Category Archives: Mentoring & Other Business

Best Mentoring Practices

Katy Dickinson moderates TechWomen panel on Best Practices in Mentoring, 17 Sep 2019

Yesterday, I moderated a mentoring panel for the TechWomen Mentor Kickoff event (hosted by SurveyMonkey in San Francisco). The experienced and inspiring panelists were:

Some of our advice:

  • Katy: Look for long term success, this is a personal relationship in a professional setting
  • Roojuta: Be flexible, make introductions, find people to help
  • Jennifer: Create handouts for events, give good directions with pictures, be flexible, reach out to other mentors
  • Kiko: Provide resources, help the group find value in each other, encourage teamwork, stay focused, show up and listen

I also offered my five best questions:

  1. What problem are you solving? (define the challenge)
  2. How do you know when you are done? (success/completion metrics)
  3. Who is your customer? (target audience)
  4. What is your data? (quantification)
  5. What difference will it make? (impact)

These are on my Mentoring Standard website

I was proud to attend this event with my Co-Mentor and daughter, Jessica Dickinson Goodman. She is a Country Coach for Palestine and I am a Country Coach for Algeria this year.
Katy Dickinson and daughter Jessica Dickinson Goodman, TechWomen Mentors, 17 Sep 2019
Katy Dickinson moderates TechWomen panel on Best Practices in Mentoring, 17 Sep 2019

Just for fun – some of my collection of magnets from the 22 TechWomen countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia:
TechWomen country magnets - collection of Katy Dickinson 2019
TechWomen country magnets - collection of Katy Dickinson 2019

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Images Copyright 2019 by Katy Dickinson – with thanks to Jessica Dickinson Goodman.

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In Memory of Danny Cohen

Danny Cohen VOIP talk 2009

I was very sorry to learn of the passing of Internet Pioneer Danny Cohen this week (1937-2019). Danny and I worked together at Sun Microsystems Labs in Menlo Park, California. These pictures are from a talk Danny gave in 2009 about VOIP and the start of the internet, from just 4 sites in 1969 to 45 sites in 1974.

Danny and I worked together on several projects:

  • Danny was a mentor four times in the Sun Engineering Enrichment and Development (SEED) program I ran 2001-2010 for worldwide Engineering. I remember him asking humbly why anyone would want him for a mentor? I said that anyone who created the first real-time visual flight simulator on a general purpose computer, and the first real-time radar simulator, and who helped create the Internet itself was someone worth learning from. He was never convinced.
  • Danny and I shared a fascination with maps, particularly with how Beck’s 1931 London Subway map changed how the world thinks about illustrating transport networks. He contributed to the wall of maps outside of my Sun Labs office.
  • We worked together in 2010 to create Danny’s Wikipedia biography. Again, he was not sure why anyone would want to know but he kept coming back to answer more questions and review what we had so far.

My husband, John Plocher, and Danny and I attended Edward Tufte’s class on “Presenting Data and Information” together in 2008. In 2010 as Sun Labs was transitioning to Oracle, I took the pictures below of Danny’s office.

Rest in peace old friend.

Danny Cohen VOIP talk 2009 - ARPA Request 1968 VOIP talk 2009
Danny Cohen VOIP talk 2009 VOIP talk 2009
Danny Cohen VOIP talk 2009 VOIP talk 2009
Danny Cohen VOIP talk 2009 - ARPAnet 1969 VOIP talk 2009
Danny Cohen VOIP talk 2009 - ARPAnet 1874 VOIP talk 2009
Sun Microsystems Labs map wall 2010 Sun Labs Map Wall
Danny Cohen's Sun Labs Office January 2010 IEEE Fellow Certificate – Danny’s Office
Danny Cohen's Sun Labs Office January 2010 USC Certificate – Building the Internet – Danny’s Office
Danny Cohen's Sun Labs Office January 2010 DARPA – Birth of the Internet – Danny’s Office
Danny Cohen's Sun Labs Office January 2010 Bookshelf – Danny’s Office

Pictures Copyright 2009-2010 by Katy Dickinson

 

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TechWomen Team Algeria 2019

Proud to have been accepted as a TechWomen mentor for the 8th time, this year as Impact Coach for Algeria. I am honored be working for the 4th year with co-mentors Mercedes Soria and Fatema Kothari.

The 108 TechWomen emerging leaders from 22 countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia arrive in the San Francisco Bay Area in September. Larissa Brown Shapiro and I were co-mentors for TechWomen Fellow Imen Rahal of Algeria in 2013, giving me some background. So looking forward to this! TechWomen is a program of the US State Department for which I was Process Architect in 2010-2011.

My daughter Jessica Dickinson Goodman was also accepted as a TechWomen mentor, for 2019 Team Palestine!

Katy Dickinson, Fatema Kothari, Mercedes Soria, TechWomen October 2018

Algeria camel plate 2013
Algeria camel scene 2013

Pictures Copyright 2019 by Katy Dickinson – of gifts from Imen Rahal, 2013. Photo of Katy, Mercedes, and Fatema taken by IIE TechWomen, October 2018. Quote posted by IIE to TechWomen Twitter site, 11 April 2018.

