In honor of Ada Lovelace Day women bloggers from all over the world have pledged to write a blog post about a woman in technology whom they admire. When I considered the task I really wanted to impress my audience and identify some obscure academic that I don’t really know anything about. But that’s not the way this blog post is going to go. Sometimes you find exactly what you’re looking for right under your nose. The woman in technology whom I most admire is my fellow Geek Girl, Meghan Wilker. Ok ok. It’s an obvious choice. I’m ok with that. It’s the truth. Meghan inspires everyone around her on a daily basis and I honestly can’t think of anyone more deserving of some accolades. Who better to serve them up than someone who actually knows her really well?
Meghan is one of the most intellectually curious, unafraid explorers of technology I have ever met. She’s not just a gadget hound, she derives true joy from trying new things, hardware, software, networks and services. Her genuine glee when she stumbles upon something that works is contagious. But she doesn’t just play with technology, she finds real and practical ways to apply good technology and good thinking to the work she brings to clients every day. Meghan refuses to stop learning. She refuses to be still. And she’s not just an early adopter for the sake of it. She is thoughtful and prudent about the tools and tech she considers. There has to be a legitimate value proposition. Her judgement is sound and the experience against which she measures the value of technology is unparalleled.
When Meghan is working with clients on their web strategy I often remind them that there really is nobody better in this industry. One might think that’s a sales line. But it’s the truth. Meghan is a true technology evangelist. Always advocating for the end-user. She works diligently to make tech and the language around it accessible. And she never misses a teaching opportunity. But she’s so darned approachable and affable that people generally don’t even feel ‘taught’. They feel included. Which is a really big deal in this industry. There’s something inately ‘exclusive’ about technology. But Meghan effortlessly strips all the pretense away and validates every contribution.
Meghan is wildly prolific. She doesn’t just explore, she maps her exploration for anyone interested in trying new things. She blogs. She tweets. She is an active Geek Girl, out in the community facilitating boot camps and workshops and panel discussions. And she approaches all of these things with such zeal – you believe her. She makes you want to try. And trying is really exploring. Meghan makes other people explorers too. Her victory is really in the incremental change she might influence. Or when some resistant human admits that a little bit of tech was actually a welcomed addition in their life.
I am privileged to work with Meg. She is a powerful teacher and a constant source of inspiration for me. I look forward to traveling down the trail she blazes. And so, on this Ada Lovelace day, I’m happy to dedicate this blog post to Meggy.
I would be remiss if I didn’t include a few honorable mentions in this little missive.
My mother, Barb Lyons. She’s a physician who wanted to be an engineer. She went to med school when most women weren’t really encouraged to pursue any kind of career. She was a math and chemistry major in college. And she constantly reminded me that there wasn’t a thing I couldn’t accomplish or have interest in. She was a science and tech geek before it was cool. Before I had any idea how forward-thinking she was. I admire her.
My grandmother who raised a family of really strong, outspoken, unapologetic women.
My friend and coworker – Sharyn Morrow, who is like a true geek’s geek. She codes and does network admin type stuff and takes killer pictures and is a flickr freak and just really devours technology for a living. All under the guise of being a cool vegan, punker mama.
My friend Patty Remes who quietly makes her mark in the user experience space. She balances experience and her artistic sensibilities in a way that makes her a real expert in a space where many people claim to be experts, but few people really are.
And finally, someone I don’t really know well, but know. Courtney Remes. I think she deserves mention because I think she’s one of those really gifted, true technologists. A programmer with a strategist’s head and, considering how good she is, a surprising amount of humility.