Monthly Roundup - June 2024

Monthly Roundup - June 2024

I find it surprising that the end of the month always seems to sneak up on me, even though I shouldn't be surprised. It's hard to believe that we're already halfway through the year and that I've been freelancing for 6 months now. While I'm still working on getting my business off the ground, I'm enjoying all its different aspects, despite juggling various roles. It feels like work is also picking up, so I'm excited about what lies ahead!

Work I've Done

  • June was an odd month for me, since I was busy with LeadDev London and LeadingEng for a week, then went to the Netherlands for my sister's wedding, followed by a week of holiday. So I didn't have that many "work " days this month.
  • This month, I focused on launching my new online workshop, called Engineer Your Talks: Brainstorming Talk Ideas. This 90-minute interactive workshop will centre around my 4-step RRRR framework for generating talk ideas. It's the first time I'm hosting a public workshop like this – most of my workshops have been internal at companies. I'm keen to share what I know and hope this will kick off a series of Engineer Your Talks workshops, all aimed at applying an engineering mindset to the process of creating talks.

Engineer Your Talks: Brainstorming Talk Ideas Workshop

When: July 30th 19:00-20:30 UK (18:00-19:30 GMT)

Sign up now!
  • As usual, I had an amazing time at LeadDev London (I'll talk more about my attendee experience in the Events section below). This year, I was involved in LeadDev in different ways: I did some behind-the-scenes speaker coaching and was on a panel on How To Become a LeadDev Contributor. Plus, I’m super excited to help bring that LeadDev community together more regularly as one of the hosts of the London Meetups!
  • While not technically work, I wanted to mention how I also spoke at my sister's wedding this month, which, given the topic of this blog, is relevant! Despite all my years of speaking at conferences, meetups and at work, this was the first time I had ever given a speech like this and I was more nervous than I usually am. I'll likely do a longer blog post about this at some point, but it was fascinating to see the differences between how I would prep, what made me nervous and what to focus on.
  • In the latter part of June, I started working for a new client on a workshop to help their engineering leaders improve their internal presentations. It's going to be a three-hour workshop focused on how to apply a product mindset and design thinking to create more engaging and impactful presentations. The workshop will touch on goals and key messages, audience profiles, story structures, slide design, and delivery. I'm excited because it combines many of my practical exercises about speaking into one workshop!
  • I also organised the second TLDR (Tech Ladies Dinner Roundtable) in June! This time we went to the gorgeously decorated Ave Mario, with awesome Italian food and drinks. Thank you to all the attendees for the lovely and supportive conversations! It’s so interesting to hear about everyone’s journey into tech, the challenges that folks are facing, and just to get to share experiences. I'm planning more dinners for July, so if you're interested, connect with me on LinkedIn and send me a DM.
The TLDR dinner at Ave Mario

Events I've Attended

  • I got to attend the first TU Delft Female Impact Community dinner, a new spin-off event for women alumni from TU Delft. It was fun to meet other alumni from my old university and hear how degrees have changed over the years, what people's career journeys have been and how people ended up in London.
  • As I mentioned above, my main event highlight for June was attending LeadDev London and LeadingEng! It was a ridiculously hectic week, but I love the community and event so much, it's worth it.
    • The week started with the LeadDev speaker mixer on Monday. It's a great way to connect with other activity hosts and speakers before the event and compare how we've prepped for our different activities. For me, it also always feels like a bit of a reunion, getting to catchup with various folks I've met over the years and hearing what they're now up to. After the mixer, I ended up grabbing dinner with a few of the other speakers and hosts, continuing the good conversations!
    • Then came the main event: two days of LeadDev London! I didn't get to go to all the talks (cause of speaker coaching and catching up with folks), but the range and depth of topics always impress me. I've learned so much from this conference on how to be a good manager and leader.
    • Beyond the talks, I got to take part in various activities during the day. I loved how many things were going on: table talk discussions, community representation groups, AMAs, and coaching; there was so much to choose from! I initially had a bit of FOMO of being unable to go to everything, but regardless of your choice, you’ll end up with an intriguing discussion! I spoke to folks about how engineers define & perceive re-orgs, how line-management lines are structured, how we can encourage engineers to learn, how to find a good topic to talk about and more. So many ideas to process!
    • On Thursday, I attended LeadingEng. This was my second LeadingEng, and I love how the focus here is on managers of managers. The two highlights for me were the sessions with Cate Huston about self-management and Meri Williams about commercial understanding. These were super valuable. and I wish I had gotten to attend one of these last year when I was in a full-time role!

