Tag Archives: XX

2014: My Year of Transitions

I hate change – and transitions.  And in 2014 I’ve had a boatload of them.  When I look at 20142014, I think it may be the year I learned to be more comfortable with change.  Let’s see what changed in my life this year:

In January, I left Dell after 8 years and in March I joined Infinio.  We sold one of our cars and I began commuting by MBTA.  In June, mrDiva and I jumped at the chance to buy our dream home next door to our former home, securing our ability to stay in our wonderful neighborhood.  Our summer was about renovations and moving, then mrDiva resumed his travel schedule to the West Coast while I absorbed lots of change at work as I learned how dynamic being at a startup really is.

If you don’t know me in real life (or you don’t this part of me) it’s hard to express exactly how much I hate change.  I recently got a tablet to replace my 5-year old Dell laptop and I hate it.  I don’t actually hate it, but I hate learning how to use it.  I felt like this when I got a MacBook Air for work.  You know, the world’s favorite laptop.  I just hate change.  So to change jobs, homes, and routine in one year – that is a lot for me.

And oh yeah, all the while, babyDiva went from toddling and babbling to running and speaking in full sentences, as almost-two-year-olds are wont to do.

Truly, I think it is being her mom that has contributed the most to my being comfortable with change.  Being a parent has been just a major lesson in dealing with uncertainty – not just the daily uncertainties of “will she like ziti on tuesday” and “does she want the stuffed dog in her crib tonight” but Big Uncertainties like “am I teaching her to be confident” and “will she grow up to be happy and healthy.”  You know, the things that you have no control over.

Being a parent has also been a great lesson in transitions – first off, my kid is great with transitions.  One classroom to another at school – no sweat.  New house – no sweat.  Mom travels one week, Dad the next – no sweat.  She just adjusts very well to things.  But she is also constantly changing – babbling to words to sentences seemingly overnight.  Rolling over to toddling to walking to running.  Acquiring new words at a daily clip.  New gross motor skills; new fine motor skills – it’s like coming home to a different kid every few days.

People talk about how being a parent is great for being a professional, but that’s usually about multitasking.  I was already a great multi-tasker.  Being a parent is great for my being a professional because it’s made me more comfortable with change, with uncertainty, and with transitions.

And it is a great thing to be good at transitions…..because (spoiler alert) in May of 2015, we will excitedly welcome miniDiva (or miniDivo) to our growing family.

I’m thrilled with how 2014 turned out and the positive changes for my family.  I’ve worked hard, learned a lot, taken a lot of risks, and ended up in a happier place.  I can only hope for more of the same in 2015.

Happy New Year to all.


This week, Facebook and Apple announced that they were going to reimburse female workers eggfor the costs of cryogenically freezing their eggs in case they want to delay pregnancy. Apparently (no pun intended) Google is also considering it.

The media has been abuzz with whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.  My jury is out.

On one hand, in a post-Hobby Lobby world, bravo to major tech firms for recognizing that women’s health issues are just that: women’s health issues. If insurance plans cover things like gastric bypass, Viagra, and contact lenses, then things like fertility should fall into this camp too.  And if traditional insurance companies aren’t covering it, then good for large employers for doing it.

Also – part of me is hopeful that is a sign of some movement towards far better recognition that while men and women may have equal things to contribute at work, their contributions to child creation just aren’t the same (chicken vs. pig?), and that has be addressed.  I yearn for a world with far better universal support for maternity leave, breastfeeding, and childcare, all in the name of women being able to reach their potential more easily at work.  If that means helping women get pregnant when they want to, then employers should be supporting both IVF and egg freezing.

And for some women it may take what is often a awful distraction of the treadmill of meeting-The-One-falling-in-love-and-getting-pregnant-before-35.  Some people are looking for a partner for companionship and to build a life together, but for many that is inextricably tied to fertility. The flexibility that someone might feel from no longer having that pressure may be a lifted burden.

But the other side is scary.  Mobile phones used to be the exception and now they are the norm.  Will egg-freezing become a de facto standard for working women?  Will we ever get to the point where women are asked (or tacitly expected) to delay pregnancy until it’s good for their employer?  It is hard to feel like there is a “right time” even without freezing eggs.

And what is the actual impact on maternal and fetal health – there aren’t conclusive studies on the efficacy of long-term egg cryogenics on fertility.  And there are lots of studies on maternal age impacting all sorts of health concerns (like diabetes and high blood pressure), not just fertility.  Certainly every decision has tradeoffs and any number of factors may mean that having a baby at 40 is a far better decision for someone than having that baby at 30.  But is this encouraging women towards a medical decision whose impact on both mother and child we don’t actually understand yet?  

