A sparkling start to 2013!
Colleen Burns 120000C4RP firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  femke_goedhart connect nerdgirls ibmconnect
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With the holidays looming and everyone looking back at 2012, as well as looking forward to 2013 - it’s no wonder some of us are already thinking of IBM Connect 2013. It's only a few weeks from now. A year flies by and lots of things happen. Things that sadden us, but also things that make us smile, or inspire us to do something new and exciting. Things that spark us!
Starting a few years back a group of active women in the IBM collaboration solutions community came together and started NerdGirls. A network of women working or related to the IBM collaboration solutions community. Not as an ‘exclusive’ group but as a network for anyone who wanted to talk about the challenges facing women in technical fields. That network, over time, has grown and started organizing networking events and sessions at local user groups as well as at Lotusphere / IBM Connect. One of them is the “Sparks session”, started at least year’s Lotussphere and replicated at user group’s around the world. Sparks is an hour dedicated to sharing the inspirational, uplifting and often funny stories of women and men (!) in the community that make them who they are or made them overcome a challenge. Short 5-6 minute sessions in which someone shares their ‘spark’ moment. Ranging from how Social Media helped them through a rough period when a spouse fell sick with cancer - to how to turn a love for a hobby into a profession - to how duct tape saved the day while uprooting your whole family and taking them to a Caribbean island to build a new life… Amazing and often funny stories from real life that can inspire us all.
So this year, when you head over to Orlando for IBM Connect and to see all the people you’ve been Tweeting and Facebooking, Sametiming and Skyping or simply mailing with, take some time to go see the Sparks session. It’s a great way to get some new ideas and inspirations and to get to know people from another angle. Better yet, perhaps you yourself have one of these stories to tell. If so then please let us know! It’s not about how big or important your story is, it’s about how inspirational it can be to someone else and that really doesn’t have to include taming wild elephants or climbing Mount Everest (sometimes climbing the hill behind your house will do to). Just tell us what your inspiration was, what made you spark and smile because those are the best stories to tell.
Curious?!? Go check out some of our previous NerdGirl Spark speakers on youtube and you will see what I mean. This is one session you don’t want to miss!
For more information on the Sparks session or becoming a Spark speaker please go to the NerdGirls blog. Other events organized at IBM Connect 2013 like the Great Geek Challenge are also listed on the NerdGirls blog. Want to be involved otherwise? We can always use help so just contact us!
Femke Goedhart is a Business Consultant for Silverside, an IBM Premier Business Partner from The Netherlands. She specializes in document management, collaboration and social business; she is an avid blogger, and a speaker at several events including NLLUG, LCTY, and Lotusphere. Femke is actively involved in the online community and was recently honored as an IBM Champion. She is also a published IBM Redbooks author and is a contagious enthusiast about all things social.