Saturday, October 06, 2012

"I live in the land of what's possible"

Nora Denzel, Technical Executive and Board Member, SABA and Overland, delivers the keynote speech at the 2012 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. This is an amazing and very inspiring talk by Nora Denzel. Filled with wit and insight, it will encourage any woman working in technology and those who are planning to do great things in life. She ended her talk with two quotes. Well, the first was hers; she declared that the top reason she's lasted so long in a technology career is because she's not afraid of every opportunity or challenge that comes her way, but because she "lives in the land of what's possible." She went on to share a quote that has been her guiding mantra from the start of her career and co-incidentally recently found out that it was by Grace Hopper. Grace Hopper said: "Ships in the port are safe, but that's not what ships are meant to do."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Article: What I Know About Sisters Now That I'm in my 50s

And continuing the series in Huffington Post, here is another installment. This one exploring what the writer, Barbara Hannah Grufferman, has discovered about having a sister in her 50-something years.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Blog Find: Sporty Afros

New discovery!!!!!!

In the firestorm of "Oh no! She diin't"-type comments that ensued from disparaging comments made last week on Twitter about the US gymnast and gold medalist Gabby Douglas, I discovered the blog Sporty Afros.

The tagline says it all: Where sports and hair collide.

Sporty Afros’ mission is to establish a social platform for fitness and effective hair care for black women.

Sporty Afros seeks to be a one stop shop for questions, discussions, tips and answers about living an active lifestyle in conjunction with establishing and maintaining healthy hair regimens.

My new plan is to stay off the extension braids and pay more attention to my hair. I read a post on Black Girl Long Hair a couple of months ago, which highlighted some important reasons to limit our use of extensions.

Key among them was that we tend to neglect our hair when it's in braids. However, braids or not, weaves or not, our hair still needs to be washed, conditioned and moisturised - steps that are all too easy to neglect when we have extensions in.

However, if you exercise regularly and sweat, you'll be confronted with the question of how to look good while working out and even more importantly after you work out.

Sporty Afros addresses these concerns and more. Although I don't remember seeing any explicit statements that the hair care tips were for natural hair, the "afros" in the name seems to imply this.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Now On! The 5th W.TEC Girls Technology Camp

What a long way W.TEC has come.....

On Friday, we received our latest batch of girls for this year's Technology Camp.

The W.TEC Girls Technology Camp is an initiative aimed at helping secondary school students develop technology literacy skills and gain an awareness of career options related to technology, science and engineering. The long-term goal is to increase the numbers of women working with and using information technology productively for professional and leadership activities.

During the camp, the girls participate in technology workshops and leadership activities. Evaluations of previous camps show enhanced leadership skills; creativity; and problem-solving and communication abilities in the girls as a result of attending the camp.

The camp's uniqueness lies in it's girls-only design. The camp is also a residential programme and for the 2-week duration of the camp, 30 girls live and learn about the exciting opportunities that information technology presents for learning, working and living in the 21st century.

Stay tuned for updates from the camp and check out photographs from last year's camp.

Anita Borg Change Agent Award Winners Announced

The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology today announced the winners of the Change Agent awards. The winners will be be honored at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing later this year.

Anita Borg Change Agent Awards: Dr. Ramalatha Marimuthu, Professor and Head of Department, Kumaraguru College of Technology; Maria Dubovitskaya, pre-doctoral researcher at IBM Research - Zurich and Ph.D. candidate at ETH Zurich; and Evelyn Namara, Program Coordinator at Solar Sister.

I won the Change Agent award in 2009 and it was a wonderful honour and gave me the opportunity to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing, which was an exciting and encouraging event for any technical or aspiring technical woman.

The other award announced include the Anita Borg Social Impact Award, which goes to Cathi Rodgveller, Founder and coordinator of IGNITE (Inspiring Girls Now In Technology Evolution) and Nontraditional Career Counselor at Seattle Public Schools.

I had the pleasure to speak at a program organised by the Nigerian chapter of IGNITE. The importance of female mentors cannot be over-emphasised and this meet-up with girls from selected secondary schools confirmed this. The other speaker and I were bombarded with questions.

Visit the Anita Borg website to learn about the other award winners.

The Anita Borg Institute seeks to: 1.) Increase the impact of women on all aspects of technology, and 2.) Increase the positive impact of technology on the world’s women.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


I was recently reminded by a friend of this post of mine from 2006, which I wrote in commemoration of International Women's Day.

In it, I talked about how much I respected my sister and what I had learned (and was still learning) from her (see the last but one paragraph). Sigh. I miss her so much. I can hardly believe that she is gone and in a way that could have been prevented. I can't let myself be burnt out by anger (although I have been through that phase and it still re-surfaces).

Many people have said that time will heal the pain. Others have reminded me that God is the ultimate comforter, while some others have told me that it is important to talk about her and keep her memory alive as much as I'm comfortable with. I look forward to the pain lessening over time. I look forward to a time when I can think of her, things she said, her mannerisms and still smile through it.

People have told me that in time I might struggle to even remember what she looked like or her voice. Oh my goodness, I hope not!

There is so much to celebrate about her short-yet-purposeful life. She wasted no time on things that did not appeal to her or which she thought would add no value to her life. She was driven to make our bookshop a success and was diligent in documenting processes and transactions.

And when I think about it, the way she lived is really the best way to live. Our time on this earth is a finite resource (despite how it might seem right now) and you don't want to fritter it unduly. You don't want to waste precious hours in activities that you neither enjoy or which serve no purpose to your over-arching goals just for the sake of 'being nice.' It's not to say that you don't have fun or put yourself out for others sometimes, but keep your eye on what really matters - the big picture.

My sister had a vision statement for her life, which I came across this week. Again, I was struck by how determined she was to make the most of her life. I have no written vision statement for my life, although I do have some clear ideas of how I want to live this life of mine.

So now, although the loss of my sister is easily the most devastating experience of my life, it cannot have happened to no avail. This is a very painful reminder to me to live for what's important: God, serving Him, making time for family and friends, pursuing my interests, among others. I'm going to try to articulate this in the form of a vision statement for my life. I'm going to be more mindful of how I spend my time and especially not think that things will fall apart in the office if I don't spend all my hours working. So many thoughts have run through my mind over this last few weeks about what I should do more of or less of.

Most importantly - for now, I will allow myself all the time I need to grieve and not be too bothered by those who tell me not to cry or to "be strong" or "be strong for my parents." We all need to support each other now. And we all need time to heal.