Monthly Roundup - March 2024

Monthly Roundup - March 2024

With the long bank holiday the past weekend and me taking some much-needed holiday, it‘s a slightly late roundup post this month. We’re almost a week into April, but I didn't want to skip doing the March edition of these monthly roundup posts. They’ve been a great way for me to reflect on what I’ve been up to, and to share some insights with you of how my freelance journey has been going! 

Work I’ve Done

  • My main win of this month is that I delivered my Goal Setting workshop for new managers! It's all about how to explore, set and achieve personal development goals with your direct reports. I’m so happy with how it went. I had a few timing issues (that I now know how to fix), but despite that, the workshop attendees found the content and exercises helpful and practical. 
  • Next to that, I've been designing the next workshop module for new managers: Coaching. This is going to be all about how to use coaching techniques in regular 1:1s with direct reports, which I feel is less straightforward than doing an explicit coaching session with someone. It’s been great reflecting on my own coaching experiences and trying to vocalise what would have been helpful for me to have heard earlier on in my journey as a manager.
  • The third workshop I’ve been drafting is my Writing CFPs & Bios workshop. This one I’ve done multiple times in the past within previous companies I’ve worked at, so it’s more about remembering how I designed those and updating it for a different and new audience. 
  • So the theme for this month has definitely been workshop design. I’ve loved designing the above three workshops and figuring out what the best learning format is to teach a specific topic. I’ve been reading and exploring as much as I can about how to make them as engaging and helpful as possible. Next to that, I’ve also been having conversations with other workshop facilitators about workshop design, sharing insights on how I’ve set up mine and learning what’s worked for them.
  • As usual, I’ve also had the pleasure of doing several 1:1 speaker coaching sessions with clients and I’ve enjoyed helping each of them on their speaker journeys. This month the sessions have ranged from giving feedback on practice runs of their talks to talking through what the goal and who the audience is of a talk. I still have availability for more 1:1 clients in April, so if you’re interested, get in touch. 
  • Besides the workshops and 1:1 sessions, I’ve also started dipping my toe back into event organising. I organised the first TLDR yesterday: Tech Ladies Dinner Roundtable! While technically it took place yesterday (in April), most of the organising for it happened in March, so I’m including it here. The idea of TLDR is to create a regular dinner series for women and underrepresented genders in tech to meet and support each other. There’s a sad stat out there about how 50% of women end up leaving tech by the age of 35, and this meetup is aimed at helping those of us who are sticking around in supporting each other. I’ve found that the further I go in my career, the more likely I am to be the only woman at my level or with my years of experience. This is to help women meet, and build their support networks. It’s also an excuse to just get more awesome women together over a lovely meal, rather than just putting up with cold and disappointing pizza. I loved the conversations we ended up having and it truly felt like the type of event that was missing. If you want to get involved in the next one, drop me a line on LinkedIn!
  • That’s not the only event I’m getting involved in: I’ve got a few exciting other projects in the pipeline that I can’t quite share yet! I've loved putting my organiser's hat back on though. There’s so much about pulling an event together that often gets overlooked and I love being able to design a process with such worthwhile and exciting results! 

Events I’ve Attended

  • March was a surprisingly busy event month for me! I participated in 7 virtual events and 5 local London events. It’s been nice to go out and do more, and meet people behind my regular network.
  • One of the above events that I enjoyed was the Mindstone London AI meetup. It was an interesting evening with some fascinating talks and a panel about AI. I loved hearing from other attendees how they have been using AI in their businesses and what they’re hoping to learn to do with it. 
  • I also finally got to give my Reflect & Refactor talk at the Female.js meetup with the theme of Redefining Women’s Coding Journey. This got re-scheduled after the venue dropped out last minute in February. Because of this, it ended up bringing quite a small group, but it led to some lovely focused discussions. I’d encourage folks to keep an eye out for future events! 
  • Here are a couple of upcoming events I'll be at that I'm excited about:
    • April 10th: I'm looking forward to the CTO Craft Mixer next week! it's going to be a great evening of conversations and networking!
    • April 11th: The LeadDev London meetups! are back! I can’t wait for this community to come together more often beyond just the conferences. There are still plenty of tickets available! Who will join me there?
    • April 24th: I'll be attending my first AWS Summit and I'm curious to see how this will be. It looks like a large event!
    • April 27th: I'm excited for the Kraken Ladies Tech! This is a one-day event filled with tech talks, fireside chats, panels, and networking opportunities.

Stories I‘ve Explored

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

  • One storytelling highlight for me in March was the musical Standing at the Sky’s Edge at the Gillian Lynne Theatre. It takes place in a single apartment in a council housing estate in Sheffield and weaves together 3 stories set in different time periods. The parallel storylines are very cleverly done, highlighting similar experiences over different generations.
  • I replayed and finished Mass Effect 3, and it remains one of my favourite games of all time. I realised though I had never actually played the DLCs, and they add so much more to the story. I still love how relatively smaller decisions you make in Mass Effect 1 and 2 can have much bigger repercussions here. I'd be interested to explore how future games could vary even more based on your decisions: could you create a game that provides a truly unique story to you? Think No Man's Sky but with the story rather than the world and environment.
  • Talking about custom story experiences, Pandemic Legacy Season 0 tries exactly just that in board game form. The game changes based on what skills you invest in, what decisions you make and what cards come up during the game. We finished all 12 chapters this month, and I loved that we ended up with a game unique to us!
  • I had heard so many good things about All of Us Strangers, but it didn't prepare me at all for how mesmerising this movie would be. I had no idea about the plot going into beforehand, I had just heard it was good, and I'd recommend reading as little about it as possible.
  • I stayed up for my yearly viewing of the Academy Awards! I loved this year's ceremony: I think my favourite years are ones where they manage to capture what it means to make movie magic. In a way, it's a different type of storytelling design that you need to do for an award show. Where they celebrate and highlight all the things that happened with movies over the past year. And I think they managed to do that with this ceremony. For instance, I loved how they did the acting awards: for each category, they brought back 5 past winners to introduce and give a short speech about each nominee. Finally, Ryan Gosling performing I'm Just Ken was just epic and amazing.
  • I watched all of The 3 Body Problem on Netflix. Now, I had read the first book in the series years ago, but while watching the show I struggled to remember what had happened and the majority of the characters didn't seem familiar. So after the first few episodes, I started re-reading the first book, while watching the show in parallel. I've since also finished the second book, and am about 100 pages into the third book. TLDR: I like both. I can understand the changes that the TV show has made and while they do simplify the story a lot, I felt like I at times needed it to make more sense of the physics. Without trying to spoil anything significant: the books all feature different main protagonists, so what they've done in the show is pull the later characters forward and have them all know each other. It allows for the cast to stay consistent across seasons, as well as provides opportunities for exposition by having the characters discuss what is happening to them, versus that being internal observations that one person is having. I think the TV show has created a more understandable version of the story while getting the main points across. However, if you are the type of person who enjoys reading, I'd recommend the book cause the story feels more complete!
Want to work with me? I provide 1:1 coaching sessions and team workshops about brainstorming talk ideas, CFP writing and creating talks. Reach out to me to discuss what you're looking for.
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