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Confidence: “It’s about being the little engine — I think I can”

“It isn’t about winning or being the best. It’s about being the little engine — I think I can”.

After reading The Confidence Code, by Katty Kat & Claire Shipman, I’ve come to realize even more how important it is to have a regular meditation practice and to include self-compassion in the mix more often. Read more

Got Confidence

Reflections from Dreamforce: I’ve Got Confidence in Me!

It’s the last day of DreamForce and as I wander around Moscone with husband and daughter in tow, I reflected on the week that came before. My mind travels back to a specific incident that occurred while at DreamForce that really brought home the difference between women and men. And that difference is confidence.

I had decided to take the Developer Certification (I’ve already been certified as a System Administrator).

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Karen Henry & Zola

Friend and Mentor: Karen Henry

I wanted to share an important person in my life with you, one who has shaped me profoundly in many ways: Karen Henry. She’s been a good friend for longer than I can remember (you know those people who come into your life and you cannot remember a time without them, that’s Karen). She has mentored and loved me in so many special and amazing ways.

Karen is an activist, a humanitarian and all around amazing woman. She has won awards. Given many speeches. Been honored by many. And I find her to be the most down to earth and real person. I’m still amazed that she is my friend … I feel so very lucky to have her in my corner.

I can only visit her for a short time these days, as she is very sick and gets tired very quickly. But, when I see her, we laugh and share stories. It’s a wonderful time together!

Karen has always been so encouraging and supportive of whatever I am doing, whether it be applying for a new position, or taking on the challenge of a master’s degree, or starting my own business, or having a child—actually, that’s a funny story.

I was talking to Karen on the phone and decided to tell her that I was pregnant, as I knew it would be some time before I would see her in person, but somehow I never got around to it. A few days had passed, and we were on the phone again, when she said, “I had the strangest dream that you said you were pregnant!” Then I laughed and said, “That wasn’t a dream, I am pregnant!” We both busted a gut laughing so hard, and when we had settled down, she told me, “You’ll be a great mom.” Since then, every time I see her, she keeps telling me that and giving me specific examples of why

Karen has a gift to see clarity in every situation. Here’s an example: She was interviewing for a position, and during the interview, she realized that a friend was better suited for the position. She stopped the interview, handed the person her friend’s contact information and said, “She would be a better candidate,” and then left. Her friend got the job. Karen was thrilled. She didn’t grasp for the job for the sake of having the job. She saw it for what it was: better for someone else. She then turned it to someone else. Her friend has had the job for 10 years, and loves it.

Karen’s love is what can often sustain others. I can’t speak for everyone, but for myself, but Karen’s love is amazing. There was a time when things were very low. But, Karen was there for me. Supporting me. Loving me. Once, when things were particularly bad during this crisis time, she decided a trip to Saugatuck was in order. We loaded into the car and drove there. (About a 45-minute drive from Grand Rapids.) We shopped, ate, laughed and talked. And I will never forget one particular moment. I was trying on some jackets. Karen looked at the jacket I was wearing, looked me in the eyes and said, “You are so beautiful, Ashima. You radiate beauty.” It made me feel so very loved. And it also helped to soften my hardened heart and move past my crisis.

Karen always takes the time to see the greatness that is inside of everyone. I love that she looks me in the eye to tell me what she thinks of me or how much she loves me. It makes the connection all the more strong and real.

I’m grateful that my little girl has been able to spend time with her “Mimi.” She has been able to be in her company and learn from this truly amazing woman. Mostly, I’m grateful that the universe brought this jewel to my life. It is hard to imagine my life without her in it, but as actress Valerie Harper, who is battling terminal brain cancer recently said, “Don’t go to the funeral until the day of the funeral.” So today I will not do that, and instead look forward to spending many more precious days laughing with my dear friend and mentor.Karen has taught me so much, but first and foremost, she has shown me what it means to be a good friend and mentor. She has shown me the importance of being the voice for those with no voice. She has given me more than I can even begin to thank her for.

Women in Tech?

Where are the pink programmers?

I’m departing from my traditional posts about Database Sherpa and the work around the process, because lately I’ve been stumbling across articles like The Worrying Consequences of the Wikipedia Gender Gap and Inside Silicon Valley’s Gender Gap. They bring back old memories and new worries.

For those friends who know me well, you know that this is an issue near and dear to my heart. My first love was programming, in large part to my education at Michigan State University and my dear friend Pat Draper, who constantly supported and encouraged my pursue of a degree in Computer Science.

I know that most of my female friends are not going to run out and become programmers or pursue a degree in Computer Science. While it would have made me very happy if the majority of my class was female, rather than male, when I graduated in 1991, I am also realistic in understanding that not every field is for every person. I could go on and on about the lack of women in the field of computer science and specifically the lack of programmers, but I won’t bore you with that. Now, onto my new worry.

It has to do with the article about the Wikipedia Gender Gap. In a nutshell, a disturbing study discovered that only 13% of Wikipedia’s editors are women! And here’s the rub: There is no logical reason for this. Wikipedia editors aren’t required to go to school for years and study. They don’t need a computer science degree. All they need to do is put the information out there, edit inaccuracies and add information. It’s fairly easy. Nothing to fear. But yet, we see a huge gender gap.

And here’s another fact. More men than women are creating and running companies whose products are aimed at women. See this fascinating article about the rise of pink color businessmen.

This ALARMS me and really, frankly, scares me to death. If we aren’t at the table (or the keyboard), we won’t have our voices heard.

So, my call to action for my sisters:

  1. Become an editor for Wikipedia.
  2. Learn how ANY technology works — and then make something better.
  3. Learn the statistics of women representations in leadership, government…
  4. Don’t blame men. Don’t blame the media. Accept responsibility and do something. ANYTHING.
  5. Support your sisters in their hard work. Make them dinner, give them a shoulder…. whatever it takes to help them  and us  bridge the gender gap.
Get involved and change the direction we’re headed. Please, if not for me, then for our daughters: the future generation of women!