Dear Reader,

The roles of women in the professional community is ripe with opportunities.   In order to promote much-needed role modeling, I had the opportunity to interview veteran Network Systems Administrator, Alice  Gorman.  Alice currently works for Boston International Inc. home of fine gifts from IHR USA, October Hill® and  The Metropolitan Museum of Art where “Great Art is the Difference®”.imagesCA79LA0P

  1. Is there a moment in your career that you remember as pivotal?  If so, what made it an important time?

Teaching a computer class for teenage girls at a church in Boston. What made it so important was when I realized a few of the girls were taking
two or three buses to get to class. Their excitement to learn really got me excited.

  1. After having a 20-year career, do you have anything you are still trying to accomplish?

I would love to learn more about the internet. SEO, web building, and all the secrets on creating a successful website.

  1. At the start of your career did you expect to be where you are now?

No, not at all. I started my career at a prepress and typography company in Cambridge, MA. I was running a mainframe system. We loading fonts using paper tape and printed out galleys of type. The art department used the galleys, exacto knives and wax to layout magazines for print. It’s amazing how my job has enhanced and changed with technology.

  1.  What has been the most startling development in the technical field in the last twenty years?

The internet with its unlimited services and resources.

5. Who are your role models or greatest influencers? Why?

Don Leamy coworker took me under his wing. He saw my potential and hired me as the system operator over 20+ years ago.

What do you least like to do in your job?

I really can’t think of what I like least about my job. Overall I’ve been very satisfied with my jobs.

7. What is the most fulfilling about your job?

I enjoy challenges. When problems or new projects arise I am always ready.  Because  the industry changes quickly. I have to stay up to date on emerging trends, sorting through what is important and deciding what will be best for the company.

8. Did you ever face a setback and how did you handle it?

Yes, but I utilize a setback as a challenge, a training, and a learning experience. I usually step back take a good look at the situation then figure out how I am going to conquer it. Setbacks help me to improve productivity by anticipating preventable problems.

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Dear Reader,

logo @NEGiveCamp is always a surreal experience.   For one weekend, I’m in an environment of total teamwork absent of self-interest, political agenda, financial goals  – everyone pulling together to help the organizations depending on us.  I planned my week of vacation around this event.

This year, the experience was healing for me.   New England Give Camp is annually hosted by Microsoft’s New England Research and Development Center at 1 Memorial Drive in Cambridge, MA.   For those of you blog followers who aren’t familiar with Boston’s geography, that is literally about a block or so from the bombings and where the officer was killed.  In addition to being so geographically close to the horrific events it was chronologically close to the events as well – about 3 weeks after.   I was terrified to get on the train to go into town.  The first night I was awakened at 3 am by a loud bang!   It turns out one of the other campers had stumbled during the night, but I was panicked for a bit.

However, being a New Englander, rather than head to the Bahamas for vacation, I pick up my weapons of choice (my trusty laptop and my courage) and I head into terrorist country.   logo

There is healing in community sharing.   I met old friends and we talked.   We processed the events together.   We worked to fix the problems in the world together.  I saw the young children that were not traumatized by the events, but were rather energized to make a difference.    Joy Olaes Surprenant always comes.   She began a wonderful organization, Catching Joy, that teaches the children the joy of givi559643_312590812203058_1173642950_ang back.   After the events of the terrorism, her organization was flooded by children wanting to know how to make a difference.

My team was helping out the fledgling organization, GVNGTogether – a non-profit that is innovating philanthropy.   Rather than philanthropy being one individual helping others, GVNGTogether is creating a community of philanthropists benefitting others.

I realized that those two terrorists made headlines and an impact.   New England Give Camp may not make the same headlines, but our impact is greater.   We outnumber them.  There are 120 of us volunteers, 24 non-profits and uncounted numbers of people positively impacted by that.   It doesn’t always feel like it, but the good is winning.   Its just not quite as flashy as Superman.


Dear Reader,

130418_boston_bombing_lgFor all of our advancements, achievements, and accomplishments as a global community, we have yet to solve the problem of horrible abuse of technology.   The most ironic thing about the recent bombing and war waged in the streets of Boston is that it was accomplished with very simple technology.   No super-advanced heat-seeking missiles were launched at MIT.   It was accomplished with technology that could have been implemented in 1812.

