Persistence #inspireWIT πŸ’œ

Last year I attended the Inspire Women in Tech conference in Nottingham as an attendee, it was the first ever tech conference I attended. I remember feeling a little nervous but excited to go especially with my coding family, ShefCodeFirst. As I sat and listened to women share their different journeys into tech and advice to help others with their own journeys, a rush of awe, inspiration and motivation hit me.

I wanted to be like them – confident, passionate and sharing things that are important to them. Ever since attending that first conference, I’ve been so inspired by the Women in Tech community and have worked hard in my community work – providing value to others, just as those women provided value to me.

You can read all about #WiT17 here ✨

This year, I attended as a speaker and volunteer (hey social media, hey πŸ‘‹πŸΌ) with of course, the ShefCodeFirst family (I think that this is going to be tradition!)


The day was full of inspiring talks, workshops and networking opportunities (you can find them all here!) with some very important key take-home messages:

  • What matters most is your enthusiasm, passion, willingness to get into tech rather than your degree/background.
  • It’s never too late to start learning to code, the only thing that is holding anybody back is themselves. Go out there and do it!
  • Tech isn’t just development/coding – there’s so much more! Non tech jobs examples: project manager, product owner.
  • Community is everything. πŸ’–

You can find a whole Twitter moment on the day here.

“Nevertheless, she/I/you persisted.”

I spoke about my journey into technology from blogging to community, my struggles to get there and how I persisted despite internal and external setbacks. You can watch the full talk below!

In comparison to previous talks I’ve given on my journey, I wanted to really emphasise the power of persistence. Of all the things that have changed in my life, one thing I know that hasn’t is that I’ve always wanted to prove what someone said about me wrong e.g. a report card that is screaming “you can only achieve this grade” – I’ve always persisted to do better. Sometimes even when I didn’t necessarily label it as such.

When I started reflecting and becoming mindful of the power that determination and grit has, all these examples popped up from my past! I’m sure you can all think of one example in your own lives.

Self-reflection: 🎀 On public speaking #5

5. Wow, I can’t believe I’ve done 5 speaking gigs since late last year. I have improved massively since my first talk, but there is always room for improvement. (Like I said in my talk) Striving for progress, not perfection. πŸ™πŸ»

πŸŽ‰ Awesome things I will celebrate:

  • Interactivity – I didn’t stand still and motionless like I have done in my previous talks (because of just genuine fear of falling over) instead, I walked around freely – I even added some interactivity with the audience!

  • I took a selfie with everyone at the start of my talk – now I never get scared asking for selfies with people but this was a different story. πŸ˜‚ But I did it – one off the bucket list!

  • Better slides – I liked how I designed my slides this time round – darker, and my favourite colour. I read on an article that darker slides are better to focus audience attention on what you’re saying!
  • Spreading pawisitive vibes and inspiration – the amount of people that went up to me after my talk to say that they not only enjoyed it but got something out of it, made it SO worthwhile. One person with two little girls approached me at the end of the conference to say that the two little girls were left inspired and motivated to go into STEM. “If Pauline can do it, you can too.” It touched my heart. πŸ˜­πŸ’™
  • I got up and did it. This is always something I will celebrate. 😊

πŸ€” Improvements for next time:

  • Nervousness – especially at the start. I’m always so anxious when I begin, but get better during the talk as I get into it. Working on a better, more confident start!
  • Timing – I went over my time and upon reflection, I could’ve merged some of the “tips” during my journey, cut stories shorter or not mentioned them at all. When I was making my slides, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to fill the time πŸ˜†
  • Why didn’t you use the dang clicker Pauline?

Tweet highlights

#inspireWIT in pictures

Code First: Girls Sheffield & Leeds πŸ’–
Code First: Girls Sheffield & Leeds πŸ’–

It’s conferences like these that I will always attend and happily talk about and refer back to throughout my life. They are vital in encouraging the generations of women to continue breaking boundaries and reaching their full potential by seeing it from others then being and connecting with like-minded people. I feel so proud to be part of this wider community that is pressing for progress every single day.

More photos of the day by Rose Kasili can be found here.

It’s been an honour inspireWIT, until next year! ✌🏼

12 responses to “Persistence #inspireWIT πŸ’œ”

  1. I LOVE that you initially attended this conference as a participant, and this year you got to be a SPEAKER. That’s amazing and exciting and you should be SO PROUD! I remember your first posts when you were talking about your public speaking anxiety and now you’re just OWNING it. I heard a quote once that the best way to conquer your fears are to own them, and you’re a living example of that.
    Kudos girl, killin’ it as usual!

    Susie |

    1. Thanks so much Susie! 😭 I did reflect on the first time I did a talk at one of these, I was terrified but now it’s getting better and better. πŸ˜„

  2. One thing I always admire is how you’re always willing and trying to improve yourself! =3

    You should feel proud of all you’ve done, and the many people you’ve touched!

    1. This means a lot – thanks Megan! I do try my best 😊

  3. That is really amazing! I would love to sit in on one of those. Maybe someday I will be able to move out of this hick town I’m in and really grow. We shall see…
    Thanks for sharing the video. I will have to watch it once I’m back home or have some headphones. haha

    1. Thanks Ashley! I hope they do something locally where you live – it’s definitely such a great opportunity. πŸ’œ

  4. This is such an awesome little tale! I admire how you’re always trying to better not only YOUR life, but also others around the world. Maybe some day I’ll be able to travel and attend a conference like this. I also wish that there was ANYWHERE around my region that did something like your UK version of CF:G, because I think a lot of women here in the USA could benefit from it, myself included.

    I’m currently using free courses to try to learn web coding and development, and I can say it would be MUCH easier to understand if I were speaking to someone else, or working with another person here and there to grasp certain concepts.

    I’m really glad you got the opportunity to speak at the conference. Good luck in doing more, because you’ve definitely got this!

    1. Thanks SO much Shanae! πŸ’œ

      I agree – this is what attracted me to CFG in the first place because I hadn’t known that there were groups of people out there actually talking to each other about things I was interested in. I hope you find something locally! But online learning is still great – there’s a huge community online that help people to code too! So that’s a potential option.

  5. This was amazing to read, Pauline! Congratulations on speaking during #InspireWIT. Nice video as well. Keep on being you and continuing to inspire other women out there!

    ☼ cabin twenty-four

    1. Thanks Eena! I’m going to keep encouraging them to reach for the stars πŸ’«

  6. Look at you climbing up from being an attendee to a presenter! It’s great that you’ve matured over the years. I used to feel the same way about wanting to prove people wrong but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what people say.

    Me: lol this peasant wants to set the rules for me or what

    Go you! The more you do this, the better you get at presenting in front of an audience!

    1. I actually remember a comment from you last year Nancy about how I’d one day talk about my blog on stage. 😱🀣 And here I am! I did the thing!! Haha, thanks so much for the support πŸ’œ

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