Wednesday, January 21, 2009

NerdGirl: Women in Lotus World, part 1

Yesterday I attended an open session Geek102. A concept from Kristin Keene about women in Lotus. Or as its subtitle said,
NerdGirl:Making Geek Chic.

EDIT: forgot to say Libby Ingrassia, Notesgirl was the Moderator.

The panel session included some well known bloggers and IBMers.
Gabriella Davis from The Turtle Partnership
Irene Greif of IBM
Maureen Leland of IBM
Kathleen McGivney, the Domino Chick of Sakura Consulting
Mary Beth Raven of IBM
Jessica Stratton of Solace Consulting and the Momelettes site

So what was I doing there?

I, along with Jess Stratton, had submitted a BoF to the powers that be for Lotusphere 2009 on helping women get into Lotus and what can we do to help and what should I, as an employer and well, a guy, know or think about in pursuing this line of thinking. How can we interest women to pick up the Lotus world?

As we learned, women make up a minute amount of attendees at Lotusphere, yet it is still more than you will find at almost any other similar event.

The panelists each discussed their progression to where there are today, along with the detours imposed and obstacles (teachers/organizations/managers) which can occur along the way. Also the luck of being in the right place at the right time to get exposed to Lotus Notes and Domino or take on something new that hadn't existed before. Some opined that they always liked the idea of developing and when finally given the chance, and the right tool, Notes, they never looked back. It also helped that their parents let them know they could do anything in this world, if they wanted to do so. Something not every parent imparts to their children unfortunately even today.

Interestingly a few panelists also shared similar backgrounds in English, Writing, Rhetoric and Reporting. Communication and sharing or consensus of agreement were mentioned quite a bit as well.

SO...What did I learn?
All men read /. (slashdot.org for those who don't read it...like me),lie about their technical prowess, try to one up each other with technical geek details or obscure Star trek references. Additionally, men seem to have the latest and greatest code/device the day available.

Stereotypes for sure, yet how the panelist choose to work with these items was more telling. Tune in to Part 2 to read more when I have free time soon.