In this episode on ”Finding your Why and Understanding your purpose“, Caitlin Sellers , Paula Okonneh and Dr Sharon Jones have a round table discussion with their guest Betsy Idilbi on how and why they got into technology.
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Sharon: Our guest host today, Betsy, is the founder of Tech Talent South, but before starting Tech Talent South she ran a product development company called Little Idea. Following a successful merger between Little Idea and a product develop giant inventist, Betsy jetted off to Chicago to learn code. Within Chicago, she met her co-founder and they agreed to launch a code school in the southeast. During her time at TTS, Betsy has been name emerging leader CIO, selected to participate in the Leaders Under 40, listed as one of the top 25 people to know in the startup scene, named one of the 7 people to watch in Charlotte in 2016, and honored by the Charlotte Business Journal as the 2016 Woman of the Year. In her free time, Betsy enjoys hanging with her husband and her 2 kids. She also digs jogging, scuba diving, and all things Tar Heels, and is nothing short of dominate on the foosball table.
Betsy: The first thing you have to do is become a bit self-aware. Why is it that you’re even interested in tech, right? You don’t have to go into it thinking “I’m gonna be a developer”. Just know your motivations. Maybe you’re looking to have flexibility. Maybe you’re a stay at home mom right now, I have 2 kids and I certainly know it’d be great to be able to work from home. Maybe that’s your motivation. And if that’s your motivation, how best you get there? Maybe it is become the best paid developer out there, well then that’s a different thing right? You need to investigate what is it that you can do in tech that’s gonna be the highest paid career. Or maybe it’s to solve a problem you already have. I mean when I very first got into tech, it was really out of necessity and I needed to know how to launch ads for my company. So I had to navigate that process. And maybe that’s your end game. Maybe it’s to fulfill one little need that you have. I think once you know that, you can kind of say “Okay, I’m a success. I have this foundation for whatever my purpose was”. You kind of have to be self-aware enough to identify what that is on the onset.
Caitlin: I think the reason why I went into tech was because I like the idea of flexibility and I knew that over the course of my career it would allow me to work from anywhere and it would allow me to do that for the rest of my life. It’s not something you can age out of. And I can do that somewhere on a beach with my toes in the sand.
Paula: And that’s kind of how I got into it because after I got married and started my family, I realized that I didn’t want to teach anymore. So what next? The what next was to do something related to the Internet. I needed the flexibility and the opportunity to work and still be flexible. So that’s how I got into web design and development because it gave me that opportunity to be in carpool literally and be working on a project. But in addition to that, I realized I had to learn. I taught myself with online programs and read some books and realized at some point that I couldn’t do this on my own. I needed some flexibility and I needed a team. Through that I was able to create a sustainable business. There’s so much that can be done with technology without you actually feeling like you have to know everything in technology because it’s so dynamic you can never know everything.
Caitlin: Establishing your foundation and understanding what you’re trying to accomplish, I think going back to what your motivations are and figuring out what your purpose is and what you want to do with your life and then developing a plan to get there and just doing the damn thing.
Betsy: And then recognizing that that’s fluent too and doing one thing and then all of those motivations will change.
Sharon: I agree with that. I was gonna say too, I think for me what has been the key for my success or understanding is finding out my strengths. What do I succeed in and using those strengths to drive my career. So I recently did a strength finder and it was interesting about how seeing those strengths and then understanding how that falls into what I do. Most of that is I’m a collector of information, which makes a lot of what I do in education. But whether you choose technology or whatever path you’re choosing, finding what it is you do best and accentuating that is where you’re going to find your path. I recently went to a Charlotte Chamber women’s luncheon, The speaker was Jill Flinn and she did a whole concept about breaking your own rules. It was probably one of the best workshops or luncheons I’ve ever been to. It really made me stop and think about what is it that I do best and how can I capitalize on that to really make myself stand out in my job. Or in my motivations for what I want to do because for me, right now in my life I have two children and that idea of flexibility is huge. So for me, how do I capitalize on what I do best and also take a tech spin and really move my career forward. I think in establishing that foundation is really knowing yourself and what is it that you do and then how you can you fit that strength into a bucket or into multiple buckets of where you think you’ll be successful. The whole concept here is about finding your strength, finding where it is that you feel very successful, and taking that strength and putting that into to a bucket where you can use that strength and really be able to showcase yourself and your talents.
Caitlin: So Levo League actually has this really awesome app called Thinking Talents and it’s free. You can go through a survey and understand all of the talents that you have, prioritize those talents, and it will actually give you some feedback on what you do well, what you can improve on, and also how you can use that in understanding what you’re good at and how you can work with other people. ****link to the app store
Paula: Women run the world. Think about what you can offer, what’s within you, what motivates you, what gets you up in the morning and makes you feel excited? If it’s technology, go for it because the sky is the limit!