Thursday, February 25, 2016

2/24/16- I Heart Conference!

I'm feeling a little behind this week because of travel for the conference, and staying home with Jack on Monday.  Poor kid keeps getting sinus colds thanks to pollen counts being really high in Phoenix, teething, and the pass the cold "potato" at daycare.  I took him to the doctor, who said he is finally old enough to have a teaspoon of Children's Benadryl at night, and it's worked very well in drying out/draining those sinuses.  He's doing well today (if not a little sleepy, as he got up an hour earlier because of hunger/wanting breakfast).  So yay!  Parent level "sick kid is better" achieved!

Prior to Jack's sinus cold and staying home with him, I got to attend a conference in Seattle.  I love going to conferences!  Particularly this conference, as it is an annual conference for women engineers.  I love that I get to connect with other women engineers.  It's very uplifting and inspiring. I get to see old friends, meet new people, learn about interesting leadership techniques and innovative technologies, eat yummy food, see a different city, and hear cool people speak.  It's the ultimate "girls weekend" for me.

I only remembered to take one picture the  whole time! Oops!

So to keep this post short (I think I could write 2 pages easily on this topic), I'm going to bullet point some of my favorite highlights from this conference.  Plus, who doesn't love a good list? (Okay, I'm sure someone hates list, Debbie Downer).

  • I got to spend one on one time with one of my bestie's in the industry.
  • Another dear friend won an award for Outstanding Engineer at the conference (congrats, woo)!!!
  • Favorite presentation was by Jet City Improv (from Seattle) about using Improv techniques in the business world. Most notable for me was how to really listen (scene players in Improv need to listen to each to build on the scene) and how to use "yes, and" to generate new ideas/trouble shot a problem. Learning can be fun-- highly recommend you do Jet City if you get the chance at a conference/training through work/local society chapter meeting/etc.  
  • I also enjoyed the presentation on Introverts and Extroverts. Good to great managers use people's personalities to help their employees maximize their potential, but it can be hard to remember their Myer Briggs, DiSC, etc score.  On a day to day basis, thinking about Introvert and Extrovert is a little easier. (FYI, it's not about being shy vs. outgoing, it's more in how someone thinks, which for an Introvert is gathering data/internal/really thinking it over vs.the Extrovert method of quick/confident/external).
  • Karen Bradford, Chief of Staff for the Office of the Center Director at NASA Ames Research Center, gave an awesome keynote on Explore, Engage, and Empower.  I enjoyed her back story and her humor.  She is a great speaker.
  • I took the Seattle Underground Tour for a second time as part of the conference's welcoming reception; always fun, especially with my engineering friends (the tour guides are always funny with quick wit, and the engineers were able to dish it back, haha).
  • It was actually sunny in Seattle for a whole day, which made sipping coffee by the pier nice! And I had less joint swelling than anticipated.  
  • Eating fresh seafood, no need to say more.
  • I revisited the original Starbucks, which is like sacred ground to me now that I need that extra caffeine boost everyday to kick some shark fin. Before child I never went to Starbucks and rarely drank coffee/tea on a daily basis. Oh how times have changed (sipping some tea right now).   
  • It was fun getting to show my friend Pike's Market and the original Starbucks because she's always the one that knows more travel-wise. 
  • I received EOS lip balm as part of the free industry swagg. I think EOS is the bomb/balm, get it?  No? Yeah, wait for the lame "dad" jokes in later posts. 
  • Stayed at what I thought was a nice hotel, right on the water front, called Edgewater.  Dude, there were gas fireplaces in each room.  
  • I meet a fellow engineer/writer (she's also a swim/yoga instructor). She's writing a romance novel with a female engineer as the lead.  Can't wait to read it!
  • I also utilized the 3 hour fight to write: progress!  Woo!
I did of course miss my husband and Jack, but it was a little less harder leaving for this conference as it was my 3rd conference after having Jack.  The first conference I attended postnatal was about 8 weeks after Jack was born. I packed up my pump and storage bags, and the conference had a lovely nursing/new mother's room, so nursing while attending the conference was a non-issue.  The issue (for me) was serve separation anxiety from my sweet baby (what was I thinking kept going through my head).  Attending was my choice after all (my work wasn't even sponsoring me/making me attend), but I still cried every night at the conference.

Part of me still thinks I'm crazy for leaving my newborn, but most of the time I'm glad I went.  Going to that conference helped me realize that I can do this career/parenting/life integration thing, it helped me personally reestablish my pre-mom identity (which I think helped me prevent postpartum depression), and that my husband really is 50/50 in our duties as parents.  My confidence in my partner to be parent that shark out Jack this weekend made it that much easier to get on the plane. And you can see from above how much fun I had.  

So in summary, conferences are usually the best, and if you get an opportunity to go to an engineering, parent (not teacher/parent for your child, but like the Bump or Parent Magazine is having a conference), writer, food, etc, go, go, go!  I'm hoping my next one will be a writing conference in LA this October.  I'm thinking hubby and Jack will come, and we'll hit up one of the big amusement parks in Southern California.  It'd  be fun. Can't wait!  


  1. So happy everyone is doing well with you enjoying your career and family both! I didn't know Seattle had an Underground (like Atlanta with passages?), but I suppose a lot of cities have one, eh?

  2. Yes, Seattle has passages/tunnel underneath just like a lot of other cities (we probably all think the most creepy is Paris's catacombs, human remains creepy, right?). They technically had built buildings before roads, and then built walls blocking the first floor of those buildings, filled in land and built roads. Here's more info: