Monthly Roundup - May 2024

Monthly Roundup - May 2024

And just like that, it's June! It's only 3 weeks since I did the last monthly roundup post, and that time has gone by quickly. I'd love to know which parts of this post you find most intriguing, or if there's anything else you'd like to hear more about!

Work I've Done

  • My main focus for May was to create my new Building Relationships for Managers workshop and to deliver it in the last week of May. This workshop was all about how to create great relationships through building rapport, trust and psychological safety, and looked at techniques to apply in each of these areas. I again designed this workshop to focus on the skills and concepts I wish I had learnt earlier as a manager.
  • The side effect of researching the above workshop was that I (re)-read and revisited a ton of books related to the topic, building up connections between books and grouping similar ideas. I love taking concepts from different places and reframing them in an overall structure that helps build up the lessons more clearly. Highlights were:
    • Supercommunicators by Charles Duhigg
    • Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
    • The Fearless Organisation by Amy C Edmonson
  • Continuing the theme from above around doing research, I've started developing a couple of new keynotes that I'd love to find events for in the upcoming months! Here's a sneak peek of the talks I'm working on:
    • 10x Yourself: A talk aimed at engineers to explore how to increase their impact within their teams, by building their communication and collaboration skills.
    • Learn & Share: A talk about how engineers can teach each other, what good learning & teaching looks like and how to put learning principles into practice.
    • Finding Your Voice: A talk about helping you build your reputation in the tech community, getting you to share what you know with others and figuring out the best way to do that for you.
    • If I Can Do It: A talk about my journey in tech, dealing with imposter syndrome and reflecting & refactoring my skills and behaviours.
  • I've setup the Tech Ladies Dinner Roundtable group on LinkedIn and have setup the 2nd dinner for June! The idea of TLDR is to get awesome women within tech meeting each other and growing a support network in the later stages of our careers, through doing small intimate dinners. I'm hoping this will bring more awesome women in tech together. If you're interested in joining too, add me on LinkedIn and send me a DM there.

Events I've Attended

  • I had a great time at CTO Craft Con with interesting talks, brilliant conversations and intriguing discussions! I love learning how others approach similar challenges and sharing what’s worked for me. It was also lovely to catchup with folks, meet new people and reconnect with others who I hadn’t seen for years! Events like this are great for bringing the community together and getting folks to learn and share more. I think the main recurring themes for me were that:
    • It’s key to encourage cultures of learning, trust & well-being to create high-performing teams.
    • You need to grow & invest in teaching engineers communication & management skills, and the more senior engineers might not necessarily know how best to teach these skills.
    • You need to understand the feedback loops for any system (be it people, process or practice) to be able to iterate and make impactful changes.
  • I attended my second London CTOs Unconference! I had some great discussions about employee motivation, how to retain people, and how to organise your teams. I love the format of unconferences for this. It’s great to explore and discuss different topics together and get insights from a range of backgrounds, experiences and sizes & contexts of companies. I find you always get to learn about new perspectives and approaches that you may not have heard of before!
  • I got invited to do an Ask Me Anything Q&A for the Couch to Conference program from Aspiring Women Speakers. I got all sorts of questions, ranging from what to do if you're speaking about a topic and there are people in the room who know more about the topic than you, to what's the worst thing that happened to me while on stage. It was a fun hour, with lots of good questions, which will inspire some future blog posts here!

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.

  • The story highlight of May for me was Nye, a theatre production about the politician who started the NHS. A friend of mine managed to get tickets to this in its closing week, and I'm so happy I got to see this. The show masterfully tells the story of Aneurin ‘Nye’ Bevan, weaving flashbacks of his life together with the story behind the NHS. It's a piece of UK history that I wasn't familiar with at all, and honestly, by the end of it, I was balling my eyes out.
  • Sticking with theatre, I also went to see Cruel Intentions The Musical which was hilarious and nostalgic. Having been a teen in the 90s, this was just a lovely throwback of all the songs I used to love. Each time I thought they couldn't add another song I knew all the lyrics to, they'd surprise me with another classic. In particular, having Iris, Foolish Games and Bitch behind each other feels like it could have come straight from my teenage mixtape.
  • I also went to the Assassin's Creed Symphonic Adventure at the Royal Festival Hall. This was a celebration of all the music in Assassin's Creed, and every single game was showcased with its own medley of main themes. I've played almost every single game in this series (except for the last two cause I'm running behind), so it was great to hear these songs played live.
  • I was so inspired by the Assassin's Creed concert that I picked up Assassin's Creed Valhalla again. It took me a while, but I'm now hooked. There are still a couple of parts of the game that feel clunky compared to the previous ones (especially the parkour traversal which should be a key part of this game), but I've realised I can ignore those missions and still enjoy the rest of the game.
  • In terms of books, my favourite read of this month was The Last Murder at the End of the World by Stuart Turton. I love how different each of his books are, but the one thing they have in common is an unusual, yet clever murder mystery. This one wasn't my favourite, but the premise is still intriguing: a murder mystery set in a dystopian future on a Greek island surrounded by a mysterious deadly fog, where all the suspects have had their minds wiped cause of the island's security system... So even the killer doesn't know they're the killer.
  • I also finally finished The Drowning Empire series by Andrea Stewart. I loved this series, although the part I appreciated the most from the first book (bone magic that requires instructions to be written on bone to create a sort of automatons, which is the closest interpretation of programming as magic that I've come across!) didn't get featured in here as much as I hoped! It's a great end to the series though, and definitely one of my favourite recent series.
  • My favourite movie this month was Godzilla Minus One. This is what a Godzilla movie is supposed to be! I loved the setting and the characters' storylines, and Godzilla is properly menacing.
  • Another movie I really loved this month was The Fall Guy. Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt as a stunt man and movie director? This was just a lovely and funny movie and you could clearly see the love from the film makers for stunts but also movies in general. Also: any movie that shows a karaoke scene in parallel to an elaborate car chase and choreographed fight understands what I look for in movies.
  • I planned to see Furiosa in the cinema, so in preparation for that decided to rewatch Mad Max: Fury Road, since it had been 9 years since I last saw it. The upside: Fury Road is such an amazing movie, with gorgeous cinematography, outrageous stunts and framing, and a fast-paced story with characters you can't help but fall in love with. The downside: rewatching it so recently made Furiosa seem just okay. It wasn't a bad movie, but it failed to live up to the brilliance of Fury Road.
  • Finally, I got to mention the new Fallout TV show. I played Fallout 4 years ago, and while I enjoyed parts of it, I never finished it cause there were other games I was just more interested in. The Fallout show though manages to blend all the things that I liked about the game: interesting and morally grey characters, a creepy backstory about the vaults, and the dog Dogmeat. I like how the show also is telling a different story from the games, so even as someone who has played one of the games, there's a lot to be guessing about!
Do you need help to get started with your talks? 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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