Recently:-Women In Technology: Male Allies Panel Discussions, Tech Team offsite, IT Leaders.

Collage of 4 photos, two from an off-site, two from a Panel Discussion.

Occasionally, I like to share cool things I’ve been a part of. Recently, I had a fun, but busy week. Here’s what I was doing.

University of Minnesota Women In Technology Male Allies Panel

On January 25, the University of Minnesota Women in Technology group hosted a panel of male leaders from the University and the business world to talk about how their experience and insights with supporting women across the technology industry. I was privileged to be asked to moderate the panel discussion. An official video may be released soon, but the archive of the live stream can be found here.

Technology team Off-site

I also had the opportunity to facilitate an off-site for a technology team from the University. We spent the day working to articulate the values and mission of the team. Often, when you work in IT it’s easy to get trapped in seeing your job simply as just “keeping the lights on” so I appreciated spending the day working with this team.

IT Leadership Community meeting

Once a quarter, IT directors across the University of Minnesota system gather to share information and collaborate so that IT supports the missions of outreach, research, and education. I help coordinate and where necessary help facilitate this meeting.

Stepping off the walkway: A few easy steps you could take to combat injustice

A while ago, in the post Tamir Rice and the unbearable reasonableness of it all, I referenced the idea that racism, sexism and other systemic injustices are like a moving walkway. If one simply stands still, one is taken to the same undesirable and as you might encounter if you were actively pursuing racism, sexism, etc.

Here’s an example of what I mean.

  • There are fewer women in Industry A to help make Industry A a woman-welcoming environment. Why? Because…
  • …there are fewer women applying for Industry A positions, because there are fewer women pursuing Industry A related degree. Why? Because…
  • …there are fewer women who feel welcome in those programs because there are fewer women in Industry A to help make the Industry A programs a woman-welcoming environment.

If you work in Industry A, even if you are not actively against the idea of women in Industry A, not taking action means that your industry ends up in the same place as if you were actively anti-woman. There will be few women in Industry A. And while the example above is a simplified, hypothetical example, if you replaced the phrase Industry A with either Ministry or Technology, this simplified, hypothetical example would not be very far from the truth. I work in both industries.

So what can you do about it (or maybe, what can I do about it)? Here are some ideas directed at the industries in which I work, but I’m sure you can adapt to yours.

  • Say something – You can point out, in a non-anxious way, the particular moving walkway that you’re on. Here are some examples
    • “I notice that we don’t have many women in our applicant pool. What can we do to fix that?”
    • “Our industry is notorious for being unfriendly to minorities. What can we do that’s different from the stereotype here?”
    • “Our speakers seem to mostly represent a single demographic, can we broaden that?”
  • Do the same thing in a different place – Sometimes we use the same communication channels or take the same actions in the same networks and get trapped with the same results. What if you moved some of these? for example
    • You’ve probably put your job posting on local colleges’ message board. Perhaps you can also send send it to the career office of the nearest HBCU, or perhaps to the local Women in Industry A group.
    • You’ve often put the posters for your college ministry in the student center. Do you know where the Hispanic Student Group meets? How about putting some posters there?
  • Do one significant thing differently – There’s often a big difference between where our industry is, and where it should be to just and equitable. There’s a lot of changes to be made and it can seem overwhelming. Perhaps you can start with a single change. For example –
    • Consider keeping your job posting open until your applicant pool has a certain number of qualified female applicants.
    • Consider only accepting conference speaking engagements where there is at least one woman or minority on the slate.

You might be at the end of this post and thinking that I did not fulfill my promise of “easy steps”. The truth is, they will all require some bravery, and they don’t solve the entire problem of the various -isms of our society. I’m not even sure they will all work. But the step that I can guarantee will result in continued injustice is to do nothing.

Photo Credit: WikiHow

The side project

 

Holiday Matinee – A blog for creative inspiration. My new favorite quote. » Holiday Matinee – A blog for creative inspiration..

I saw this when it got posted a year ago and it hit me hard. So here’s the advice I will offer and am hoping to follow. Find some way to do more of the things that you do while you procrastinate. Start or join a side project and see if it can become your main project. If you are successful enough to make that project your full time work, then great! And even if it doesn’t become your full time work, it will still be an enjoyable hobby.

Burdens: A Meditation

I have a bad relationship with my own capacity. I’m the type of person who is interested in a lot of things, cares about a lot of causes, and in general try to keep far too many plates spinning in the air at the same time.  Yet, I keep adding one more thing. There’s always that one more thing I know I can help with, that one other group I have some ideas for, and the one other ministry that really needs volunteers.

Then the plates start crashing.

In the midst of the struggle to keep the plates going, I start to ignore things. More precisely, I start to ignore people. I stop listening to what’s going on in people’s lives, I stop looking for ways I can be good news to the people around me. I stop making myself available for connection. How can I? I’m connected to all these other things, I simply don’t have the capacity.

Most problematically, I start to ignore God. My schedule is so tight, that I put my time of prayer, scripture reading and worship in more untenable slots. I’m so busy doing things, that I don’t have any attention that I can give to hearing God in the everyday.

The burden I’ve taken upon myself has become so much that I am unable to properly love God and love people.

I don’t know if you are like me in this way. But if you are, here are three passages that you can read and pray through. As you do so, consider the following questions

  • Are there specific burdens in your life that hold you back from God and others?
  • Are there ways that you are being called to show love to God and to the people around you that you are avoiding because they are burdensome?
  • Are there ways that you can give up your self-generated burdens, and find rest in God?

Hebrews 12

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Galatians 6

1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Matthew 11

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”