JetFuel” community in order to encourage others to LEARN, NETWORK, and PAY IT FORWARD! AdAge hosted our first breakfast event and GA is hosting in July as we continue to build our community and encourage cognitive diversity and inclusion.
Lesson #1: Sophia, as you get older, you will be even more aware when mommy travels but in the words of Daniel Tiger, “Grownups Come Back”. Plus, it’s important to expand your circle of friends and actively seek out new communities, organizations that interest you, and things that you’re passionate about! When life gives you lemons, make lemonade as that breakfast or coffee meeting just might lead to something amazing.
I partnered with Disney on an incredible CODE: Rosie program that reskills existing female employees in non-tech roles into software engineers. The amazing, inspiring, and game-changing Nikki Katz, VP Technology at Disney, is featured on Fast Company’s Most Creative People list for turning women across the company into coders!
I also represented GA at a “Ladies in Tech at Turner” event with girls who code!
I’m excited to continue to push for more women in tech, data, and leadership positions and call out the need for more inclusive event speakers, board seats, and executive teams at every global organization. My daughter’s future depends on this and I’m excited to help shape what the future of work and leadership looks like for the next generation of leaders.
Lesson #2: Sophia, believe in yourself as you can be anything that you want to be when you grow up. Learn about coding, data science, AI, and whatever the next big thing might be for your generation. Ask the tough questions and learn to build things with blocks, programming languages, or paper prototypes. Be bold and push for a more diverse and inclusive world and business culture. Embrace your inner #GirlBoss and encourage others to do the same.
Ally Tubis, VP Data Science at Diply, recently introduced me to Yao Huang, Founder of The Hatchery and “Wonder Women” Dinners!
Yao asked me to Co-Host a Wonder Women Dinner in NYC in August.
Once I confirmed child care and travel schedule, I said YES! I immediately put together a short list of some of my favorite Executive Girl Bosses and the response has been overwhelmingly positive to make this happen.
Lesson #3: Sophia, say YES to things that you’re passionate about. I almost said no to Yao as it seemed like a lot to take on with everything else that I’m working on. Bring your favorite girlfriends together to make connections and trade advice and best practices. NEVER be a “mean girl” or get caught up with “mean girls”. It feels amazing to help others rise and succeed. Once you’re 21, always say yes to wine and good friends!
In today’s world, it’s beyond important to take time to learn new skills and tools in order to add value, stay relevant and drive strategic business impact. Plus, it’s important to find time to focus on yourself especially when the world is revolving around the needs of your kids and your job.
I chose a capstone project that was relevant to me, my kids, and my work. I focused on the CES keynote speaker controversy and looked at datasets from data.world & Forbes that featured the available pool of women in these positions. Plus, I explored the idea that we should alter the current CES keynote rules to better reflect inspiring and innovative keynotes.
As a result of this one week accelerated class, I feel more confident in using data sets to make critical business decisions, can write and run queries in SQL, and create compelling visuals in Tableau. Plus, it inspired me to make time for me and additional GA learning experiences. Python, Web Development, and Digital Marketing are next up on my list! I also want to make sure that my daughter and son are learning to code at a young age.
Lesson #4: The important word here is MAKE time as it’s nearly impossible to FIND time. Make time to learn new skills, exercise, go shopping, and do something for you. It’s easy to forget about “Me Time” and focus on everyone around you.
There’s no magic answer or playbook for my daughter on the best way to navigate her life and career. With that said, I want Sophia to reflect on this quick list of advice: “Be Kind. Actively Listen. Share your toys and stickers. Take a seat at the table. Make your voice heard. Get creative. Have fun. Experiment and Learn Fast. Empower Others. Delegate. Show Up. Say Yes. Believe in yourself. Keep Learning. Love your brother and family. CODE. Pay it forward. Don’t’ grow up too fast!”
Now it’s your turn.
Tag your favorite #GirlBoss and add to the
running list of advice!