Two Down One To Go

Keynote Address Podium

Keynote Address

A few months ago I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel discussion at Girl Geeks Toronto. After that, I wanted to moderate a panel, but thought I should get more experience at being on a panel. Jany Jang accelerated that movement by asking me to moderate a panel for Ryerson Women In Leadership on International Women’s Day about Breaking The Glass Ceiling. I was honoured, but nervous at the same time. One of the things that made it really easy was that I was familiar with the room and some of the people. The other was that I knew one of the panellists, Carolyn Van, very well.

I attended an event a couple of weeks ago at MaRS Discovery District called Gaining Momentum: Women and Technology and now I’ve added another to the list. After hearing Dr. Ilse Treurnict, the CEO at MaRSDD, I need to do a keynote. She was inspiring and any description I gave here would not do her talk justice.

So next time you’re wondering who to get for the keynote, let me know! This one will definitely take me a few years… But I’m okay with that.

#FF ThirdOcean

If you ever want to attend a great panel discussion, make sure you add ThirdOcean to your follow list. They have been in business for a couple of years now and is headed by Carolyn Van and Karim Kanji. After attending my first event, FashionConnect that they put on under their brand XConnect, I found out that Carolyn and I both graduated from the same University, same faculty and probably within a day of each other. I like to think I graduated BEFORE her, but hey, what difference does a day make? 😉

Burritos from GameConnect (#GCTO)

Burritos from GameConnect (#GCTO)

Since the first panel, I’ve continued to attend their events regardless of the topic because I always find it interesting. The point is to find the intersection between technology and another industry. The topics have ranged from Film, Gaming and Education and they always put out a good spread. It is thanks to their events that I was introduced to Rightsleeve and their wonderful services. Their latest one was HealthConnect (#HCTO) where the discussion was centred around health. Amazing discussions come out of their panels and it is never boring! I can’t wait to see what the 2013 season brings.

Both Karim and Carolyn have been extremely supportive of me in my endeavours and have welcomed me with open arms. It is thanks to Carolyn that I began learning about WordPress just over a year ago. Had it not been for her insight and suggestions, I would not be where I am today. To give you an idea, I presented at WordCamp Toronto 2012 last month with a success story. They don’t just limit themselves to their own business either! You can find them almost everywhere, including Venus Ventures and Lean Startups. Heck, they were event at TEDxToronto today! Please give them all a follow on this wonderful Friday and I hope to see you at the next one.

ThirdOcean

ThirdOcean

What have you feared that turned out to be much easier than you expected?

What have you feared that turned out to be much easier than you expected?

WordPress

WordPress

One of the pieces of my consulting work is setting up WordPress installations. I thought it was going to be extremely difficult, like retraining everything I’ve learned. But in fact, it is much easier than originally thought.

As I wrote in one of my book posts, I picked up WordPress last year when a friend of mine suggested that they thought this would be something that I could do fairly easily, given my previous experience in web design and programming. In our program at Ryerson University, we were given some of the basics of programming so that we would at least know what we were looking at when dealing with some of the issues that might be put in front of us during our careers. Some of us have actually become pretty decent programmers, such as Wes Bos, head instructor at HackerYou. Once I got into it, I realized that you didn’t really need to know any programming to get the site up and running. When dealing with design of the site, some knowledge of web design is helpful for coming up with the structure, such as the categories, but very little if any programming is needed. A little research might be needed when looking at plugins or themes, but the WordPress forums help a great deal with this. THere are also a number of groups out there, including the Toronto WordPress Group and the Developers group that are amazing. This month, I’m helping launch a website built entirely on WordPress for the MRBS. The challenge that I’m hoping to overcome: getting the contributors to the community to own their respective areas and post it to the site with little technical knowledge. Will let you know how well this worked in my follow up post. 😉

Swag 2.0 by @RightSleeve

My Right Sleeve Notebook from Swag 2.0I had the pleasure of attending this event about a week and a half ago. Boy do they know how to throw a party! First thing we get is a wonderful notebook so we can note down all the wonderful swag we would like to purchase. It is definitely one of my favourite styles. Highly recommended for any conference you are attending.

I never knew how cool this business was until I walked in to the event. Everything from notebooks, to rugby shirts to funny shaped usb keys. I know Carolyn Van was admiring a few.

That’s the other cool thing about this event. When Mark asked if I was coming, I told him I wasn’t sure because I wasn’t in a position to buy anything. He said come anyway since it was a great way to meet people and they would love to have me. That’s community! I ran into people that I hadn’t seen in a while and got a chance to hang out with them all at one venue. And the food was enough to keep us around, especially the cupcakes.

It just so happens that Erin Bury’s article on Mashable was released the same day and that Right Sleeve was mentioned therein. The bags shown there are the very same ones we were given at the end of the night as gift bags.

And let me tell you…if you haven’t already heard…is that I’ve used almost everything that they gave us that night. The biggest one being the umbrellas that we needed not only that night to sheild us from the rain, but for many a night thereafter. Here’s me at #TweetGasm sporting the brollie and the bag, thanks to Jonny Bunning (@emaninTdot on Twitter).

Ernie Whitt's AutographAnother little side story is how I met one of the greatest baseball players of all time; Ernie Whitt formerly of the Toronto Blue Jays. I recognized him and the ring on his finger. He didn’t stay long, but long enough for me to snag his autograph. And how apprpriate? I happened to have one of my other Right Sleeve notebooks on hand with their letterhead for him to sign in. Karim Kanji is still jealous to this day. 😉

If you ever have a need of swag (or don’t and like to admire new toys) then you must check them out. They have great products and are wonderful people. You can find Mark Graham and his team here. If you have an idea, I’m quite sure they will have the solution. I know that they will be the first ones that I go to.

Thanks to Mark and his team for putting on such a wonderful event. Hope to see you all very soon.