Women Impact Tech Conference

I week ago, I attended one more conference, Women Impact Tech. Before the pandemic, I tried to attend similar events, mostly to support the movement. This was the first in-person post-pandemic event, and I was offered a free registration, so I decided to go and see where we all as women in tech stands, and what people are doing not only to attract more women to the tech industry, but also to support them at the workplace so that they won’t have to be “ten times better than any male applicant” to get the job, and so that they fell comfortable at the workplace.

I won’t say I had all questions answered, but I it was very refreshing to see so many women in leadershop positions and to hear their keynotes!

Continue reading “Women Impact Tech Conference”

PG Day Chicago

I did it, and I did it! And it took me several days to realize that everything went well (mostly :)) and there is nothing to worry about and to lose sleep at night anymore!

My personal fitness stats: 19,000 steps on the day of the conference (that’s I never left the building between 7 AM and 8 PM!), and minus three pounds in three days (I absolutely did not need it). I do not know how I managed not to get sick the week of the conference – the weather was more than unpredictable, I didn’t sleep enough and worried about all sorts of things, and I almost lost my voice at the speaker’s dinner, but somehow managed to stay alive and well :)).

I have a long list of takeaways: buy lanyards myself, do not rely on people who order it the last minute (it didn’t arrive on time), do not turn away any volunteers (two people, including Anna, got sick and could not come), do not assign room monitoring to new volunteers (there was one disaster). Make sure there is water in all rooms, and test all the microphones. Possibly have the pre-conference dinner at the venue instead of a pub (I know that some would disagree). Advertise earlier and more aggressively. To be fair, I had two conferences in March, so I physically could not put enough effort into advertising. I am happy that we made it to 108 registrations, but it took me more effort than it should have.

Most importantly, people liked it. I had a lot of positive reviews. And it looks like now, I have it. I mean, this conference. So I will be busy every April 🙂

I Did It!

I can’t believe the conference is over, and it was a success! I can’t believe I did it. We did it! All this week, I worked so hard that I had no time for anything else!

We are done, and everything was great! Well, there are definitely things that could be done better and a lot of things I would do differently next time, but none was a disaster:)

I am happy 🙂

Pg Day Paris

Today, I presented a talk in Paris for the first time! Once again, I saw many people I didn’t see since October and had great conversations! And – I am in Paris again!

We arrived yesterday, and guess what – there is another transportation strike going on! Fortunately, it was not as bad as in London last week! We walked around a little bit; saw the reconstruction of the Notre-Dame, and returned back to the hotel.

A view from our hotel window

More to come!

Still Traveling

I have 300 more pictures and 30 more stories to tell about the time I spent in Ireland, but life goes on, and I can’t keep up with it!

I arrived in Stockholm last night and spent the whole day not leaving the hotel, attending the conference, and talking to friends and peers. And tomorrow morning, I am leaving for Paris!

The whole conference was great, filled with presentations, meetings, and conversations!

Catching Up

Today first time after Sunday, my eye does not hurt, and I am trying to catch up for the lost time. I am still not sure when and if I will be able to wear contacts, so my head still hurts, but at least the eye is (almost) fine. I still feel it, but it is so much better, and I am so eager to do everything I could not do in the past several days!

Unfortunately, this week was going to be busy even without the vision crisis, and also – I am leaving Sunday night, so I am still horrified by the amount of work I need to do before I leave. And at the same time, I am terribly sorry that I am missing the whole European Film Festival – there were so many movies I wanted to watch, and I watched zero!

I am very well aware of how a person’s brain works, so I know that if I got to see zero, the festival would be lower in my list of priorities than other things… but I am still sad.

On the positive side, I finally made it to ODS, and we had a “make your own pizza” dinner, and it was a lot of fun. Almost all of the youth participated, and we all laughed and joked. I talked to several newcomers, and one boy who had been there for a while was really happy that I remembered his name. Some pizzas turned out very well, some – not so much, but nobody went hungry!

On Wednesday, I hosted Chicago PUG and not only hosted but also presented. I rehearsed a talk which I will be giving in Paris in two weeks. There were very few RSVPs, and I worried that nobody would come, but that was one of these rare cases when pretty much everybody showed up! All the pizza was gone – it almost never happens!

