BCSWomen “My Brilliant Career” event

June 29, 2011 - Women in Computing

Yesterday I was in London for a BCSWomen Committee meeting, followed by an evening workshop called “My Brilliant Career“. It was a change from the normal BCSWomen workshop format (talk, drinks & networking, talk, drinks & networking) as we started with a very hands-on workshop on career planning from Christine Alexander Smith (who was high up in IBM and is now running http://www.diversity-coaching.info/) & Gillian Arnold (who was high up in IBM and is now running Tectre). This workshop was great – properly interactive, with NO POWERPOINT!!. They got us to consider what we actually wanted from our careers and how we might go about getting there. As it was a one-day workshop condensed into an hour it was hectic and intense – but good fun, and seriously thought-provoking. We started with reflections on times when we were most proud of our work, and why, moving through what we thought we wanted (and whether that was really the case), to how we were going to get there. Gillian & Chrissie were excellent presenters and I’d recommend them to anyone (they’ve run this course for big corporates, like EDF, so we were really lucky to get them to run it for us for free).

We then (after drinks & networking, of course, we can’t completely change our format:-) had a short talk from Sarah Winmill, CIO of the V&A. Sarah’s talk was called “My Brilliant Career“, and covered working at the Royal Festival Hall, the Royal Palaces, the V&A, the Royal Academy of Arts and then the V&A again. There was a real emphasis on transferable skills, and upon finding the right position for you and going for it. On the way it covered how to communicate techy stuff to people working in conservation, how to do networking when laying underground cables requires an archaeological dig, and lots of cool (and less cool) photos. It was also very very funny indeed; if Sarah decides on a career change which is unlikely, as her career is pretty much interstellar right now, she could go into stand up. I’m absolutely chuffed to be able to announce that she’s agreed to give the keynote at next year’s BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium, too.

We finished with a panel session featuring all the earlier speakers plus Farrah Djohan from Google, taking careers-related questions from the attendees. We could have gone on for much longer – there was huge interest and the event seemed to really engage the audience – but the BCS London offices needed to close at 9pm so I had the difficult duty of drawing the proceedings to a close (and redirecting people to The Coal Hole pub across the road). All in all a top evening.

Any BCS members who came along and who aren’t BCSWomen members should join up now, as it’s free; and anyone who’s interested in following what we’re up to but who isn’t a BCS member can find us on twitter,or facebook. Our yahoo and linkedin groups are for members only, but the twitter and facebook are open to all. It’s worth adding that our events are also open to all – we often charge a few pounds more for non-BCSWomen members, but we’re not exclusive, and we even let men come along if they want to.

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