I consider myself very lucky when it comes to meeting people I can seek advice from and people who encourage and believe in me. Giving talks is one of the things that I wouldn’t have been able to do if I didn’t have them around me. As I met more people in the community (thanks to SydCSS), I realised so many people (especially women) have the same fear as me, like “why would anyone want to listen to me”, “I don’t have anything worthwhile to talk about”. Having been in the same situation, I know that those thoughts aren’t true and I want to change that! I want to help them, like how other people have helped me. I want to pay it forward. I especially want to see more women up there on the stage, sharing their ideas and knowledge. I want young women to have more role models to look up to. A lot of people already have great ideas for talks. They just need a little encouragement and someone to tell them, “You can do this!”
At the end of August’s SydCSS, two of the attendees Connie and Georgie came up to me and said, “I’m interested in giving a talk, but I’m not sure what I can talk about”. I was so happy that they actually approached me, rather than the other way around! It takes a lot of courage to put your hand up for your first talk, so hats off to them.
We caught up for lunch and coffee separately to brainstorm some talk ideas. They both had great ideas already so I didn’t need to help them much. All they needed was a little encouragementand and some feedback around the ideas. Then a few weeks later, while chatting with Georgie, she said to me “I totally appreciate your support! You have given me confidence in this talking thing and I actually feel I have things that are worth talking about”. That’s exactly what I hoped to happen and I could not be happier when I received that message.
I’m really glad to know that I’ve been able to encourage someone, like what many others have done for me. I hope to do more of it because I know what a difference it makes when there’s someone who’s willing to help you and see you succeed. Marcy Sutton’s post sums it up the best: “Make time for those coming after you; you might inspire someone”.