Posts Tagged ‘networking’

Connections to Speaking Opportunities

As I finish up the details of the talk I’m giving tomorrow, I can help but think about how I got this opportunity.

I used to work with Doug Russell who became a good friend of mine.  He was based in Austin and I was in Sacramento, but we met periodically and worked on a risk management team together.  We were trying to implement a more robust risk management process for product development teams at Intel.  Doug left Intel and went on to start his own company focused on execute team leadership.

To expand his own network, Doug became an officer for the Austin IEEE Technology Management Council.  He asked if I would speak to the group.  So I combined a trip to see my parents in San Antonio for Labor Day and a talk in Austin this past September.

I was in the midst of managing a difficult product at work which was on the verge of failing.  There had been quite a few mistakes made by the team that was keeping the product from market.  Since it was on my mind, I molded my talk around that.  Afterwards one of the attendees, Eric, came up to me and asked if I’d give a similar talk for the Design Verification Club he ran.  My response- “sure, in fact since I work in validation, I could probably cater a whole talk around that”.

Years ago I listened to a diversity leader at Xerox talk about how opportunities happen when luck meets preparation.  I had prepared for this talk with Doug and was lucky enough to meet Eric.  It created an opportunity for me to give another talk, to an even wider audience.  In fact, now that I’ve done two “Tales from the Trenches” talks, maybe it should become a new theme for me- sharing the learnings from my day-to-day project work.   (Until this year, most of my speaking opportunities outside of work have been risk management classes, panels focused on women in engineering, and encouraging high schoolers to pursue engineering careers.)

Don’t pass up those connections and opportunities that come your way.  You never know where they will take you!