|Iíve worked in the IT field for over 20 years. In that time, Iíve seen incredible developments in web technology and design. Iíve even been a part of a scappy little startup for the past 8 years that has just recently really solidified its roots as a company that is disrupting the digital signage industry. It makes me proud to know that I am a shareholder; that I've invested in this company and will continue to support them and cheer on their success.
As a woman in this field I have seen my share of stereotyped behavior from everyone from sales people to fellow developers about a female working in technology. The bias is formed around the mis-informed perception that women are not seen as having the intelligence to understand technology enough to develop it. Iíve worked on both sides of development teams in the past. From being the one who codes a website application to create a contest engine, or even developing this very blog from code (not Wordpress - hell even before Wordpress), to being the one who builds a brand and allows a company to be perceived that they are farther down the runway than they are; creating a perception of success that directly impacts how customers buy. As I reflect on all of it, I realize that it always came easy to me. It was never difficult to learn new software or develop with new methodologies. Each time I would add to the base of skills I already had and the ease of adoption for anything new was an easy fit. I suppose itís just how my mind works. I wouldnít have been drawn to this industry if I wasnít a little bit of a designer mixed with a developer. Gosh, I'm not even content just using one dominant hand, I've been ambidextrous for as long as I can remember.
I had a conversation with a woman today whoís working in technology in the sense that they are a content writer and social media user. After hearing that I was retiring she said ďYes, it must be hard to keep learning new technology.Ē Which I replied, ďNo, Iíve never had a problem with that in the 20 years Iíve been doing it.Ē She made the assumption that I was leaving to pursue an ďeasierĒ career. One that didnít require as much thinking or learning. I didnít expect this type of bias from another woman, one who perhaps doesnít develop technology, but at the very least adopts the use of it easily. She perpetuates the notion that technology is hard which isnít true. Itís all about passion. I am passionate learning anything new. Doing the same things over and over can be boring for me. I love to create and design and build things. Itís easy when you follow your passion.
The thing that isnít explained when a conversation like the one above becomes awkward, is that my passion has changed. Iíve moved from technology as a focus to the brain and the field of neuroscience. That is where my new passion lies. Itís easy to understand once you know the life journey Iíve had. Once I learned the Anat Baniel MethodSM (ABM), there was no easy way to not get bored using a computer every day. I never thought I would say that 20 years ago. You see, watching my daughter at the pediatrician this week was reassurance that I had made all of the right choices so far. I can honestly say that I doubt sheís seen a child with hemiplegia CP progress as well as my daughter has. So whatís the difference? Surely there are other hemiplegia CP kids in PEI that had all of the same therapies that my daughter has...all but one...ABM. They arenít seeing the same outcomes because they werenít given the same learning experiences. So it's with that idea, that they could be doing just as well as my daughter has that drives me head first into a new career working with adults and children with special needs to provide the same experiences and opportunities to learn and change.
Steve Jobs, once asked the Pepsi CEO if he wanted to sell sugar water for the rest of his life or if he wanted to change the world. When I truly reflect on that and what it means over the course of your lifetime and what you've been put here to do, I can't sell sugar water anymore. I don't have plans to change the whole world...well not right away, but I do have plans to change the lives of some very special children. So that they are able to completely change their trajectory in life to live a life with more happiness and comfort being themselves.
Well that said, I doubt I will go on much of a tech hiatus. I'm drawn to anything that challenges me to think and keep learning. Which is what ABM does for me. I've had to really upgrade my brain over the past 3 years, and I have to continue upgrading and evolving to be able to help someone upgrade theirs.
I'm glad we had this little chat. For any of you young girls out there thinking of getting into the field of design or technology please feel free to contact me and ask questions or get help with something you are learning or just reach out if you are facing the people who think tech is too hard for women. It isn't. I will call you up and tell you so as much as you need.