I was heading out to dinner with a few friends who were participating in Agile 2016 and one of them exclaimed,
“Gosh! I would have so loved to attend the Women in Agile workshop. I was already here. I had not paid, and was not sure if I would be allowed. So I did not attend”. I then asked her,”What would a man do?” And then we had conversations around this for a few more minutes.
This is exactly why we need a ” Women in Agile” workshop, and more of them. To remind, to educate, to extend an helping arm, to help a women discover and learn her own strength and expand her capabilities. In some way, we need to begin “thinking like a man”; After all we are living, struggling and surviving in a world built by men. The Agile world co-exists in organization structures and its DNA, where we need to discover, nurture and expand more women thought leaders, including business and IT leaders.
An email invite to participate in the short 4 hour Women in agile workshop was quite irresistible for me to pass up. The workshop may have been intended for the Agile 2016 conference attendees, since it is held in the same location, same time frame, etc. As a non attendee to the larger conference, the 4 hour session offered a safe environment, and just enough conference energy that I was open and ready to receive and share. It gave me just the right atmosphere and environment to plant the seed of becoming relevant and reinventing myself all over again.
As we remembered Jean Tabaka, her kindness, and her way of coaching, it offered me an another opportunity to re-establish my self identity, claim myself as a woman in IT – Because I am here – because I have chosen to be here. I know I have so much to offer. I have so much to learn.
As Cindy Moore spoke about her transition to Agile, I see a world filled with opportunities for women working alongside with their male colleagues not just as allies, but as comrades and team mates. Women executives, coaches and Scrum Masters are not embedded in teams to be passed of as someone who takes notes, or just sets up meetings. She comes with clarity of mind, and has her own strategies for planning or execution or to meet a release deadline. She knows to interpret data.
While in breakout sessions this is what I heard from other participants about a Woman in Agile:
-She will bring with her skills that she discovered and learnt while bringing up her children, either as a single parent, or as a family with her husband or wife.. But bring she will and it is time we begin taking notice.
-She recognizes that she is not ‘fighting a battle’ for just one skin color or race. Recognizing that women of all colors, race and culture are equal, she raises her voice for all of us. She wants all women to reach out and ask for help or offer help – to mentor, to be mentored.
-She wants to create an environment of learning not just at her work place; but at schools and colleges – so that the child that will become a women one day gets her grounding early on. She wants to coach women to express their ideas, become excellent speakers, who in turn will create more energy and set a rippling effect.
-She understands what softness is. What firmness is. She wants to explore Agile career paths. She is curious about how other organizations create women thought leaders. She wants to network. She wants support. She wants to support. And again, men are not just allies. They are partners, ‘comrades’.
And we as Women in Agile want to gain momentum, sustain and grow.
I have had the opportunity to observe Natalie’s passion and dedication to Agile in the past few years, and her keen sense of building a community around the struggles of women in Agile. Agreed, that not all of these struggles are due to gender inequality, but calling this out specifically will allow more organizations to open doors for Women thought leadership.
What was in it for me?
I found a sisterhood. Found a band of hearts, ideas, thoughts that resonate and will journey together..
See you all in Florida for Agile 2017, as we see our ideas take form, and as we plant them right now, right here :):)
Happy journey Sisters!