Fast-forwarding IT Careers with Social Media

Fast-forward IT Social

I have been encouraging all Intel IT employees to get on social media (internal and external) for a few years and really embrace mobility (i.e., start by downloading the Intel IT Business Review mobile app for the IT industry intel.com/IIBR). And I am so happy to see so many of my peers in IT now on Twitter or LinkedIn — and blogging on our internal collaboration platform and our external community. 

But it’s 2014 and there are still a lot of people “on the fence” — watching and waiting, but not quite jumping in. Here’s what I am learning about shifting the fence sitters.

It’s about the Benefits 

One thing that seemed to help was collaborating with my peer in Intel IT Training to create an online training series, “The Benefits of Being Social.”  The 5-part courses cover both internal and external social media platforms typically used by IT people (including LinkedIn, Twitter, HootSuite, and Jive). The first portion of the course reviews the benefits to the employee and to the company.

Each of the Benefits of Being Social courses walks through getting set up and creating your profile, how to follow and just lurk for a while, how to comment on things others post, and then how to post your own ideas or share useful information and start to really engage. It’s quite methodical – you do these same actions for each platform. Online training is great because people can go at their own pace. Continue reading

On Humble Confidence

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This blog is more of a short story about a leadership lesson I learned.

One summer when I was in college, I came home and took Thermodynamics at a community college. When I had some free time so I helped my mom by taking my grandfather, her dad, on his errands. One day when I picked him up, I had my Thermo textbook on the front seat. He went to get in and put the book on his lap. As I drove, he thumbed through it, then closed the book, looked up and said, “Kelli, I really like you because you are smart but you don’t show it.” Hmmm, was that a compliment? Oh yeah, it was. You see, my grandfather was a machinist who never went to college, but he was naturally smart at math. I know this is where my mom and I got our aptitudes for math. He knew it too.

Then he went on, “When I worked in the shop, I would get plans from the engineers. Sometimes they’d be wrong. You know I could figure it myself, so I knew if those numbers were wrong. I would go back to them, but they didn’t want to hear it from me. I was only a machinist.” I stopped the car at our first errand and my grandfather looked over at me and said, “I am so proud you are studying these books and going to be an engineer. Just never act like those fellas.”

I didn’t realize it at the time, but he was urging me to be competent but not arrogant or too full of pride. He wanted me to act with humble confidence.

Over the years, I have realized that my grandfather gave me some really solid leadership advice. We all know leaders need to be competent and confident. But a leader who is that and also humble, is more human, more approachable and maybe even more respected.

Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.  -Thomas Merton

A humble leader listens because they can learn from others and they also own up to their mistakes (unlike those arrogant engineers my grandfather had to deal with).  This is the kind of leader that inspires me. The kind of leader I aspire to be.  And I think my grandfather would approve.

What about My Needs!

screaming woman

Recently, I watched an Omega Institute for Holistic Studies live webcast “Strength, Courage and Wisdom” with TED icon Brene’ Brown and Zen priest Joan Halifax Roshi.

They were talking about finding your strength and how important it is to know your capacity and own it. I loved that Joan Roshi said, “Remember to take an in-breath.”  Then she posed the question “How can you take care of the world, if you don’t take care of yourself? You must love and show kindness to yourself.”

“The female identity is being a care-giver or a do-gooder,” added Brene’ Brown. The conversation went on that it’s unfortunate that if a woman does take that in-breath, in our culture she is viewed as narcissistic. What I pulled from that part is that to have power, we also need to take care of our needs and not care how others perceive us. Sometimes you have to enlist the help of others and put down that do-it-all shield.

Talk is cheap, right? To really do this, you have to overcome your fear of what others think or any other feelings of inadequacy that you harbor. For women, it takes courage to take some of those “in-breaths” in our lives. And to really have power, you have to be your true self and speak your own truth. You have to speak up for yourself. If you have a supportive family and friends, it may be a little easier to do this kind of woo woo stuff in your personal life, but what about at work?

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Why We Should Mentor Millennial Employees

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When I graduated from university in the late 80’s jobs were hard to come by – even with a technical degree. You had to get experience wherever you could. I knew when I graduated that the easiest way to find a job was to work through the campus recruiters, but I ended up moving to Japan and doing some backpack traveling for a few years instead.

While I was in Japan I worked in a translating company that specialized in technical documentation. I checked and corrected Japanese product/service manuals and research papers that were translated by native Japanese speakers. I read all kinds of things: scientific papers on the effects of electromagnetism on cockroaches, recommendations on which potatoes to plant in SE Asia to prevent famine, computer user manuals, and lots and lots of documentation about tool die casting equipment. I’m talking tool die specifications, product installation, service manuals and marketing brochures. Did I say a lot? There were so many tool die casting manufacturers in Japan at the time.  Tool die casting was not sexy, but it was my big opportunity to get some technical experience that I could take back to The States when I was ready to turn in my backpack for a real job.

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Letting Kids Provide Care

Abby card

Six years ago our family went to the animal shelter and a beautiful Black Lab named Abby picked us to be her family. It only took one look at her sweet brown eyes and we were smitten. She has been a great family dog. Even though she’s 50 pounds, she curls up with our daughter on the floor when we watch movies. Please don’t tell her she’s not really a lap dog. Our daughter has grown up with this dog. So far in this relationship it feels like we have gotten way more from her than we provide.

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STEM Girls: If You Can’t See It, You Can’t Be It”

role model in letterpress type

I went to the WITI (Women in Technology International) Summit in June. Every speaker talked about STEM education – getting more of our kids to be proficient in STEM is vital for our future. Then I watched a Women of Google event and, I have to say, I’ve have had their mantra “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it” stuck in my head for the past few months. I have a middle school age daughter. I want to make sure she at least understands the possibilities and opportunities that exist in science, technology, engineering and math careers, as she gets her education. I want her to have role models – starting now, before it’s too late.

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Attention Parents: Baking a Cake is Engineering

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When I was a 12-year-old girl, I loved baking cookies. It was fun. I would have a friend over on a Saturday afternoon; we would bake and then snack on the cookies. I didn’t know at the time, but I discovered recently, as a mom and engineer, that baking a cake has a lot of skills in common with basic engineering projects.

This past weekend my daughter had one of her friends over. They both love to bake and decorate cupcakes, so I expected they’d be in my kitchen creating something. I didn’t know they were going to engineer such an unusual product – a swimming pigs cake!

Here are some of the engineering skills the two girls used over the course of the afternoon.

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Building your Ability to Bounce Back

Resilience road sign

Originally posted August 9, 2012 on Women’s Center for Leadership

I was impressed by the determination and focus of the US and Canadian women’s teams in the Olympic Women Soccer Semi-finals earlier this week.

What made the biggest impression on me when I watched the game was the display of resiliency on both teams throughout the entire game – after every set-back, injury, questionable call, and penalty kicks. The teams rallied on. These female athletes exemplify resiliency – and it has stuck with me over the past two days.

We have all had career setbacks:  projects canceled, employees leave, funding dries up, and on and on. We all have had to adapt and rally.

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The Gift of Advice

Gift woman

Originally posted June 5, 2012  on Women’s Center for Leadership

Recently, the 2012 Fortune 500 list was released.  When I first saw the list I had no idea that there were a record number of female executives, until I saw in a blog that detailed, “The 2012 ranking of the 500 largest corporations in the United States includes a record 18 firms helmed by female CEOs, up from 12 companies in 2011. The previous record for women-led companies in the Fortune 500 was set in 2009, and included 15 firms run by female executives. Just seven Fortune 500 companies had female CEOs in 2002 and 2003.”

There are 2.5x more female CEOs than there were 10 years ago. So what advice do these accomplished 18 women have to share?  In Career advice from Fortune 500′s women CEOs, KeyCorp CEO Beth Mooney advises, “If somebody hands you a torch, what do you do with it? And I think the answer is easy. You light the way for others to follow.”

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IT Social Heroes for Employee Social Activation

Young businessman acting like a super hero and tearing his shirt

Originally posted June 27, 2013 on intel.com

In my blog, “Why Intel IT Experts Should Use Social Media” <LINK> I mentioned that I was working on a pilot program is called “IT Social Heroes.”

The goal of IT Social Heroes is to help our busy IT SMEs (subject matter experts) build solid peer relationships and increase their social authority (and that of Intel IT… and Intel) within the IT industry. We wanted the Intel IT SMEs to build social authority by:

  • Building equity in their name plus their area of expertise (by using a unique key equity term (KET)).
  • Improving the SME’s search-ability (SEO for higher Google Rank) over time.
  • Growing social influence (i.e., Klout/Kred score, # of followers & connections)

The pilot started with a few Intel IT SMEs in December 2012. For each SME, we did an assessment (to establish a baseline) and then advised each of them, creating a game plan of focused actions and metrics. We provided metrics to help quantify the value of time and effort they put in — and the impact when they slacked off the plan.

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