After some recent discussions on personal branding, I realized that some people don’t get me.  Some people don’t understand just who I am and what I am about.  So let me tell you a bit about who I am and where I stand on things.

Who I Am

  • I am a geek.  I love tech, and I’m not afraid to admit it or show my love for it.  I blog, speak at conferences, appear on podcasts, wrote a book, and continue eat/sleep/breathe tech.  I’m also married to a geek, so to say that I live surrounded by tech is an understatement.
  • I am still ever-curious about things in the tech realm – wanting to play and explore with .NET Core on Linux and also looking into the security world, especially looking at AppSec.
  • I love sharing information and learning from others.
  • I am all about the community – participating when I can, leading, growing it, and fostering it as best as I can.
  • I have a wonderful group of people close to me who I consider mentors, friends, and like family.  They have been supportive of me throughout my career – from my early days continuing through today.  I am blessed to be collaborating with such an amazing group.
  • My life’s accolades and successes (as well as failures and tribulations) are due to the work I’ve done, the effort I’ve put in… my gender and background does not factor into this.
  • I only mentor people who are in this field for similar reasons – curiosity for tech, wanting to grow in their tech career, wanting to get involved in the community.  If the passion for tech isn’t there, I am not the right mentor for you.

What I Am Not and Some Dislikes

  • I am not a poster child for the women in tech movement or diversity in tech.  Absolutely not… because…
  • I don’t like the exclusivity of those movements.  I don’t like seeing WiT and diversity events filtering out their attendance to be geared strictly for those demographics.
  • I also don’t like the discrimination that comes out with the movements.  Diversity scholarships and scholarships for particular demographics are used to lure people into the field – seemingly promoting diversity for the sake of diversity.
    • I am for merit-based scholarships – give the scholarships to those who show the interest and willingness to go the distance for the field, regardless of gender/creed/age/hot demographic of the moment.
  • I do not play the gender card to grow in my career.  My gender does not define who I am all the time, especially not in my career.
    • Yes, I’m a wife, mom, sister, aunt, niece, daughter, goddaughter… lots of feminine roles there.
    • Yes, I do things like sometimes read Cosmo magazine and used to watch Sex and the City.  Yes, I can totally relate to Carrie Bradshaw’s random questions at the beginning of the episodes.
    • No – none of these things impact how I approach tech.
  • That said, I don’t like it when people think they should play my gender card for me.  Did I mention – I am not a poster child for these movements?
  • When it comes to conferences that I support, I urge the organizers to steer clear of diversity for the sake of diversity and to choose the best content for their events, to put out the best event possible.  Do not sacrifice the quality of the event for the sake of diversity.

Conclusion

Yes, I am a woman – and as my husband reminded me, I’m a woman phenomenally.  However, I am getting tired of people telling me that I need to get involved in the Women in Tech movement more and urge more women and minorities in the field, especially when that’s not how I operate.  I want to see more people in the field – but I don’t care about their race/creed/gender.  I want to see more people who are passionate about tech and want to have fun learning, people who are respectful of each other, people who are all about collaborating to help grow each other’s careers as well as the community.