The calculus of when to have children vis a vis also having a career is wicked complicated. Prime fertility and the resultant childrearing occurs during prime career-building years.  As an industry (a society?) we have to work out how to make this better.

I just can’t tell whether this move by large companies is helping or hurting families decide how to balance it all.

Leaning in – one year later

Empty boardroom (flickr reynormedia)On the second Friday of every month I have lunch with an amazing group of women.

We met a year ago right after Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In came out, when someone posted to a popular Boston mom’s email group to gather a group of women together to meet and discuss the book.  About 30 of us attended that, and our lunch group was born.

We have distilled into a group of 14, about 8 of whom make it to lunch each month.  Among us, we have women who work in engineering, medicine, real estate, law, marketing, consulting, startups, finance, and HR.  All of us are professionals, many with advanced degrees.  We all live in the greater Boston area.  And we are all moms.

It is one of the things I most look forward to each month.

At this point, one year in, we know a lot about each other.  Each person’s life is a continuing story that we get a monthly snapshot of – we remember month to month about people’s husbands, their bosses, and their aspirations.  In this year, a few of us have changed jobs.  A few have had a baby or gotten pregnant.  A few have dropped out.

Each month we have a topic or theme – sometimes a guest speaker or a book we all read.  But the best part of our lunches is the sharing and the problem-solving.  Commonly, we bring our work issues into lunch – she’s taking on more at work without a raise or promotion, she has a hapless boss who used to be a peer, the business she’s trying to get off the ground.

We share and critique and sympathize and celebrate.  We encourage.  We listen.  We occasionally mention Sheryl Sandberg, but increasingly less as time goes on.

I’ve heard some great stories this year from these women – the woman who flew across the country to get the meeting with the person who can give her the raise she deserves, the woman who found a perfect sabbatical opportunity right when she was at her wits’ end, the woman whose business partner moved to Scandinavia right on the cusp of their success.

We’re a Greek chorus of opinion, too.  “You have to ask for more” “No guy would take that on without more salary” “Sheryl Sandberg would NOT approve of that” “You have to stop going to those meetings.”  We encourage each other in ways we don’t encourage ourselves individually.  It’s success by peer pressure.

And sometimes we also talk about our kids.  Or our preschools, our nannies, our au pairs, our mothers, and our husbands.  And we share and encourage and celebrate those things also.  But the fact that we’re moms is more implicit in our discussion than explicit.  “I had to get my daughter so I didn’t get to confront that coworker until the next day” is the norm.

I’m not sure why this groups works so well or feels so good.  It’s a pretty random – albeit self-selecting – group of women.  We have no real guidelines, just self-leadership.

I’m grateful to be a part of it.


I’m glad you found yourself here.

You may know me (and some of this) from Twitter, but to level-set: At the end of January, I left my job in solutions marketing at Dell after 7 years.

kendallAfter a short hiatus, I joined Infinio Systems – a software startup in Kendall Square – as Director of Product Marketing.  There is so much to digest and learn, and there’s no way to share the experience in 140 character chunks.  So here I am in the blogosphere.

So why name my blog “storageDiva’s Tablespace”?  Two reasons:

A tablespace is the abstraction layer in a database that sits between the logic of the database and the physical datafiles it contains.  Basically, you group several tables and indices together and while they are physically stored in datafiles, the collection of them (regardless of physical location) is a tablespace.

I like the metaphor of this blog being a tablespace of interrelated tables, because I plan to share all sorts of interrelated ideas about my experiences in technology, marketing, and life at a startup.  Here’s a swag at what I think the “tables” would be called: 

  • LEARNING: My education around caching, performance, and all things Infinio
  • CUSTOMERS: What I learn from our customers and our not-customers
  • TECH: Thoughts and ideas about our product and the industry at large
  • MARKETING: How product marketing is changing in the Internet/Social Era
  • STARTUP: Life at a startup, especially after coming from a big company
  • XX: What it’s like to be a woman working in technology
  • HOME: Balancing my work life with my daughter(“babyDiva”) and spouse (“mrDiva”, also at a startup)

I said there were two reasons for the blog being called “storageDiva’s Tablespace.”  The second reason comes from Sheryl Sandberg.  In her book and TED talk she relates a story of being at a meeting and notices that the young women are sitting on the periphery of the room while the men all sit at the table.  She urges the women (and the reader/watcher) to claim a seat at the table (not behind it) to ensure their voice is heard.

The phrase “table space” is a reminder to myself that I have gotten where I am by always claiming my space at the table, long before the other Sheryl made it trendy.

I hope you’ll stick around.