Monday, July 20, 2015

GHC15: I Can't Wait!

I am so excited to be co-chairing the Communities Committee for the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing again this year, seeing Houston, attending as a team member from a sponsoring company, and interspersing technical conversations with discussions of work/life issues without feeling exposed.

What's the Communities Committee?  We're a group of volunteers that ties all of the social media aspects of the conference together.  We seek out volunteers to take notes of sessions, write blogs about their experiences, share on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, and even create their own video blogs.  We coordinate the hash tags, process incoming volunteer applications, help the volunteers get onto our aggregate sites and retweet and share things like crazy during the conference.  This year, our committee has expanded - you'll be hearing from other committee members soon - as we're going to be adding several more exciting interactive elements to the conference itself.

Through the committee, I learn about many new technologies (like the tools we use to collaborate: Google Drive, Trello, Blogger and Slack - plus about the interesting work my colleagues are doing). My co-chair, Charna Parkey, works at a fascinating start up that lets you check your job listings for unintentional bias! They will get you the best applications, then it's up to you to make the sale.

As for Houston - I've only ever spent one night there before a cruise.  It'll be hot and humid, I'm sure (though it will be October), and I'll be staying near a giant shopping mall - but I'm sure there'll be more to see!  Space stuff - at the very least!  Any other suggestions?!

And Oracle is sponsoring the conference again this year! Please do stop by our recruitment booth - we're looking for smart new college grads and experienced folks. Bring your resume!

Finally - last but certainly not least - there is something so refreshing, so recharging about talking about cool technology with other women.  Women in tech are a special kind of breed - we've all worked hard to get where we are (even if that's just our senior year in college): overcoming unintentional  (and sadly sometimes intentional) bias, constantly having to explain why we are where we are ("why are you studying computer science?" - yep, got that a lot in college), and always working to get over Imposter Syndrome.

Technical women are different - we can be honest with each other when we are frustrated, or do not understand what the other is talking about. We are passionate and still patient.  We understand that not everyone is up on the lingo of our profession, and will take a moment to explain things to a "newbie".  We empathize with each other on our tough life situations and understand nobody is perfect.

I know I will learn a ton - about security, career and life balance, and how to be a better manager and still keep my engineer brain going.

I will continue my journey to grow as a leader in my community and at work.

It is, after all, "Our Time to Lead".

Will I see you there?

Monday, July 13, 2015

OWL: Understanding the Hidden Language of the Subsconcious

Oracle Women's Leadership group brought in Master Hypnotherapist/Three in One Behaviorist Dylan Rumley on June 18 to help us learn how to shift negative experiences into positive ones by harnessing the hidden language of the subconscious to our favor.

The evening started out with drinks and hors-d'oeuvres and networking with other women from Oracle. As it was held at our headquarters, I had the opportunity to meet many women I normally would never cross paths with. Everyone I talked to was so interesting, and friendly. A fantastic environment!

Dylan was an energetic and thoughtful speaker, who is focused on one goal: She wants to bring peace and calm to as many people as possible, using a whole brain approach, for adults and children.

Dylan spoke of her work with adults and children alike, and her discoveries she's made through her training and work with clients.  The brain loves to play! Without stress, learning can be easy for anyone. Think about how much fun you have and how relaxed you can become when looking through a kaleidoscope.

Dylan spoke of three brain states: the brain we know, the heart and brain together (coherence), and the psoas muscle. Wait, what? Yes, the psoas muscle - the one that many of us work on relaxing through yoga and tension release exercises.  Dylan believes all of these things should be used and taken care of to use your "whole brain".

There is a myth that some people are right brained and some are left, as we all need both hemispheres for executive functions and creativity. Sure, some people may find more inspiration from one side or the other - but if you can learn to use both, you can do more with your life.

Confusing, right? Let Iain McGilchrist explain it all to you:

Both hemispheres of our brain need to work together, but as we've evolved, the connections have been broken or shrunk.  The focus of the right hemisphere is broad, the left is narrow.

Dylan reminded us that it takes 21 days to change a pattern.  She had to remind her client, Wesley, as well. He came to her with extreme panic attacks when he tried to get on an airplane, bus or train. He was convinced that his claustrophobia was incurable. After exhausting doctors, medication and conventional therapists, he thought he had nothing to lose by seeing Dylan. She told him that if he could get himself into a true whole brain state, he would not be able to panic.

Dylan and Wesley worked together in an intense schedule for 21 days - and at the end of that 21 days, they got onto a plane together. Wesley was able to then fly across country to see his child's college graduation. :-)

One way to get your brain hemispheres to communicate more effectively is from doing cross patterning exercises.  Doing this helps the subconscious disconnect from your conscious and complete filing away emotions and events that are blocking you. It doesn't mean that you will forget these events, but that they will no longer stop you from moving forward with your life.

Dylan taught us a handful of cross patterning exercises and recommended we do them every day for 21 days - to create new brain habits.  All of these exercises involve keeping the body moving in some fashion (hands or eyes in the two we learned), which will help you from getting into the "freeze" mode in an uncomfortable situation.

Dylan additionally talked about the Behavior Barometer - how to manage your feeling words. For example, Anger is a really important emotion. When harnessed correctly, it can help you discover things.

She stressed how important it was for us to feel fully, or warned us that we could get stuck. Boy, that's happened to me before - playing conversations over and over in my head, re-reading emails, thinking about a car accident I witnessed, etc.

We need to work with our subconscious, get those emotions and events filed away properly so we can move forward.

Looking at the Behavior Barometer, find your emotion. Look up the definition of your emotion in the dictionary. Look up the meaning of its Latin roots. Truly understand what you are feeling.

Take the Resentment section, for example, and imagine your consciousness is feeling offended. Find the word in the same position under the subconscious section: ruined. See where that is leaving your body: no choice. Stuck.

If you can own your feelings ("Yes, I am offended"), then your subconscious can let go.  the subconscious loves completeness, so give it to your brain.  Don't ignore feelings, acknowledge them - but stay there for less time.

Dylan noted that our subconscious also loves to heal. To help move this process forward, she recommends guided imagery, meditation, and cross pattern activities.

She ended the evening by taking us through her 20 minute guided imagery meditation, called "The Theater". Dylan recommends listening to this as you fall asleep at night. I found I left very relaxed and happy - so maybe that means I need to start meditating again!