Highlights from the Women in Technology Regatta in Amsterdam

Last week, I had the privilege of moderating and speaking on a few panels for the Women in Technology conference in Amsterdam. Friday's panel on "Allyship" was really good, moderated by Nathalie Hennequin with my new wonder friends Apoorva Mathur, Heidi Hasz, and Charles Cassar.

What does it mean to be a good ally? Does everyone know what an ally is? Is it a transactional relationship? Is it a lifelong commitment? Are we all entitled to them?

My main takeaway from this conversation is that we have different definitions. I believe that in order to attract the right allies, one must be an ally. Having a sense of entitlement to "the unquestioning support of another" is delusional - especially when there is nothing else holding that relationship in place. I made the point that an ally is NOT your ride or die. Some of the greatest allies I have had in my career, have been the ones who did not take any of my BS and respectfully held me accountable. They grew me and were committed to my growth. We also discussed the difference of personal allyship and how a company can be a better ally to its employees. Main conversational takeaway there - if you are not going to support them, why are you hiring them? Are you having conversations about allyship? Have you had them in your career? Are you an ally?

The panel I moderated was on "Strategic Storytelling". And my oh my - what a conversation. 
Main takeaways there:
1. Marketers who use storytelling are finding it backfire on them if the story does not come from an authentic place. Younger generations have a much improved BS meter. 
2. Storytelling as a way to market yourself is a great thing, as long as you are willing to be honest and vulnerable. 
3. Most people don't even realize what their story is.

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