Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Professional Business Women of California Conference: Opening Session!

Last month, I was fortunate enough to attend the Professional Business Women of California's annual conference in San Francisco! This conference is both inspirational and educational, a real treat to be able to attend. Oracle, my new employer, is a sponsor of this conference as well, so I got to meet many Oracle "classic" employees and got to learn more about the company and the new corporate culture.

The day started with a wonderful suggestion from PBWC Board President Ann Barlow: "Put the Blackberry down and tune in!" This is important, particularly in today's culture - most of us do not multi-task as well as we think we do (I know I don't!) and it's nearly impossible to be reading email and fully paying attention to people in the room. Personally, I was glad to give this day my undivided attention (though I did wish they had wireless access so I could live blog... which would've gotten this entry up a lot sooner!)

Ms Barlow noted that while women have many strides as professionals, the layers over middle management are still dominated by men! While it's clear this is a problem, it's not so clear what we, as women, can do to fix this.

Our morning keynoted was from Sheryl WuDunn, a Pulitzer Prize-Winning journalist, author of Half the Sky, and world traveler. Ms WuDunn told us about some of her travels - including a trip to China, where she met Dai Man Chu, a little girl who's parents were going to take her out of school in the 6th grade because $13/year in tuition was unaffordable and she was only a girl. When WuDunn wrote about this, readers from the New York Times came through with enough in donations that not only Dai Man Chu could attend school, but so could other girls in the village!

In her travels, WuDunn has learned that in many countries all resources, including food, go first to boys. In India, for example, 1-5 year old girls have a 50% higher mortality rate. In places where people make less than $1 a day, only 2% of that income goes towards educating their children, while 20% goes towards tobacco, alcohol, festivals and prostitution!

WuDunn feels the best way to end poverty and terrorism is to educate women and allow them to enter the workplace - but in order to do that, somehow a shift has to happen in spending priorities in impoverished countries. She feels that groups performing micro-loans, as well as places like Heifer International that gives livestock are some of the ways that can help make women more independent in these countries and hopefully make positive strides towards education and entering the workplace.

What an inspiring way to start the morning!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Training Continues for next week's 100 mile ride!

First, thank you to all of the advice I got from this blog and on facebook, particularly to WillO, @kleen, Bryn and Mark, my training has been progressing very well!

With more frequent snacking, Cytomax in my bottle, and shorter but more frequent breaks, I have gotten away from the mysterious gassy stomach and massive headaches on my long rides. My speed has really improved as well, though I am still the slowest rider in my group rides.

So far my big rides have included 65 miles in the East Bay for the Primavera (which was so amazingly beautiful! We got to race against a steam powered train!), 82 miles in Gilroy's Tiera Bella (the 100 mile route with the big climb up to Henry Coe and back cut out... :-), and 83 miles from our house to the ocean and back (big climbs included Arastedero, Alpine, Old La Honda Road, Stage Road, Pescadero and Tunitas Creek). I'm still riding after all that!

I've even done three mountain bike rides this year - and haven't cried on any of them (even though I fell down once and ran into a post another time.... :-)

Look at that awesome speed! It's a good thing you can't hear whining in a photo ;-)

While training has been going well, I am still far short of my goal. Can you please help support the fight against lung disease? As a reminder, I am riding because my mother is a lung cancer survivor, my step grandmother just died from lung disease and many other members of my family have lung disease - including me! Doing all this riding with asthma is tough, but it is such a worthy cause. Please help me out by supporting my ride today! Your donation is tax deductible.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Monk's Kettle does it again - and cabs?!

A full write up will come later, but suffice it to say that Monk's Kettle pulled out all the stops last night for their Lagunitas Beer Pairing dinner. The hops were ever present and well balanced by the delicious food.

Dinner was a bit slower paced than normal, which meant we had to rush out to catch a cab. It took us forever to find one that wasn't occupied, but then the driver we got DIDN'T KNOW WHERE CALTRAIN WAS! How can you be a cab driver in San Francisco and not know where the Caltrain stations are? There are only the time we got out of that cab, it was no longer possible for us to make our 10:45PM train, so we had to wait it out 'til the midnight train.

Sayer made sure our wait was bearable, though, by bringing us out some of the leftover dessert chocolate and some beer - YUM!

So, is there a good way to find a cabbie in SF that actually knows where the train stations are? Any recommendations? Or do I just need to print out a directions and take them with me?