Tag Archives: Silicon Valley

What the Presiding Bishop Said

Tweet from RealEpiscopal 11 Jan 2017, Katy Dickinson and Presiding Bishop Panel on 7 Jan 2017, photo by Elrond Lawrence

“You are doing it.  Keep going.” is what Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said in Salinas, California, on 7 January 2017. I was a member of the panel that asked questions after his keynote. From my notes, my opening question was:

“The Silicon Valley has a skewed population.  In the high tech world where I work, there are about 25% female, 4% Latino, and 2% Black in the computing professions.  In Elmwood Jail where I lead an Education for Ministry seminar each week, men and women are separate and there are 42% Latino and 29% Black. I feel like I live in two worlds. What can we do to reach out, to bring this divided community together?”

When Bishop Michael answered “You are doing it.  Keep going.”  I heard that the answer lay in outreach ministries like mine – and in telling people about that work. Individuals with a foot on both sides can connect a community.

It is a good but a little scary to have an experimental program succeed so well.  I have been thinking a great deal about what Bishop Michael said – and about what to do next.  The Episcopal Diocese of El Camino RealSaint Andrew’s Episcopal ChurchCIC, and EfM have strongly backed our jail-based seminar during the last year.  My first step was to talk with the CIC Chaplain for Elmwood, and then with the EfM program at the University of the South – School of Theology, about starting an additional class at Elmwood.  They support expanding the program.  Now to find more funding!

Canon Stephanie Spellers, Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Salinas, 7 Jan 2017

Canon Stephanie Spellers, Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Salinas, 7 Jan 2017

Canon Stephanie Spellers, Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Salinas, 7 Jan 2017

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Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson and Elrond Lawrence

 

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Being the Only Woman in the Room

TAB, Sun Microsystems Technology Advisory Board, Greg Papadopoulos, Steve Ward, Ivan Sutherland, Danny Hillis, Dave Patterson, Mike Splain, June 2008

This week I met the Rev. Liz Milner, new CIC Chaplain for Elmwood Jail where I hold a weekly Education for Ministry (EfM) seminar in a men’s medium-security dorm. During this introductory conversation, I mentioned to Liz that I was comfortable working as the EfM Mentor in a men’s facility. After so long working as an executive in Silicon Valley technical companies, I would have to be comfortable being the only woman in the room!  NCWIT reports that only 25% of US professional computing jobs are held by women, with numbers much lower at senior levels.

For decades I designed and managed programs for Sun Microsystems such as the TAB – Technology Advisory Board, pictured above. It was an honor to work with world-class innovators and leaders like Ivan Sutherland, Greg Papadopoulos, and Danny Hillis, but with very few exceptions, they were all male.

Women in technology meet each other at conferences, like the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (over 15,000 attended in 2016 – about 90% of whom were women), or in professional programs like TechWomen or Technovation.  We keep aware of our accomplishments as a group by means of projects like the Notable Technical Women cards and posters, and by awards such as Women of Vision. Women geeks are often the only female in the room – but there are many rooms!

EfM at Elmwood Jail, Katy Dickinson, Patrick Ryan, 4 inmates, Milpitas CA, Aug 2016

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Images Copyright 2008-2016 by Katy Dickinson

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Honoring Jail Ministry

Katy Dickinson's Simple Servant-efm-elmwood Jail Award, 4 Nov 2016

Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves honored dozens of jail and prison ministry volunteers last month, among them, myself. Since 2007 Bishop Mary has served as the third bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real (ECR) in California. Since 2015, she has also been the Vice President of the House of Bishops. Some years ago, Bishop Mary created the Simple Servant Award to honor those working as faithful ministers in the community.

I was out of town – in Sewanee, Tennessee, renewing my Education for Ministry Mentor Accreditation, and being trained as the Diocesan Coordinator for EfM – so I missed the Simple Servant presentation at the ECR annual convention on 4 November 2016. However, my husband John Plocher helped Bishop Mary prepare her presentation slides, so I was able to contribute photos and information in advance.  The Reverend Peggy Bryan worked with two of my student inmates on the artwork for the certificate.

Jack Fanning and I received our certificates the following week.  Jack helped me to start the first EfM program at Elmwood Correctional Facility (Milpitas, California).  There are about 25 EfM seminars in prisons in the USA but ours seems to be the first class in a county jail. We just started our second EfM term inside Elmwood. Our seminar includes have six men in Year-1 plus four continuing to Year-2.  Thanks to the University of the South, The Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real, CIC Ministries, and Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church for their joint and generous support of this program!

If you are interested in volunteering in a Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley) jail, please contact the Correctional Institutions Chaplaincy (CIC).