 

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Honoring Gandhi

A reflection paper on Gandhi from my Pacific School of Religion “Transformative Leadership” class with the Rev. Dr. Dorsey Blake:

Paper

My fourth reflection paper is on the 1982 movie Gandhi, also considering parts of Gandhi’s 1927 Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth. I saw the movie when it was released but this is the first time I have watched it since I made two trips to create mentoring programs in Bangalore (now Bengaluru), India. I have the deepest respect for Gandhi and his remarkable accomplishments. Watching the movie again and reading his writing have only increased my appreciation for this great and humble man. It would be hard to overstate my admiration for Gandhi as a role model for generosity of soul, vision, non-violent change, organization and communication.

I have in my mind’s eye three bronze statues of Gandhi, one in Gandhi Square, Johannesburg, South Africa, another in Washington D.C. near Dupont Circle, and the third at the Museum of Memory and Tolerance, in Mexico City. For me, these heroic artworks represent the beginning and end of his story and illustrate parts of the movie. The statue in Johannesburg shows Gandhi in a legal gown over his suit, as he would have appeared as a young lawyer. He is reading a book, looking forward, and stands on a high plinth in a large public square. When I saw the statue in 2015, several men were lounging comfortably on the plinth base. The statue represents the young Gandhi at the beginning of the movie, a man who is making his professional way in Johannesburg, working inside the British system. The statue in Washington D.C. in front of the Embassy of India is very different. Over life size, the bronze shows Gandhi as an older man, striding along wearing very little and using a long staff. The red stone base says, “My Life is My Message.” This represents the Gandhi who walked modestly among his people, getting his social justice and political work done by force of personality. I make a small pilgrimage to Gandhi’s statue every time I go to Washington D.C. It feels like visiting an old friend. The final Gandhi statue is a bust in a line in front of the museum along with busts of Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Four more larger than life statues of these great leaders make up the final exhibit of the museum, representing heroism and hope. Our Pacific School of Religion – Mexico immersion class visited the Museum of Memory and Tolerance in January 2019. Gandhi is represented among those who inspire the whole world to change for the better.

In the “Face to Face with Ahimsa” section of Gandhi’s autobiography, I was inspired by how much love was a part of his effectiveness as a catalyst for social change. Gandhi writes, “The people had for the moment lost all fear of punishment and yielded obedience to the power of love which their new friend exercised.” Gandhi uses the word ahimsa, meaning respect for living things and avoidance of violence, to describe how he interacted with the people of Champaran, in India at the foot of the Himalayas. He writes, “It is no exaggeration, but the literal truth to say that in this meeting with the peasants, I was face to face with God, Ahimsa and Truth. When I come to examine my title to this  realization, I find nothing but my love for the people.” The emotional connection between Gandhi and the people of India was profound. His leadership of the movement for Indian independence against British colonial rule was so effective not only because he was a great strategist, organizer, and communicator but also because he lead from love. I too have found that my best ideas and most effective communications come when I lead from my heart.

Gandhi is so important and beloved in India that he is sometimes referred to by just his initials. In the several weeks I stayed in Bangalore, India, in 2004 and 2007, I learned that M.G. meant Mahatma Gandhi. For example, I attended church at St. Mark’s Cathedral, which has the address 1 M.G. Road. 10 It took me a while to understand that the Bangalore hotel clerk was not saying “emmgee” but rather “M.G.” when giving directions to the cathedral for Sunday services. Gandhi is entirely deserving of this deep affection and respect by his nation, by the world, and by me.

References and Bibliography

  1. Gandhi, directed by Richard Attenborough, featuring Ben Kingsley (Columbia Pictures, 1982).
  2. Mohandas K. Gandhi, Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth, trans. Mahadev Desai (New York: Dover Publications, 1983).
  3.  “Mahatma Gandhi Memorial (Washington, D.C.),” Wikipedia, last modified 2 April 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahatma_Gandhi_Memorial_(Washington,_D.C.).
  4.  “Statue of Mahatma Gandhi, Johannesburg,” Wikipedia, last modified 19 August 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Mahatma_Gandhi,_Johannesburg.
  5.  “Memory and Tolerance Museum (Museo Memoria y Tolerancia),” CDMX – Ciudad de Mexico, accessed 11 March 2019, http://cdmxtravel.com/en/attractions/memory-and-tolerance-museum-museo-memoria-y-tolerancia.html.
  6. TechWomen Tour Johannesburg,” Katysblog (blog), 25 January 2015, https://katysblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/25/techwomen-tour-johannesburg/.
  7. Communities of Liberation, Cuernavaca Mexico (5),” Katysblog (blog), 30 January 2019, https://katysblog.wordpress.com/2019/01/30/communities-of-liberation-cuernavaca-mexico-5/.
  8. St. Mark’s Cathedral, Bangalore,” St. Mark’s Cathedral, Bangalore, last modified 2017, http://saintmarks.in.

