Sunday, April 30, 2017

Women are Innovators Too: Happy Mothers' Day!

Women are innovators too so why must we ask for permission to be recognized in the technology industry?  Women whether a mother or not, learned about technology, programming, and connecting dots at an early age.  They are the living definition of the words innovation and technology.  They figured out how to train-up children.  They didn’t come with a book of instruction, did they? 
Webster defines technology as the practical application of knowledge".  You all remember, “Do as I say, not as I do”?  Well that was practical back in the day.  But today, how many mothers you know still raising children that way? Women had to transform as and learn to model behavior.  In an article by The Clemmer Group, the author writes, “Too few managers model what they demand from others.  If you’re a manager, ask yourself:  How often do I seem to be saying one thing while doing another? How often am I practicing what I preach?”  I submit, baby boomer mothers are and they have raised a lot of women innovators. 
Ryan Allis, in his article “The Top 12 Innovators of All Time”, defined innovation asthe process of creating something new that makes life better.”  He goes on to say, “Innovation is impossible without passion.  Innovators see the world differently.”  Well, when raising children, women have passion.  They train up someone new who makes life better.   They see each little one differently.  Why then is there only one woman on Ryan Allis’ list?  I’m not picking on Ryan Allis, I don’t even know him.  But I say, “The very core of raising children is innovation” so Mothers should be added to the list.  Women, stand up; you have the knowledge and the experience the innovation world needs. 
Consider for example, the Queen of Software was convinced if programming was written in a way that anyone could read then there would be more programmers.  My Sister in Arms, Rear Admiral Grace Hopper designed the language Flow-Matic which gave birth to what many technology geeks know as the Common Business-Oriented Language (COBOL).   It’s amazing that Lady COBOL [in 1958] captured the essence of starting where you are.  She made life better while growing and building something unique and useful.
Then there is Jenne Saucedo-Herrera who didn’t just become the President and CEO of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation.  She started with a heart for her community and a passion for economic development.  Her start is proof positive that if you have the tenacity to start where you are, you can become a technology leader yourself. 
Finally, Take Paula Gold-Williams, after 10-months of doing the job she was finally given the job of CEO of CPS Energy. Of special note is that Jenne Saucedo-Herrera is a former executive leader at CPS and CPS Energy is a Technology entity.  No doubt, CPS Energy has a history of starting women where they are.  They recognize growth potential and they allow them to use their creativity to build out new technology. To be disruptive, technology must be developed, prototyped, and commercialized.  It takes time and commitment.  Women are used to managing multiple projects, using what they have to get the job done despite the odds, and waiting patiently for their time.
So, are we really committed to doing for young ladies on the sidelines what needs to be done so they don’t feel they have to ask permission to be in technology?  Are you ready to answer the question, why aren’t more women being counted among the top in technology and innovation in record numbers?  I submit three reasons.  First, women don’t know they have an innovation story to tell because they are so busy, innovating that they’ve never stopped to think about telling their story.  Second, those women who know they have a story to tell, don’t know how to tell it.  They spend unnecessary time all over the place, starting and restarting.  Third, women are still multi-tasking, trying to connect too many things, instead of focusing on delivering one clear technology and innovation message.
As I sit in my community space at Geekdom and look around, I observe and think.  Why are we having this conversation about gender 60 years later?  Why must we ask for permission to be in technology, when women are the very essence of technology.  Women know what it is to recognize and grow talent.  No two children are alike, yet they manage to recognize what each brings to the table and grow them up to be winners. 

So how do you go from start to GrOw in the technology and innovation industry?  My fellow Texans leading social enterprises, corporations, or non-profit organizations, let me introduce you to two friends I’ve met on my own journey.   Founder and CEO of Ms Entrepreneur Role Model Search, Adam Ortiz and Book-in-a Box co-founder and best-selling author, Zach Orbont are committed to doing for women on the sidelines what needs to be done so they don’t feel they have to ask permission to be in technology.  They can help you tell your story in very innovative ways.  I'm happy to be teaming with Adam Ortiz and Zach Orbont to help women learn new ways to share their innovation story.  Small Business Innovation Ranch through its InnoWomenTM program will team with them to bring you a free live event that will be shared around the world to help women tell their story to grow their business and their communities.  You don’t want to miss it so be on the lookout for the Eventbrite invitation. We need men and women in positions and in technology today to be open to recognizing technology talent in women of all backgrounds thereby granting permission while building new talent in the technology industry.  


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