Katy Dickinson and Jack Fanning with Simple Servant Awards, 13 Nov 2016

Two photos taken by Elrond Lawrence of the 4 November 2016 presentation in Salinas:

Simple Servant Award by the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real, 4 Nov 2016 - photo by Elrond Lawrence

Simple Servant Award by the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real, 4 Nov 2016 - photo by Elrond Lawrence

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Top Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson, 2 Lowest Images Copyright 2016 by Elrond Lawrence

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TechWomen 2016 Fellows – Next Steps

12 Certified Mentors TechWomen 2016 Fellows

The 90 TechWomen 2016 Fellows returned to their 19 countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. After a very busy month in the San Francisco Bay Area and a week in Washington DC, they have been been reconnecting with home and family. Some of us mentors in the Silicon Valley have continued working remotely with our mentees since we last saw them in Washington DC.  Two groups with whom I have actively continued to work are Team Tunisia (the development group of six from Tunis, plus three TechWomen mentors), and the TechWomen 2016 Fellows who have become Certified Mentors with my company, Mentoring Standard.

Team Tunisia has met remotely twice already and is busily developing plans, branding, and social media for WAKTECH. WAKTECH will developing a software application plus community system to improve public transport in Tunis. Our team won one of the TechWomen Pitch Day seed grants last month and we are  now looking for additional sources of funding and support. While we were in Washington DC, Team Tunisia was able to meet His Excellency Fayçal Gouia, Tunisia’s Ambassador to the United States. We brought along our TechWomen trophy to show him!

12 TechWomen 2016 Fellows have completed the submissions required to become Certified Mentors after returning home.  They have demonstrated that they hold the following three qualities:

  1. Significant Mentoring History.
  2. Good Reputation.
  3. Respectable Professional Experience.

Congratulations and welcome to:

Engy Abdalla Architect & Interior Designer, TechWomen 2016 Fellow Alexandria, Egypt
Yousra Anwar Abdelhady Independent Trainer, TechWomen 2016 Fellow Alexandria, Egypt
Chioma Hannah Ezedi Programmer, Abububakar Tafawa Balewa University, TechWomen 2016 Fellow Bauchi, Nigeria
Yelena Filipchik Sales Intelligence Manager, PepsiCo, TechWomen 2016 Fellow Almaty, Kazakhstan
Habsatou Nadia Project Engineer, Cameroon Telecommunication, TechWomen 2016 Fellow Yaounde, Cameroon
Kitio Tsamo Arielle Founder: WIT, Computer Science Lecturer Assistant: University of Yaounde 1, TechWomen 2016 Fellow Yaounde, Cameroon
Diana Hasan Nassar Product Manager: souq.com, TechWomen 2016 Fellow Amman, Jordan
Estelle Ndedi-Nzalli Computer Sciences Engineer, Information Technology Department,
Ingenieris, TechWomen 2016 Fellow
Yaounde, Cameroon
Dr. Francisca Onaolapo Oladipo Professor, Federal University Lokoja, TechWomen 2016 Fellow Lokoja, Kogi State, Nigeria
Gulshnar Salpykova IT Specialist, Transtelecom JSC, TechWomen 2016 Fellow Astana, Kazakhstan
Yomna Emad Saleh Business & Innovation Consultant: Innovety, TechWomen 2016 Fellow Cairo, Egypt
Nazira Sheraly CEO, Agroholding Jashyl Charba, TechWomen 2016 Fellow Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic

I am very proud of all of them!  More information about each of these remarkable mentors is on Mentoring Standard’s Honor Roll.

TechWomen at the Smithsonian, Washington DC, October 2016

TechWomen Team Tunisia WAKTECH Washington DC, 14 October 2016

His Excellency Fayçal Gouia with TechWomen Team Tunisia at Ambassador's Reception, Washington DC, October 2016

12 Certified Mentors TechWomen 2016 Fellows

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Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

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Advising 6 TechWomen from Tunisia

TechWomen 2016 Tunisia Impact Advisory Group at Pitch Day 7 Oct 2016

Since August 2016, I have been honored to be one of three Impact Advisors to the six TechWomen Emerging Leaders from Tunisia. We started meeting while the ELs were still in Tunis and we have continued our discussions at least weekly since. Mercedes Soria (Vice President of Software Engineering, Knightscope), Fatema Kothari (Senior Consultant,
T-Mobile), and I have had a wonderful time working on this.

On 7 October, the ladies presented our plan for WAKTECH at the TechWomen Pitch Day hosted by Oracle here in the Silicon Valley. This is the Executive Summary for WAKTECH, from our Action Plan:

The biggest public transport issue in Tunis is delay. Bus and metro schedules are confusing and unreliable. What makes this issue worse is the lack of total absence of online and offline information about these delays. Users are deprived from real time information about it. WAKTECH will be the first mobile platform to centralize the information about public transportation in Tunisia. It will provide all the needed information about traffic, schedule and transit itinerary. The particularity of this application resides in the community of trusted users who will be its main source of data.

