This past Tuesday, I was honored to speak as part of a Women in Tech Power Panel at the Google Cloud Next 2023 Conference. There were so many emotions and thoughts going through my mind in the days leading up to the event, during the discussion and afterward. It felt like a huge accomplishment and celebration of how far I had come on my journey. I had just celebrated my fifth anniversary of working at Google.
In this blog post, I will share my feelings and process as I prepared for the panel discussion.
#1: Dealing with being rejected previously
In 2020, before the pandemic hit, the Cloud Next team sought panelists for the Women in Tech panel at the upcoming conference. I raised my hands to speak on the panel and was turned down. It was not easy for me to raise my hands. The rejection hit me very hard because I felt my identity was being questioned. As someone with a degree in Business Information systems and a tech Program Manager for many years, I could not imagine that someone felt I was not qualified to be on a Women in Tech Panel.
#2: Being offered the opportunity, saying yes and getting ready
Three years later, the conference was back live in San Francisco, which was a big deal, and to top it up, I was asked to be on the Women Leaders in Tech Power Panel. Interestingly, when I received the email, I thought the request was for me to recommend someone. I was very excited when I realized that the invitation was for me. The only person I shared the opportunity with was my manager, who was very supportive. One of my team members found out I was speaking on the panel and shared it with the rest of my team. I felt very encouraged by my team as I prepared for the panel.
#3: Speaking on the Panel
As I was driving to the location of the conference, tears started welling in my eyes. My first thought was to call my biggest cheerleader and supporter my twin sister. She knew the right jokes to tell and ways to distract me while reminding me of how proud she was of me. I got to the venue and got my microphone. Everything felt real, and I was ready to share and connect with people. This was the first time since the pandemic that I was speaking at such a large event, and I had forgotten how energized I felt when I had live interactions with so many people. Being on the panel with three exceptional leaders made the event even more special.
I am beyond grateful to everyone who made it possible for me to be on this amazing panel. It took three years to go from rejection to speaking on the panel. Every moment of the process has made the wait worth it.
I am looking forward to many more opportunities to speak and meet people.