My talk was very well received, and I got a lot of helpful comments, so I am going to make some changes to the presentation. Overall, both Tuesday and Wednesday were great. I was so miserable with my eye, and the fact that I was surrounded by people, and people liked what I was doing, made me feel tons better.

Finally, today I made a recording for Citus Con. I didn’t want to submit anything to this conference because I knew I won’t have time, but the organizers asked me and told me that they would place me on the on-demand trek and that they would record me when I have time. And then, out of three talks I submitted, they selected the one which was completely unprepared! So I had to work on that one, in addition to my talk for Paris (and my reserve talk!)

Still, I didn’t want to cancel, because I knew that this would be a great opportunity to promote my new talk and new ideas, so I made time :). The talk was recorded by the organizers, and they will do the edits and everything. It went really well (I rehearsed it three times because the timeslots were shorter than usual – 25 min – and I wanted to make sure everything would fit. There were lots of technical difficulties during the recording, but after everything was resolved I was able to present well enough so that there was no need for re-recording. I feel pretty good about this, as well as the fact that the organizers loved my talk so much. And about me comfortable presenting i glasses – I might need to do the same in Paris!

The Conference Recap

I never had such a professionally-successful week! Starting from Monday, when I presented at Helsinki PUG and had such a positive response and new contacts in Aiven, continuing through the PG Conf EU was fantastic!
I told Boris that I would never have anything like this ever in my life, and he replied that he thinks it will always be like this now:).

We’ll see. The last time I thought “things are going my way” was before the pandemic. To be fair, if not for the pandemic, we won’t write the book. And for the past two months, I started to feel again that things are going my way, which is exciting and scary.

I had two talks, and both got tremendously positive responses. My first talk was on the first day, right after the keynotes, and I had two hundred people in the audience. I left fifteen minutes for questions, and people were asking even after that time. Pretty much each time I was alone in a hallway, somebody would approach me and ask something related to my talk. My second talk was on the last day of the conference, but still, there were many questions, and some people even offered to contribute to my projects. It’s a little bit scary when younger attendees ask to have a picture with you and tell you that you are their role model :).

Another thing that made me happy was that I saw a lot of my former colleagues, and nobody was mad at me; people still liked me and wanted to talk with me.

Also, we had a first program committee meeting, and my conference is progressing! I could not be happier with that development!

PG Conf EU

I am in Berlin – we came here last night, today was the first day of the conference, and my talk was the first talk after the keynote! I never talked at a conference with over 600 participants in a full room (there are four track, but I am pretty sure more than 100 people were listening to my talk!

All the presentations are so interesting, I wish I could be at four places at once! And people stop me and ask questions about my presentation, an I never had such level of interest!

Haven’t seen Berlin in the daylight yet :).

And About The Conference

I was mostly saying that I felt horrible about the war situation, but in spite of that, the conference went really well, and the first day was the most productive for me. I was the room chair for three sessions, and I did well. I talked to a lot of people, old and new acquaintances, reestablished many connections, recruited several speakers for my future User Groups, and asked for expert advice for my work problems.

Now, when I talk to people or listen to presentations, I often feel that I know more than a presenter, and if that is something I don’t know, I know exactly what to ask. it’s something new, and it definitely happened during the last several months. I talked to several of my former co-workers, and some told me: if you ever decide to come back, please come back. That was sad to hear for obvious reasons, but at least people are not mad at me.

The overall organization was great. Also, my conference was officially announced, and I can’t even describe how happy I felt each time “Hettie’s conference” was mentioned.

Since Boris was not there, nobody took pictures of me :(.

Pat Wright
Bruce Momjian
Continue reading “And About The Conference”

Chicago The Musical

Yesterday after the conference, I went with my former French co-worker to see “Chicago” – she wanted to see a “real Broadway musical” and asked me to choose, which I happily did. We also had an amazing deal “two tickets for the price of one.

I was a little worried that it might not turn out as good as it could, remembering my disappointment with “Jesus Christ.” But it was brilliant! Probably the best “Chicago” I ever saw!