We will be building an application that enables users to share information about public transit like departure and arrival times or possible incidents. Based on that data, the users can access at any moment that information to schedule their trip, be on time, and save money. Using WAKTECH will help create the smart Tunis everyone is dreaming of where technology serves the citizens to manage their time effectively and create a community of responsible users.

Our Tunisia team was one of 19 that presented – one from each of the TechWomen countries. I was so proud of their poised and professional presentation! Tonight at the TechWomen Community Celebration in San Francisco we will hear the results of the pitch judging – only five teams will win one of the cash prizes. There were many superb presentations and inspiring projects proposed for Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Wish us luck!

TechWomen Barbara Williams and Katy Dickinson 7 Oct 2016

TechWomen Stay Fearless - by Fatema Kothari

Tunisia 2016 TechWomen waiting to pitch 7 Oct 2016

Mentoring Standard Conducktors for Tunisia 2016 TechWomen

TechWomen 2016 Tunisia WAKTECH presentation at Pitch Day 7 Oct 2016

Crows at Oracle, Redwood Shores CA

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Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

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Caboose and Cactus Arroyo

WP668 caboose and cactus arroyo, June 2016

My office replaced a swimming pool. WP668 is the 100-year-old railroad caboose in San Jose, California (“the Capital of the Silicon Valley“) where I work for Mentoring Standard.  Above is WP668 in our backyard now, and below is what the same space looked like in the year 2000.  The swimming pool was removed ten years ago – see more photos on the WP668 webpage.

family in the swimming pool in 2000

I designed the landscape setting for WP668 based on large rocks and cactuses, including a Y-shaped arroyo (or dry creek) that is small enough to be called an arroyito.  Like the bones of California, our arroyito is largely made up of granite, basalt, limestone, and quartz, with jasper, serpentine, sandstone, conglomerates, and other stones for variety.  We bought two large boulders from South Bay Materials but the other rocks were adopted as individuals.  Every time we go on vacation or a road trip, we come home with new garden rocks, so the arroyito becomes more solid and complex year-by-year.  My family complains when they have to ride home from a trip with their feet on top of the latest stones headed for the arroyito but they still help me stuff rocks into the car.

WP668 caboose and cactus arroyo, July 2016

WP668 caboose and cactus arroyo, July 2016

WP668 caboose and cactus arroyo, July 2016

WP668 caboose and cactus arroyo, July 2016

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Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

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Bishop Mary Visits Jail

Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, Deacon Robert Seifert at Elmwood Jail, Milpitas CA, 12 June 2016

Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves and Deacon Robert Seifert spent the afternoon at Elmwood Jail yesterday with the Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church jail ministry team, lead by the Reverend Peggy Bryan. In addition to the St. Andrew’s volunteers, Elmwood Chaplain Jennifer Bales went with us yesterday to two dorms. The first was a minimum security area holding about fifty inmates where St. Andrew’s offers Christian worship service every Sunday afternoon. The second area was a medium security dorm where I teach a Education for Ministry (EfM) seminar every Wednesday night. EfM is a University of the South – School of Theology extension program.

In thanks for her support – both financially in paying for half the cost of their EfM books and tuition, and spiritually with her prayers – the inmates signed a printout of our group-written “Collect for Week 14” as a gift for Bishop Mary. “Collect” is another word for prayer.  We wrote this collect as part of our 1 June theological reflection exercise in class.  The text is:

Collect for Week 14

Dear God, omnipotent in heaven, creator, Love, and perfect.

You watch over the oppressed, create people in perfection, never leave us alone, bring joy, and protect your creation.

We pray that you give us freedom, protection, wisdom, and guidance. Increase our faith, give us knowledge to know you better.
So that we are in heaven with you.

We praise your Holy Name. We keep our eyes on the prize: getting into heaven and gaining eternal life.

Amen.

My goal in asking Bishop Mary to visit was that the inmates would know that whether they are released soon or spend the rest of their lives in prison, they are valued human beings and part of a faith community who are praying for them.  Many if not most of the Elmwood inmates are recovering (or not) from substance abuse, or are mentally ill.  “Of the 3,600 inmates at the Main Jail and Elmwood in Milpitas, 43 percent suffer from a mental illness” officials reported in September 2015.  Many of the 120 recommendations by the Blue Ribbon Commission for improved jail operations are with regard to Mental Health services. Even for the healthy, jail is a depressing place.  Knowing that they are important to someone is a step forward.

If you are interested in volunteering to visit jail in Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley), California, please contact the Correctional Institutions Chaplaincy (CIC).

Elmwood Jail Education for Ministry Collect June 2016

Elmwood Jail Milpitas CA March 2016

Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

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