Sitting in the (NCWIT) Red Chair celebrating Women in Tech

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’d like to remind you that I am a Tech babe for life!  For years I honed my skills as a programmer (certified by Java and Oracle) while employed by some of the best companies in the world. My apps were stellar (if I do say so myself) and clients were always happy.  However, as a young programmer, I’d look around and see very few female programmers, and even fewer people of color venturing into the world of technology.  Today, I’m so excited to be co-developing some really exciting initiatives to improve the pipeline of women and underserved minorities in technology. More to come on my technology initiatives in future posts….

Carla Franklin sitting in the NCWIT Red Chair

Carla Franklin sitting in the NCWIT Red Chair

The red chair in the photo above is part of the NCWIT Red Chair campaign to support and improve opportunities for Women in Technology.  Current data on the issue shows that NCWIT’s campaign is urgently needed.  Consider the following data published by the University of Buffalo in February, 2014:

  • Women make up nearly half of the workforce, yet they held only one quarter of all technology and computing jobs in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • In 2008, women earned more than half — 57 percent — of all bachelor’s degrees, but only 18 percent of the degrees awarded in computer and information science, down from 37 percent in 1985, the National Center for Women & Information Technology reported in its “By the Numbers 2009.”
  • According to a study by the Center for Work-Life Policy, 74 percent of women in technology report “loving their work,” yet 56 percent leave their careers at the “mid-level” point — more than double the quit rate for men. And they’re leaving not because of family obligations, but because they’re dissatisfied with their jobs.
  • Only 10 percent of corporate officer positions and 11 percent of board of directors’ positions at Fortune 500 technology companies were held by women, according to the 2008 census of corporate officers and top earners of Fortune 500 companies by Catalyst, a nonprofit devoted to expanding opportunities for women and business.

I hope that more women (and men) join me in this red chair.

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Digital Spring Cleaning: 5 ways to tidy-up your social media life

ImageThere is a belief that a cluttered home reflects a cluttered state of mind, and disorganization in one’s life. Removing the junk from your surroundings and organizing your things can have a profound effect on your state of being. Some see this belief as part of the “Law of Attraction”, others base it on principles of Feng Shui. Either way, I believe these principles hold true for both the real and digital world. Spring cleaning is an annual practice through which we can not only de-clutter and reorganize our homes, but also clear the junk out of our social media life in order to bring more positive energy into our existence.

A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that 67% of online adults in the United States use social networking sites. Moreover, 25% of the total time that Americans spend surfing the internet is focused in social networking and blogs, according to Neilsen. For adults aged 18 – 65+ who are actively go online, 67% are on Facebook, 20% have Twitter accounts, and 16% use LinkedIn. Living life online as an adult includes managing social networks, collecting friends and contacts, uploading photos, videos, and resumes, and actively updating status. As in the real world, a person’s social media life is prone disorganization and messiness if not periodically, and properly, maintained. I recommend an annual Spring Cleaning ritual to ensure that your social media life remains tidy and efficient, in order to reduce stress and bring more Zen into your life. As with spring cleaning for the home, I believe there are five principles that apply when cleaning the clutter from your social media life.

Rosie the Robot Maid from the Jetsons

Rosie the Robot Maid from the Jetsons

  1. Update your look: Stop posting that picture of you taken 15 years ago on LinkedIn or Facebook. Either the recruiter won’t recognize you when you go for that job interview, or the girl that you’ve been flirting with on Facebook will run from you thinking that you’re a stranger, if you attempt to meet her in person (this actually happened to a friend of mine, LOL). Invest money in getting new headshots to post to your online profiles. Also, take time to review and update your resume on your professional profiles to make sure that it reflects all of your recent accomplishments. You should actively update your professional profiles with changes in education or job status, because its easy to forget. Recruiters may be overlooking you for some great job opportunities because your job information is out of date.
  2. Get rid of things that you’ve out grown, and no longer fit: Culling my friends and contact lists is an essential house keeping activity that I perform at least once a year. Overtime you randomly add people that you barely know or with whom you no longer communicate to your social media profiles. Many of these people should no longer have access to your personal status, contact lists and/or photos. Just like that old pair of jeans from high school or college, in life, we often out grow friendships. Delete these people from your contact lists. Stop hoarding and collecting friends (who aren’t really your friends) in your social media life. You don’t really really have 1000+ friends (or even 500+). Its nothing personal, you’re just reducing the clutter.
  3. Sort and organize your Professional vs. nonprofessional items: Sort activities and people in your digital life according to their professional status in your life. Remember to maintain a professional boundary with co-workers and colleagues. Some people belong on your Google+, Twitter or Facebook friends list, others you may want to limit to LinkedIn. Not everyone who is an active participant in your life should have access to every thought, opinion or swimsuit photo that you have.
  4. Get extra storage for your all of your stuff: Invest in a Dropbox, Google Storage, Flickr or SnapFish account. Its worth it the money and set-up time. It offers a great way to backup files and data, in case your personal computer is stolen or the hard drive fails. It also provides a more secure and private method, compared to Facebook and Google+ for storing photos and videos.
  5. Make sure your that your belongings are protected: In the digital world, protecting your belongings means insuring that your privacy setting are turned on and up-to-date. Avoid over-sharing. Limit your status, family photos and personal thoughts to only those with whom you trust enough to share these details. Remove old pictures and/or change their visibility to people on your “Contacts List” who don’t need to see them.

Ratchet or Refined: Old School Paper Weekly Planners

20130502-035746.jpgDear 1993, you left something behind. Perhaps space and time folded at some point over the past month, creating a “worm hole” like something out of Dr. Who or Star Trek (the “Next Generation” series of course) through which this relic fell into 2013. However it happened, I cannot figure out why paper planners are still being sold in this day. I mean, given the progressive evolution of phones and other technologies over the past 20 years, it was surprising to see this in the aisle of my local office supply store last week.

Who uses even uses a paper planner nowadays? My 87 year old granddad has a planner, but he uses it to write down phone numbers (don’t ask why he won’t use an address book…long story). But outside of those who are Octogenarians or older, who still uses a planner? Smartphones are all encompassing communication/entertainment/organizing tools. They make up over 80% of the mobile market in the US. Online and e-mail calendar tools like Google Calendar and Outlook are available to those who are still have flip phones.

Some people are traditionalists though. Like those who avoid Kindles and other e-Readers, instead preferring to turn the pages of a real book. Maybe these are the people who by paper weekly planners. Or perhaps, Staples keeps them around for the 70, 80 and 90+ year olds like my grand dad.

So, as I stood inside the office supply store last week, stunned, but amused by this paper weekly planner, I asked myself…is this ratchet or refined?

Random business musings: Man Lotion

Man Lotion Vaseline Men

Man Lotion – Vaseline Men

Perhaps I’m late in discovering man lotion. I saw this black container of Vaseline Intensive care on the desk of a colleague, at one of my corporate consulting clients. The bottle is a very masculine black, with white lettering. No frills or flowers…basic and bold.  One pump releases lotion inside that smells of “Old Spice” mixed with musky brown bear and the smell of your dad when he got dressed up to take your mom out for a night on the town. It is the personification of “hyper-manliness” in a body & face lotion.  At first I laughed at this rugged looking lotion bottle that was only a line extension of my lavender and berry scented hydrating cream. Then I thought about the brilliance behind it. This is Business Strategy 101: Market Segmentation and niche specialization by Vaseline. Man Lotion that is priced for the average consumer. Brilliant. It must be flying off the shelf. My boyfriend has always complained that regular lotion smells girlie…like berries, flowers and sugar. He usually buys the unscented brands. Well, now all of our problems are solved. Lol.