Monthly Roundup - April 2024

Monthly Roundup - April 2024

I know, I know, we're almost halfway through May, and I'm only now posting my April roundup. We've had another bank holiday weekend here in the UK, plus I was at a conference for most of last week (CTO Craft Con) and again that's caused me to do this monthly roundup a bit later than usual.

April... has been challenging. I miss Casey so much still, and it's been hard to focus on work. He was always so present, and so many things remind me of him. I'll just be sitting on the couch or at my desk, and a random memory of Casey will sneak up on me. I’ve been lucky that as a freelancer I can be quite flexible with work, since the memories and emotions have been a lot to deal with. It gets a little easier each day, but it’s still been difficult.

Work I’ve Done

  • I delivered a workshop at the end of April teaching coaching skills to new managers, which was my primary priority for work given all of the above. I tried to focus on practical skills to embed in their 1:1s and build a coaching habit step-by-step. The feedback I’ve gotten on it has been great: it was useful, engaging, enjoyable and memorable, which I’m super chuffed with! I‘d love to do this workshop with more teams, cause I think all engineers could benefit from understanding coaching skills.
  • Next to that, I continued with my 1:1 speaker coaching sessions, including sessions with some new clients. I’ve loved discovering what each person needs and how to help them. This month the sessions have varied from brainstorming talk ideas to preparing for a panel event and practising vocal exercises.
  • Several of my clients gave their talks at conferences and all got brilliant responses! It's been lovely to see how their talks and their delivery have developed throughout our sessions.

Events I’ve Attended

  • The LeadDev London Meetup is back! This was a great kickoff event with talks from Kelsey Mills, Masha Kereb and Stephen Sitton. I'm now looking even more forward to LeadDevLondon next month!
  • As much as I enjoy attending meetups with talks and panels, it's also nice to occasionally have ones that are purely focused on networking. The first of those I did in April was the CTO Craft London Mixer. It was great to meet new people and compare experiences.
  • The second networking event I attended was the WITSEND Quarterly Mixer, and again it was a great way to meet and catch up with the amazing women in the WITSEND group. Everyone has such fascinating backgrounds and roles, and I always learn so much from going to these.
  • An Evening with Leigh Bardugo: a friend of mine got us tickets to this book signing and interview with Leigh Bardugo, one of my favourite writers. It was such a fun event, with Bardugo discussing her books and her writing process. I love hearing how authors approach their stories!

Stories I‘ve Explored

Stories are a huge part of how I approach talks and blog posts, so each month I'll highlight the fictional stories I've explored recently. Especially those that play around with some aspect of their storytelling.

  • Hearing Leigh Bardugo talk about writing The Familiar, I knew I had to pick it up this month (even though my To Read list is endless). It's an intriguing stand-alone story set during the Spanish Inquisition. I really wanted to like this more. While the characters are fascinating, it just didn't grab me as some of Bardugo's previous stories.
  • The storytelling highlight for me for April was Shogun. Based on the book of the same name, it follows John Blackthorne, an English sailor who ends up shipwrecked in 16th-century Japan and needs to navigate the politics and intricacies of a culture he doesn't understand. This gripped me from the first episode! I loved all the different characters, the set design and the story flow, and (having not read the book) I could not quite predict what direction this would go.
  • Another TV show I completed was The Orville. I'm still surprised that a show that started as a parody of Star Trek has evolved into exploring nuanced sci-fi stories. This season had some of my favourite stories contained within a single episode.
  • I spent more hours than I want to admit on Assassin's Creed Valhalla. I've loved the Assassin's Creed games, so I wanted to give Valhalla a chance. But the story and characters all feel predictable and bland. I kept waiting for the game to get better and for it to hook me properly, but I might actually need to DNF this.
  • I ended up watching Anyone But You with friends, a few days after we lost Casey. It was exactly the type of distraction I needed at the time, but I wouldn't say it was a good movie! It's super cheesy with some awkward dialogue and even more awkward plot points, but with a few laugh-out-loud moments. Glenn Powell deserves better. Luckily you'll get to see him in Hit Man soon, which he is brilliant in!
  • I wanted to watch The Greatest Hits cause I heard it was a mix of time-travel and Groundhog Day for the Spotify generation. Little did I realise that it's about a woman who looses her boyfriend in a car crash, and then gets transported back to specific moments in their relationship when she hears certain songs. It's a lovely movie about dealing with grief and losing someone you love. It felt cathartic to watch other people deal with their grief.
  • As I said above, I'm still grieving for Casey and it's been hard to focus on things. But I feel like watching and reading stories about dealing with grief has been helping me. What stories would you recommend? I'd love to know what has helped other people.
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