Photos Copyright 2015-2019 by Katy Dickinson

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TechWomen Delegation to Sierra Leone

I recently returned from the TechWomen Delegation to Sierra Leone and am still catching up with all of my work and homework. I was happy to be able to travel with my daughter, Jessica Dickinson Goodman, who was also a Delegation Member and who posted excellent daily blogs during the trip. We met with hundreds of girls and boys, entrepreneurs and leaders, schools and organizations, and came home inspired by the energetic and welcoming people of Sierra Leone.

Jessica and I had a long layover in London, so we were able to see an excellent all-female cast of Richard II at the Globe Theater. Once our flight arrived in Sierra Leone, we took the boat between Lungi and Freetown. The next day, we started visiting initiatives around Freetown developed by the creative and dedicated TechWomen Fellows of Sierra Leone, and participating in other events, including

  • The Services Secondary School, Juba
  • Reception by US Ambassador Maria E. Brewer
  • STEM Career Day with secondary students at British Council, Tower Hill
  • Fourah Bay College STEM students
  • Women’s Leadership Forum at Radisson Blu Hotel
  • Connecting the Future networking event and reception at Sierra Lighthouse
  • Women in #Techpreneurship at Family Kingdom Resort
  • Pitch Night and Startup Exhibition at Toma Boutique Hotel
  • Reduce-Reuse-Recycle at Saint Edward’s Primary School
  • Hands-on STEM Experience with Students at Buxton Memorial Methodist Church

I gave a keynote on Networking, and Jessica gave a talk on Finding Funding, and we joined all of the Delegation members to help present workshops and activities. Of course, Jessica and I passed out our Notable Women in Computing cards and posters. After the delegation ended, many of us took a bus to visit Families Without Borders in Makeni. Even after a 42 hour trip home, it was a remarkable and fulfilling experience.





















Updated 23 March 2019

Photos Copyright 2019 by Katy Dickinson – Thanks to TechWomen for the Pitch Night photo!
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Jail Classes Thriving

The two classes I mentor at Elmwood Jail are thriving. The Education for Ministry (EfM) class has been going since 2015, and the Transforming Literature of the Bible (TLB) class started this year. Both will be recruiting new inmate students this month for the next sessions.

The Rev. Canon William Barnwell created TLB in the early 1980s at the University of New Orleans, and continued its development for many years at National Cathedral. Between May and August 2018, in consultation with Canon William, I revised the 36 sessions in the Hebrew Bible and Christian Testament, kept some of the original literature, and added more diverse selections appropriate to jail ministry in California. The literary selections are included to provide a diverse context in which to understand some of the major themes in the Bible passages under consideration. In May, I started the first TLB Hebrew Bible pilot class in a minimum security men’s dorm. This TLB program is in addition to the EfM program also presented weekly, in a medium security dorm at Elmwood.

We finished the first full (two term) TLB pilot class in October – graduating our first students. The overall rating for the class is 93% Excellent, with 93% of students reporting that they would Definitely recommend the class to others.  One student who just graduated turned down an early release date so that he could finish the class. Thirteen signed up for the third TLB term that started in October.

I am grateful to my Co-Mentors Diane Lovelace and Joel Martinez, and my husband, John Plocher (with the Rev. Peggy Bryan as backup). This program is supported by the Correctional Institutions Chaplaincy  (CIC), St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, and the University of the South – School of Theology, EfM Program. Thanks to Collette Lynner of CIC for supporting TLB production.

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Photos Copyright 2018 by Katy Dickinson

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TechWomen Team Morocco – Connect to Impact


I have been proud to team up with Mercedes Soria and Fatema Kothari for a third year as TechWomen impact coaches, to work with five remarkable leaders from Morocco: Safaa Boubia, Nisrine Oukacha, Fatima Zzahra Meziane, Fatima Zahra Oumenni, and Imane Nassif. We have been working together since the ladies arrived in September to create Connect to Impact – a new online platform offering resources for nonprofits in Morocco to showcase their actions plans, increase their awareness and access to donors, and in time, improve their skills through fit-for-purpose training. Connect to Impact will provide a bilateral matchmaking algorithm between donors and nonprofit organizations.

Team Morocco presented about Connect to Impact at TechWomen Pitch Day yesterday. We find out at the Community Event on Monday, 22 October 2018, which of the twenty country teams won.

What is TechWomen?
TechWomen empowers, connects and supports the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) from Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East by providing them the access and opportunity needed to advance their careers, pursue their dreams, and inspire women and girls in their communities.

TechWomen is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). TechWomen, launched in 2011, supports the United States’ global commitment toward advancing the rights and participation of women and girls around the world by enabling them to reach their full potential in the tech industry.

Part of the joy of TechWomen is its large and supportive community. My daughter Jessica Dickinson Goodman is also a TechWomen mentor, again coaching Team Palestine, which also gave an excellent pitch yesterday.  During the intermission, we got to see videos from TechWomen Fellows of prior years, including Solve24, created by our own 2017 Team Lebanon. Wish us luck in winning the pitch competition!







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Photos Copyright 2018 by Katy Dickinson

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