This afternoon I spoke on a panel about Diversity and Inclusion in Tech*.
The whole panel and discussion were well received. The audience was engaged. The other panelists were awesome, and I’m grateful to have met them and hopeful/optimistic that we’ll keep in touch.
After the panel, maybe a dozen people came up to me and said how much it meant to them, and that they’d found what I said helpful or inspirational or encouraging. They didn’t just stop by briefly, either. They showed up wholeheartedly. They told me in detail what aspects stood out and why. They had questions and ideas. They wanted to talk.
It was awesome.
Living in the Bay Area, working at Google, in many ways surrounded by so many
debates and discussions and brainstorming sessions and informal venting sessions and just in general so much, I think I sometimes forget how much it can mean to someone just starting out, or someone trying to find a new path, just to hear someone else say, ‘This is what it’s been like for me; here’s what I’ve been thinking about this whole thing. And yes, I too think this is important.’ I sometimes forget that while anyone’s own experience may be old news to them, it may not be to someone else. My own story, old news to me, may offer new ideas to someone else.
To someone else, it may be inspiration.
I’m grateful to have had the chance to speak in this way to this audience. I’m humbled by how much what I said seemed to resonate.
Before the session, I wrote notes on what I wanted to say. During the session itself, I didn’t follow my notes precisely; the discussion flowed as it flowed. But. I was glad I’d prepared. I’d prepared enough that I’d also wondered vaguely if I might write up my notes afterwards, and post them here or somewhere. I’d wondered too if my various ideas about writing more essays about work might be a good idea, or if there are already so many voices out there that it would be a waste of time, if there would be no audience.
Based on today, I’m thinking maybe I do have something to say, and maybe there is an audience interested in hearing it.
It was a wonderful panel and I’m so glad I did it.
I’m going to do at least that much.
*Columbia University, reunion weekend 2019.