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.

  • Let's start today's Stories I've Explored with a type of story that I love, but haven't featured here before: an escape room! It's been a while since I've gone to one, which I really should remedy with more planned visits. I had the week off last week, though, so I decided to do Escape Plan's latest escape room with my husband. It's called Pushed for Time, and it's time-travel themed. I love rooms that use a time travel theme cause when done well; it means that you can play around with the story, as well as the set design and the puzzles. And this escape room delivered on all of those. The story was fun and made sense, the set design was great, and the puzzles were brilliant. They managed to create some tactile and rewarding puzzles that I hadn't seen before, which is always a good sign!
  • I finally went to see Operation Mincemeat! I really enjoyed it, but I think it got hyped up too much for me; I had multiple friends who all said it was amazing and the best thing ever. While I liked it, I constantly expected to be blown away and surprised just more than I was. Maybe it's cause I've seen a lot of theatre and improv, but it didn't grab me as much as I was hoping. Don't get me wrong, though; it's still really good, and I think more people should see it!
  • I'm so happy that I got tickets for the Spring Awakening 15-year reunion concert! I went to see this musical during it's original run, and it still is one of my favourite soundtracks. I loved how most of the original cast returned for this, and it was amazing getting to hear these songs sung live after so many years. It was also interesting to see how I myself have changed over those 15 years: certain songs just hit me differently now, and I ended up unexpectedly crying to songs I had heard countless times.
  • Speaking of emotions and memories, I loved how Inside Out 2 continued to expand on the world inside our heads. The introduction of Anxiety just felt so familiar and real; it brought me back to how anxious and stressed my teenage self was. It's literally taken years for me to understand how to handle my own anxieties, what works for me and how to recognize my mind and body's triggers.
  • Moving to the land of TV, my main highlight was the first two seasons of The Bear. I'm annoyed with myself for not watching this show earlier, but the upside is that I now get to binge-watch three seasons (I'm still making my way through the latest third season). It reminds me of Ted Lasso, in the sense that we get introduced to a team of dysfunctional people, where everything goes wrong, but slowly with communication and effort, things get better. I think it's a much longer process with The Bear, though! It's also the perfect blend of story, cinematography, dialogue and music; the creators take risks with certain episodes and aren't scared to try something different, doing things I hadn't seen before. I'm surprised by how this show has given me some of the most relaxing, rewarding, nice-to-watch, feel-good episodes, as well as some of the most anxiety-inducing, oh-please-let-this-be-over ones. That takes skill! * chef's kiss *
  • I also watched the second season of The After Party, and I still love the concept: each season is about a murder, with every episode showing a different character's perspective, shown in a different movie style. This season had episodes in the themes of a Jane Austen story, a 50s noir, a Wes Anderson movie, and a heist movie. And this time, I managed to figure out who did it and how before the big reveal!
  • In terms of video games, I am still making my way through Assassin's Creed Valhalla. This game is so long! From a story point of view though, I'm mostly loving the tiny side missions with their various quirky stories. So far I've come across not-that-subtle references to Winnie the Pooh, Beowulf and The Canterbury Tales, which I just love discovering.
  • To wrap this post up, my book highlight for June was The Husbands by Holly Gramazio. What if... you had a magical attic and each time you sent your husband up there to grab something, a different husband would come back down? It's a ridiculous concept, but Holly manages to weave a hilarious story with many laugh out loud moments.
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