The Boston Marathon is an annual celebration of the human spirit and human accomplishment that has lasted 117 years.  Born out of the beauty of the Olympic games of 1896, the Boston Marathon began as a local tradition and now attracts worldwide competitors.  The beauty of this worldwide unity seemed threatened with this weeks’ events.  Will the violent fringe become the victors?

Beauty comes in strength as well.   The strength of the marathon runners who completed 26 miles and then ran another 2 miles to donate blood.   The strength of the Bostonians singing the National Anthem.   The strength of Americans

who fought war on our soil during the War of 1812.  “And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.”  Much like all of America watching on television with the Bostonians locked in their homes, Francis Scott Key, was locked up watching the primary-americanflagbombing of Fort McHenry and unable to defend the country.   Last night; the concussion grenades, the police, and the gunfire echoed the return fire from Fort McHenry that gave courage that our patriots that were still there.   Our strength as Americans remains undiminished in 200 years.   We prevailed.  And this time, our superior technology limited the loss of life and the length of the battle.

The National Anthem As Sung By Boston. 

 


Dear Reader,

Much like most of the country, I have been in a job search.   Late on a Friday afternoon, a prospective employer found me.   He scheduled an interview with me on Saturday for Monday morning.   Needless to say, I was hustling to have every detail in place before the interview — copies of the resume, clothes, appearance, plus directions.

I am commuting from Providence, RI up to Waltham, MA.   Amidst a flurry of Google Maps, MBTA schedules, and bus maps later I thought I had good enough directions.  I needed to attend to a few last minute transportation details as well as making sure I had an appointment confirmation.   When I boarded the train in Providence, I was able to find a table so I, along with many other commuters, could set up my laptop and do work.

As the train made its way north to Boston, the small table I shared with the one other person also doing computer work began to fill up.   Unbeknownst to me, the regular commuters who got on at later stops had issues with me doing my work at “their” table.   A couple very well-dressed ladies never even said “excuse me” or politely explained to me that the car fills up and what the routine was.   I was shoved aside and nearly yelled at.   They had no patience for the fact that it took me a moment to move my things for them in spite of the fact that I made every effort to be courteous.

Once we settled, I went back to my work once again becoming absorbed in my preparations.   I thought that four of us was the total capacity of the table.   Apparently not.   A fifth person came along — this time in the form of a very well-dressed, very disagreeable gentleman who felt that beginning an argument with me was a good way to win friends and influence people.  In addition to a complete lack of courtesy, he put a very large coffee within easy spilling distance of my laptop on a moving train.  I was subject to more insults while he moved the coffee.

I informed him that I had every right to be there doing my work  as a paying customer of the train.  The three of them then told me I had no right to be upset that his coffee was near my laptop since the table had been invented long before laptops were around.   I told them that if they weren’t so old and cranky maybe they wouldn’t have problems with another person doing necessary work.   When my station was going to be next I had to ask a couple times for them to please move so I could get up.   At which point, I pointed out how far a little courtesy would go.

It was obvious that they thought me much younger than they were and much more junior (which is working in my favor in the job market) and one of the ladies decided to inform me that I was wrong this entire time.  I simply said that I was sorry she felt that way and I walked off.

The ironic conclusion to this story is that I am probably the same age as most of those folks or five years younger at the most and I have held positions with as much status, responsibility and authority as they have (during the train ride they all felt it necessary to announce their positions).   None of these people who have a responsibility as role models to a younger person could be bothered to take the few minutes out of their morning to extend a word of courtesy.

I went on to have a very good day and succeed on my interview and get the job.   They went on to have a sour day and complain.   If you fail to adapt to the world as it changes, you truly become old.

“No one is too big to be courteous, but some are too little”

As a footnote to this post:

Within a few hours of writing this, the shoe was on the other foot.   I was deeply involved in working on this blog at “my” table in the local public library.  A few elementary school children were gathering at my table to do work.   There was the usual bustle of activity and noise as they were settling down.  The librarian explained that the table was set aside for regular tutoring with their schoolwork.   I asked if they needed the space and they didn’t.   I could have moved if the noise bothered me too much — I can adapt.   I was glad I stayed.  They sang quietly a couple times while working.   Nothing soothes the soul as much as the sound of children singing.  If I don’t role model gentleness, the children will never learn it.

“To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals courtesy, to inferiors nobleness.”