My job is to introduce you to modern women leaving their unique stains on the world. Yes, some might say color the world, but that always feels somewhat pithy to me. Stains are what you get when you’re out there taking action - sometimes the gritty, messy kind.
Semantics aside, I have the pleasure of connecting with Kishau Rogers this week. Kishau has been an active (and awarded) practitioner, contributor, and business leader in the computer science and information technology industry for over 23 years. Her mission is to develop impactful, innovative solutions to complex problems and gnarly business challenges. She does all of this as the founder & CEO of Websmith, Inc.
Kishau has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, NFIB, JavaWorld, and other national publications. She is fiercely committed to STEM and using tech for social good. To further both of those aims, Kishau actively serves on advisory boards with institutions such as VCU School of Engineering, Think of Us and WAAW Foundation. She is also recent recipient of the NAWBO Wells Fargo STEM Award and the Lyn McDermid Community Impact Award. [Swoon.]
Admittedly, I’m fangirling over Kishau a bit, but did manage to pull it together. When she uttered the words “making thinking sexy again,” I practically vibrated with excitement, gratitude and inspiration. We talked in depth about bringing critical thinking back. We also geeked out on machine learning, internal expectations, hating mediocrity, burning out, the complexity of hustle + push and how she turned it around, plus the power of knowing when to quit.
This episode is Inspiring (yes, with a capital I) and empowering for all you frazzled femmes out there. Bust out your smartphones, and start listening already.
Selected link love + resources from the episode
Elizabeth Street Cafe in Austin, Texas
Thank you to past guest Minda Harts. By connecting with Minda on Twitter, I’m meeting amazing women like Kishau. #grateful
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Quotes + selected highlights from the episode
All of this wisdom is from Kishau herself (with some minor edits for readability).
[00:08:45] I'm the person most likely to take the fun out of Lego building. I really thrive on order.
[00:21:12] We get caught on this expectation that we have to do certain things.
[00:21:39] Sometimes, the solutions to things don't involve technology. It's like a curse word to say that to people who are in tech. They look at you like you're crazy.
[00:23:29] That whole internal dialogue where you are being so aggressive with yourself when you're not meeting an expectation is dangerous. I think that leads to burnout and a host of other issues. It says a lot about how we think about work.
[00:24:01] Someone once told me, “You need to learn how to embrace your mediocrity.” When they said it, my knee-jerk internal reaction was, “Are you calling me average?” I've had this conversation in my head like, “Does this person think that I'm average? Because I try all day to not to be average.”.
[00:26:51] Burn out for me was like a cycle. Every 5-7 years, I would just crash and burn.
[00:28:51] I had so many health issues insomnia. I started my company as a way to escape because I was struggling so much.
[00:30:12] What I learned over the years in business is that you really have to connect to your why.
[00:30:49] Over time, I learned that you can't just step back and leave the situation. You have to really sit and figure out how you got in that situation and make adjustments.
[00:32:33] Honestly, isolation is the enemy.
[00:57:40] You decide whether or not it's working. If it's not, you can make a shift or an adjustment to make it work better, or you can just stop doing it.
[00:57:50] If it's a thing that keeps you up at night or when people call and e-mail, you hate their e-mails, and you don't want to see their name on your phone, I think with that’s an easy decision: I shouldn't be doing this.
[01:12:41] Honestly, I learned how to ask for help because I have experienced burnout to the point that I just could not not ask for help, I lost the ability to function.
[01:12:55] One of the things with Type-A personalities is sometimes that whole persona we take on, how we wear it like our favorite coat. Sometimes, people also buy into it because you really create a persona that does not need to be helped. You surround yourself with people that don't know how to help you because you're the person that they call for help.
[01:13:42] I just started talking a little bit more about what it was I'm thinking about and experiencing in the areas that need support, so that people understand that I'm not some robotic person.
[01:21:38] Meeting up with someone to do happy hour - to talk and laugh - is something that we don't value as much as we used to because we are so focused on world domination that laughter is not in that group. There's no laughter in world domination.
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