22 terrific takeaways from Dana Lawson

By balki | January 5, 2017 | 0 Comment

Dan Lawson

NOTE: I originally wrote this article for LinkedIn back in October 2016.

Last Wednesday night, we had Dana Lawson as our special guest at the I want to work for _ _ _ _ _ _ _ meet up. One attendee described Dana’s awesome personality like this: “I have never smiled and felt so good about being at a meetup. Dana’s authenticity is clear in everything she said” We had a great turnout as usual and I feel like that everyone was engaged at one point or another. This speaks volumes about the special guests we choose, especially leaders like Dana.

As you all know, the best part for me is the last section of the meetup: when each attendee shares 1 specific takeaway they learned from Dana (or someone else in the audience). I thoroughly enjoy how the collective wisdom (in this case acquired in real-time) is so much more powerful than figuring things on my own.

Here’s that list of 22 takeaways that you all shared at the end of the meetup:

  1. I can build my “personal brand” by doing things my company needs anyways – no need to go out of my way to write a blog or run a meetup
  2. I learned that millennials are the largest group in the workforce (only after the boomers)
  3. (As a junior dev) I realized that networking is equally important as building skills
  4. I learned that choosing a mentor for building the right skills and paving a career path is quite important
  5. I learned how within the software eco-system, there is big differences in companies that consume and create solutions, especially SaaS companies.
  6. I thought of a few more things that constitute my personal portfolio showcase : creating online solutions, revamping my github profile, contributing to open source projects
  7. I got a fast-track education in the power of scale via automating cloud infrastructure
  8. I plan to explore social media for career growth
  9. I changed my whole perspective of what leadership means (based on Dana’s own philosophy): it is all about mentoring, and being there NOT directing people around.
  10. I learned that building my personal brand (portfolio) could help me gain confidence during interviews
  11. I understood that transparency is a key ingredient when building cohesive teams
  12. I will build my personal elevator pitch tonight!
  13. I realized that it is OK to do all the things in my journey towards a software engineer career: programming, networking, infrastructure
  14. I heard the equivocation between baby-boomers and millennials : I am going to dig deeper into that!
  15. Hearing about the subtle differences between diversity and affinity-bias was a revelation for me
  16. I now know that Site Reliability (SRE) is everybody’s business so I will take that philosophy back to work tomorrow
  17. I am confident that I don’t need to be a “nerd” to fit in a software company and that I can still pursue a career there
  18. I learned that it is OK for me to be “agile” with my career, to pursue unrelated things as they pick my interest
  19. I am sure Dana could carve a successful career as a comedian 🙂
  20. I garnered enough confidence to punch above my weight class… go after things that I may not be ready for
  21. I understood that if the leaders really care about the well-being of their people, sometimes they have to “let them go”
  22. I will make all my “long stories longer” from now on 😉

If just the last 10 minutes of the meetup were this useful, are you wondering why the h*ck you didn’t attend the meetup? No worries, we repeat these meetups every single month (except for a month or two during the holiday season).

The best way to stay in the loop is to sign-up as a member of our meetup group online here

And if you have been at the meetup before and need someone to bounce off ideas, one of our meetup organizers will be happy to chat on the phone or meet in person:

Balki (503)419-7097  Balaji (971) 645-0534  Raghavan (720) 252-5197


The views expressed on this blog are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *