Saturday, January 03, 2015

Inspired by Chelsea Clinton at SxSw 2014



In the past few years, I've had the opportunity to quote Chelsea Clinton (or at least what I remember) from her 2014 SxSw presentation and Q & A. Today I discovered a You Tube video of her presentation: Harnessing the Power of Data in Development. This was a great opportunity to listen again to the words that inspired me almost a year ago and to jot down more accurate "quotes".





Chelsea's speech helped me think through the question "Should I move Tech Savvy Girls towards becoming an "organization" or should I keep working as an INDIVIDUAL who COLLABORATES with OTHERS  in a freelance capacity towards this cause which I believe in - "empowering girls with technology skills."

From Chelsea's keynote:

Technology today allows individuals greater opportunity for Giving, Volunteering, and Contributing than ever before. The ability to participate in a cause have truly been democratized by technology...

Greater connectivity, Greater knowledge, Greater awareness, provide us with more outlets to engage and influence government, nonprofits and for profits organizations.
Through social media we can do something immediately such as change Facebook page, tweet, contact government officials more easily. 
Through technology we can find "Where we are positioned to uniquely make a positive difference",  Technology helps WE engage in the world around us


Chelsea describes how in the days of her grandmother, individuals could NOT send their own CARE package

CARE was a collaboration between 22 smaller organizations that TOGETHER could SCALE their efforts and they did wonderful things, but individuals had littler opportunity to contribute in the ways we can today. But technology has changed this by giving individuals a way to contribute to causes they believe in.

Technology has allowed me  to find venues where I can make a difference as an individual, but technology has also allowed me to find and support organizations I believe in who are also working to make a difference in this area.

Through the years I've struggled with the question "Should I move Tech Savvy Girls towards becoming an "organization"? Currently I continue to chose NOT to use my energy towards creating an organization. And although there are organizations, I work with or volunteer for that are positioned to support the cause of bridging the gender gap, I've decided to, also, focus on what I as an individual can do.  I like the  freedom of being able to DO something that is within my reach "right here, right now" and to remain agile enough to move quickly when an opportunities to make a difference present themselves.

I did however want an umbrella name to use for my collective efforts, so in the early 1900's I selected the name TechSavvy Girls as the project name for my Master's Capstone and for my future efforts and those of others who joined me in my many projects over the years.  These have included a day long event such as "Power Lunch with Women and Technology at UVM's engineering day", month long events such as a girl-developed entry in CyberFair International called "Creative Sides Of  Engineering" to week long summer camps for Middle School girls or High School Girls Leadership Camps. By not becoming an organization yet and remaining agile, I can work with more powerful organizations positioned to make a difference~ organizations whose leadership and modes of operation I respect.  If those organizations can can use my skills, energy, talents, I jump at the chance to join their effort. But the one thing I ask of them is to to honor my desire to remain agile (which I believe comes from being a freelance educator) and to allow me to "count my contributions" under the umbrella of Lucie's TechSavvyGirls projects as well as under their own organization.

I feel that one of the reasons I liked Chelsea's talk so much is it validated my thoughts about operating this way and that individuals can make a difference.

Chelsea mentioned that one of the factors that drives innovation (but is also a barrier) to solving problem is that we are obsesses with being the "FIRST" to solve the problem. By letting go of our egos we can form partnerships where each of us can contribute what we are uniquely positioned to contribute.  Being a freelance educator does uniquely position me to act quickly, follow a gut instinct to do something today that seems like it can make a difference.   I continually look for organizations interested in collaborating as I move forward in a nimble and agile fashion.

I have talents, knowledge, skills, energy to contribute towards bridging the technology related gender and look forward to sharing the work organizations are doing towards this goal. This year I will use this blog to raise awareness and will look to partner with those who can use my talents, knowledge, skills and energy.
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