The inconvenient imposter …igniting your confidence
Birmingham 12th May
Karen Howie and myself attended the UCISA Women in Tech conference. We travelled down to Birmingham late afternoon by train on the 11th for a 9:30 start the following morning.
The conference was very well attended and the introduction started with the fact that women particularly suffer from imposter syndrome.
Many of the speakers talked about their personal experiences. I’ve selected my personal highlights of the day below.
10:00 Confidence snakes and ladders, Avril Chester
This started where the speaker had her back to the audience. Avril made it like she was talking to herself ‘I can do this… no I can’t’.
She talked about the pressure we often put on ourselves, how your own confidence holds you back. ‘You never lose, you either win or you learn.’
Stop comparing yourself with others, and beating yourself up.
We were all asked to stand up, firstly we had to stand like we had no confidence, so we all slouched. Then we were asked to be confident so we all stood up straight with our shoulders back and that certainly made me feel better. So I have to remember, shoulders back!
Remind yourself what you are good at. I really need to talk to myself about this one.
Avril was very engaging and this was a great start to the conference.
13:05 Foster the imposter, Jake Dovey
This was one of the break out sessions.
Jake’s talk was about diversity in the workplace, and called an all male team ‘toxic’ in the tech environment.
He discussed the recruitment process and how changing the language and structure of job adverts could encourage more women to apply for more technical roles. The best candidates are often put off if they don’t have everything the advert says even if it is desirable rather than essential. There are many words which also put individuals off.
I must admit I look at job adverts now and don’t think I’m suitable for many of them.
Textio is a gendered language decoder, which Jake used for many of his job adverts, it helps spot these words and suggest others. Unfortunately it is no longer free but there are alternative decoders out there.
Jake was also very engaging and what he is doing is really important, I hope it happens everywhere, not just in Universities. In fact a member of the audience asked if they could go and work for him!
The conference was filmed (not available yet).