Last year I attended the Inspire Women in Tech conference in Nottingham as an attendee, it was the first ever tech conference I attended. I remember feeling a little nervous but excited to go especially with my coding family, ShefCodeFirst. As I sat and listened to women share their different journeys into tech and advice to help others with their own journeys, a rush of awe, inspiration and motivation hit me.
I wanted to be like them – confident, passionate and sharing things that are important to them. Ever since attending that first conference, I’ve been so inspired by the Women in Tech community and have worked hard in my community work – providing value to others, just as those women provided value to me.
This year, I attended as a speaker and volunteer (hey social media, hey 👋🏼) with of course, the ShefCodeFirst family (I think that this is going to be tradition!)
The day was full of inspiring talks, workshops and networking opportunities (you can find them all here!) with some very important key take-home messages:
- What matters most is your enthusiasm, passion, willingness to get into tech rather than your degree/background.
- It’s never too late to start learning to code, the only thing that is holding anybody back is themselves. Go out there and do it!
- Tech isn’t just development/coding – there’s so much more! Non tech jobs examples: project manager, product owner.
- Community is everything. 💖
You can find a whole Twitter moment on the day here.
“Nevertheless, she/I/you persisted.”
I spoke about my journey into technology from blogging to community, my struggles to get there and how I persisted despite internal and external setbacks. You can watch the full talk below!
In comparison to previous talks I’ve given on my journey, I wanted to really emphasise the power of persistence. Of all the things that have changed in my life, one thing I know that hasn’t is that I’ve always wanted to prove what someone said about me wrong e.g. a report card that is screaming “you can only achieve this grade” – I’ve always persisted to do better. Sometimes even when I didn’t necessarily label it as such.
When I started reflecting and becoming mindful of the power that determination and grit has, all these examples popped up from my past! I’m sure you can all think of one example in your own lives.
Self-reflection: 🎤 On public speaking #5
5. Wow, I can’t believe I’ve done 5 speaking gigs since late last year. I have improved massively since my first talk, but there is always room for improvement. (Like I said in my talk) Striving for progress, not perfection. 🙏🏻
🎉 Awesome things I will celebrate:
- Interactivity – I didn’t stand still and motionless like I have done in my previous talks (because of just genuine fear of falling over) instead, I walked around freely – I even added some interactivity with the audience!
— Ashleigh Soppet (@ash_sopp) April 7, 2018
- I took a selfie with everyone at the start of my talk – now I never get scared asking for selfies with people but this was a different story. 😂 But I did it – one off the bucket list!
Hey Twitter, just tweeting to let you know I’m doing a talk right now at #inspireWIT. 💜🦄
Oh and also ✅ take a selfie whilst doing a talk ✅ pic.twitter.com/hJDg5LwK4E
— Pauline P. Narvas (@paulienuh) April 7, 2018
- Better slides – I liked how I designed my slides this time round – darker, and my favourite colour. I read on an article that darker slides are better to focus audience attention on what you’re saying!
- Spreading pawisitive vibes and inspiration – the amount of people that went up to me after my talk to say that they not only enjoyed it but got something out of it, made it SO worthwhile. One person with two little girls approached me at the end of the conference to say that the two little girls were left inspired and motivated to go into STEM. “If Pauline can do it, you can too.” It touched my heart. 😭💙
- I got up and did it. This is always something I will celebrate. 😊
🤔 Improvements for next time:
- Nervousness – especially at the start. I’m always so anxious when I begin, but get better during the talk as I get into it. Working on a better, more confident start!
- Timing – I went over my time and upon reflection, I could’ve merged some of the “tips” during my journey, cut stories shorter or not mentioned them at all. When I was making my slides, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to fill the time 😆
- Why didn’t you use the dang clicker Pauline?
— Ashleigh Soppet (@ash_sopp) April 7, 2018
— Kathryn Dimmack (@KDimmack) April 7, 2018
@inspireWIT has turned out to be a conference where every single person attending had the chance to open themselves to their true interests and dreams. One thing every single speaker had in common (@paulienuh among them) is their passion for what they do. Thanks @rosanna20736. https://t.co/GLbrXjI9Ev
— Patricia Ramos García (@PatriciaRGcia) April 7, 2018
#inspireWIT in pictures
It’s conferences like these that I will always attend and happily talk about and refer back to throughout my life. They are vital in encouraging the generations of women to continue breaking boundaries and reaching their full potential by seeing it from others then being and connecting with like-minded people. I feel so proud to be part of this wider community that is pressing for progress every single day.
More photos of the day by Rose Kasili can be found here.
It’s been an honour inspireWIT, until next year! ✌🏼