The wonderful Serena invited me to join her for a panel at a women/tech conference in October. We’re still working out the details, but essentially we’ll be talking about role models – our own personal superheros. if you will.
Some points that I’m thinking about:
- It’s great to see really successful women in tech, I adored Sheryl Sandberg’s commencement speech and the WSJ had an article about women at Google recently which was encouraging.
- But what about the superheros you know who not only inspire you, but you can call in a crisis?
- What about the superheros who call you in a crisis? I know a lot of awesome people, many of them women. I know all of them have setbacks, periods of doubt. I know all of them have failed. Knowing this, doesn’t make me think they are any less awesome, it makes me appreciate what they achieve all the more.
- There’s always a flip-side. Failure. Weeks living on Cherios. Days with too much wine/vodka (what’s your poison?). Mornings where getting out of bed is just too much. Mostly, we don’t see them – and so being a superhero looks easier than it is.
- Recent talk I gave, someone fabulous gave me quite an introduction. Honestly, I didn’t think I could follow it. She says, “here’s this amazing thing about Cate” and for each one I think about how that was really the result of me screwing up in some way (the flip-side).
- So what’s your super-power? My friend Maggie called it on mine. She said, “I think the main thing you got out of grad school was learning to make the best of a shitty situation”. It’s true, my super-power might be the pursuit of an interesting life. Good things have come as a result of that – and bloody hard work.
- Superheros are everywhere (and, actually, they are human).
- Get to know as many superheros as you can.
- Don’t underestimate yourself – being a superhero doesn’t mean that it’s not hard, or that you won’t fail.
Looking for feedback and ideas. Particularly, I’d love to know:
- Tell me about your superheros. What do they do that makes you think they are extraordinary? In what ways have they struggled? What have you learned from them as a result?
- What’s a key piece of advice you’d like to tell you at 20? (or at any point?) For me: those arrogant boys are not as good as they think they are, and you are doing better than you think.
- What’s your super-power?