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Monday, 15 May 2017 13:54

Wonder Women in Technology - 'Never tell me I can't!'

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I was thrilled to be asked to deliver an ‘Ignite’ presentation at this event at the Ministry Of Justice building in Westminster.

An Ignite presentation was a first for me.

I have been a keynote presenter for 7 years and had never heard of an Ignite presentation. After some research I discovered Ignite is a series of moving slides 15 seconds per slide and for this particular event I was asked to put together 20 slides - the shortest presentation I have ever been asked to provide and in a format I am not familiar with but hey, I am not afraid of a challenge!

After setting up my presentation and manually going through them I could not find any clue as to how to get the slides to slide every 15 seconds - thank goodness for my technical friends on social media and to the truly inspiring Lisa Mae for guiding me through the set up - another string to my bow.

My title was ‘They told me I couldn’t’ - all too often I’ve heard that!

I planned to inspire and motivate other ladies using my journey touching on where I am at, what I do now and my hopes and dreams for the future. 

For my day in London I was using my cane.  After a stressful journey in I was delighted to find a coffee machine soon after check in. 

Lisa Mae the organiser and ultimate ‘Wonder Women” welcomed me with open arms, literally, can’t beat a good hug for calming the nerves and anxiety!  I immediately felt comfortable and happy to be a part of such a warm and optimistic gathering. 

I arrived in the morning for breakfast then sat through a morning of back to back presentations which I found inspiring, interesting and exhausting.  After the first few keynotes I tried to focus on the speakers, closing my damaged eyes and making full use of my brand new GN Resound Linx3D,  rather than straining trying to read the slides - the layouts, colours, contrasts and sizes varied dramatically and for me were an accessibility nightmare.

I would have benefitted from some ‘eye breaks’  these, however are not something offered outside of the deafblind, blind or deaf communities but I believe would be good for everybody.  As a result I felt very tired by lunch time and before my presentation!  I did however understand they were running behind and wanted to fit everybody in.

Each presentation had both inspirational and motivating content, it was really encouraging to have women and men from all backgrounds from all over the world attending and being a part of the event, I learnt a lot that day. 

All of us different however all one thing in common, the passion and commitment to succeed.

A couple of the speakers spoke of their work in LA, it made me remember the presentations and meetings I have had in the US, I love America.  My speaking opportunities there at Harvard Medical School when I was 18 years old , a tQcon San Francisco, one of the biggest software conferences in the world and at Apple's HQ in Cupertino as part of my journey so far.

It also reminded me that I want to continue speaking about the importance of accessibility and inclusion for all using mainstream digital technologies.  I am determined that my hard work will make a difference.  Also along the way I want to continue to meet more inspirational people.

My presentation as expected - was short and I was a little disappointed with myself. Though I had rehearsed it and tried to squeeze everything in I felt I had so much more to I wanted to say. 

I was really pleased to receive questions as it enabled me to expand on things a little further.  My journey is far more than a condition, I have developed some really useful skills in accessibility and digital, skills that have enabled me to set up a charity (non profit) and my own consultancy business. 

I was disappointed to have to leave soon after my presentation but delighted so many people from the event have since contacted me direct.

Lastly a big thank you and congratulations to Lisa Mae on such a fantastic first Wonder Women in Tech London, hope to see you all next year.

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