Learning to speak comfortably in public has been a long journey for me, and I want to use my experiences to help others discover the joy of having the attention of an audience.
I still remember very clearly how much anxiety and stress the mere thought of having to give a presentation in front of the class used to cause me in elementary school. The thing is, I don’t like being held back – especially not by myself – so my way of addressing things that make me uncomfortable is to get comfortable doing them…That’s why when it was time to go to university, I selected a program that focused on oral and written presentation. Through practice and experience I slowly became a better speaker, and I was getting more comfortable in the role until I finally reached I point where I was actually enjoying giving presentations. Today, almost two decades into my journey, I would say I’m addicted.
My passion for software testing, and for passing what I learn on to others, has led me to be a very active public speaker. I speak at national and international conferences, local user groups and universities. I feel that as a woman it is especially important for me to have a public presence to try to be a role model for other women in the industry. Having studied and worked in primarily male-dominated environments my whole life, I’m aware of the importance of female role models, and how hard they can be to find. I want to set a positive example in general, but in particular for women. I’m always looking for new avenues for reaching out to girls and women to talk about why I choose a career in science and technology, and how I ended up where I am today.
One of the most rewarding moments to me is watching someone I mentored accomplish something they didn’t think they could do, or never would have even tried. Continuous learning and growth are my driving forces, and I want to use what I learn and experience to help others. I have been fortunate enough to have supporters and sponsors that have given me the opportunities that have taken me to where I am today, and I want to pass that along to my peers.