Wednesday Feb 17, 2016

Top 10 Ways to Conference

This week I hosted a Ladies Who Java session and reception at DevNexus in Atlanta, Georgia.  One of the cool things about this conference is that they have a scholarship program for women with the Atlanta Women Who Code group.  This reception was an opportunity for the women to get together and since many were new to attending technology conferences, I put together a brief Top 10 Ways to Conference talk.  We also did some introductions and networking activities. This was a fun and productive event.  I would like to see more conferences organize this type of activity.

The attendees requested I publish it, so see below for the list.  

1. Introduce yourself to others – this is the best way to get something out of the experience. Be yourself – in personality and appearance. Remember to follow up!

2. Review the schedule – pick sessions to attend in advance. Pair with someone you just met.

3. Attend the sessions. As many as possible. Think of topics or methods you can present next year or at other conferences.Share what you have learned on Twitter., blogs, etc.

4. Voice your opinions confidently and introduce yourself to speakers.

5. Go to informal social events. This is not the time to chill in your room – you can sleep later!

6. Attend the keynotes and closing sessions.

7. Attend the evening sessions also.

8. Hangout in the informal spaces – hallway track, nighthacking stage, hacker areas, etc.

9. Have fun :). Any issues or requests, talk to conference organizers.

10. Remember YOU ROCK and the organizers want you to have an awesome experience!

Thursday Mar 31, 2011

Oracle Women Enjoy Women of Vision 2010

I can't believe this is already coming up again so soon! The Anita Borg Institute is yet  again hosting the Women of Vision awards in Santa Clara, CA in May.

Last year, Legacy Sun employees were able to meet up with Classic Oracle employees and we all got to learn a lot about each other and our respective organizations.  All of us were so inspired by the winners of the Women of Vision and came back to work energized and invigorated.

Oracle Employees at Women of Vision 2010

Oracle women staying after the event to get to know each other and share what we had just learned.

Wednesday Jul 08, 2009

The Triumph of the Vote

Mr. Robert P. J. Cooney, Jr. came to Sun Microsystems today to talk to the Women@Sun group about the triumphant women's suffrage movement in the United States that took more than 60 years to gain success. Sixty years! Just for women to get the right to vote!  [1] Mr. Cooney became interested in this movement in the 1970s when attending school to become a graphic artist, when he realized the large prejudice that women needed to overcome and that they were able to do this in a nonviolent way.

This was such a difficult task, as the women had to convince men that not only were women prepared to vote, but that women were educated and informed. Only men could decide whether or not to grant women the right to vote, and many of these men were ignorant, uneducated and even illiterate.  A difficult task at hand, indeed!

Suffragists started with parades in different states to raise awareness of their concerns, along with organizing peaceful rallies. Getting women to join in these events was difficult, as many were afraid that their participation would be seen as too forward by the men and scare the men off of giving them the vote even more, but the suffragists knew they could not be silent. They need to be seen to be heard.

The US Supreme Court had ruled that it was an issue that should be decided by the states, so the women had to levy campaigns in each and every state, a very arduous process indeed! These campaigns were most successful in the progressive west. East of the Mississippi, the only suffrage many women could get was the ability to vote only for school boards and other small, local positions.

Susan B. Anthony strongly believed it was really a federal issue, and began the push for a federal amendment to the US Constitution. Unfortunately, she died before seeing this come to pass, after 45 years of tireless effort on her part.  Fortunately, there were other women ready to take up the task at hand and push the movement forward, even in times of war.

The women found they were ignored by both major political parties, so their took their parades to the democratic and republican conventions. At one of them, the women actually had a silent, still "parade" - where they all wore white with golden jewelry and parasols and lined the street and stood silently while the delegates were participating in their own march down that same street. The eerie silence had great impact on those delegates, bringing the rights of women to the forefront of their minds.

When the suffragists were not getting momentum they wanted at the national level, they began to leverage their vote in the western states to oust seated national politicians, targeting, in particular, the democratic party. I find this an interesting historic note, as the democrat party is now associated with women's rights, but apparently the turn of the 19th century told a different story.

Mr. Cooney has documented this in his book, Winning the Vote: The Triumph of the American Woman Suffrage Movement, which is filled with outstanding images of the buttons and posters the suffragists made, as well as pictures of the rallies and events and documentation of the cruel treatment several women received for protesting peacefully outside of the White House during World War I.

Mt. Cooney is an eloquent speaker and I really look forward to reading his book in the up coming weeks, but all of this reminds me that all over the world today, women still do not have the right to vote and have themselves represented. It's so disturbing to me, because it seems like such an inalienable right. How can we be citizens and pay taxes and not vote? But, if it took more than 60 years to make such thing a documented right in a progressive country like our own, it may be many more lifetimes before women the world over have these same freedoms and the same voice. Let's hope it comes sooner than later, for all of our sakes.

Valerie Fenwick

[1] As pointed out during the Q&A session, not all women gained the right to vote in all states in 1920.  For many women of color, particularly those that lived in the south, that quest took another 40 years, where they had to fight along side their brothers and fathers to get the same equal representation.

Tuesday Mar 24, 2009

Technical Women and Ada Lovelace Day, Tuesday, March 24

Today Tuesday, March 24 is Ada Lovelace Day, an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology.

Recent research by psychologist Penelope Lockwood discovered that women need to see female role models more than men need to see male ones and we could address the issue by highlighting the women in technology that we look up to. So to be part of this initiative, all you need to do is to sign the pledge. It doesn’t matter how new or old your blog is, what gender you are, what language you blog in, or what you normally blog about - everyone is invited.

If you blog, you can add your post to the Ada Lovelace Day mashup at so it will show up in the list.

If you'd like to participate but don't have a blog of your own, you can add to the comments at (short url:


Wednesday Aug 13, 2008

Mary Cay Kosten Honored by Denver Business Journal

The Women@Sun-Colorado group is proud to congratulate Colorado's own Mary Cay Kosten, Vice President- Global Customer Services, on receiving the Denver Business Journal's Outstanding Women in Business Award!  Mary Cay was selected as the Outstanding Woman in Business for high tech and telecommunications at the awards luncheon last Thursday, August 7, 2008.

Way to go Mary Cay and congratulations from all of us with Women@Sun-Colorado!

Click below for more information on Mary Cay's award and the Denver Business Journal's Outstanding Women in Business Awards:


Wednesday May 07, 2008

More Sun Women Honored in May!!

4 Sun Executives Win 2008 TWIN Award!


Karen Tegan Padir- Vice President, Software Infrastructure
Cheryl Cook- Vice President of Sales for the United States
Beverly Glasser- Senior Director of I.T.
Noreen Krall- Vice President and Chief Intellectual Property Counsel

Read More:

Tomorrow Susan Landau honored!!

This is great news for Sun Women - especially for one of the Sun Women from the Boston area!!

Congratulations to Susan Landau on this huge achievement with the Anita Borg Institute.  Next week,
she will be receiving the Women of Vision Award for Social Impact at the 2008 Women of Vision
Awards Banquet in San Jose.
Press Release Source: Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology

Sun Microsystems is a Gold Sponsor of the Anita Borg Institute's Women of Vision Awards Banquet
Monday April 28, 9:00 am ET

PALO ALTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ:JAVA - News) announced today that it is a Gold Sponsor of the 2008 Women of Vision Awards Banquet, which will be held on May 8, 2008 at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, California. The annual Women of Vision Awards, sponsored by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI), honor women who are making significant contributions to technology in three categories: Innovation, Leadership, and Social Impact. This year Sun Labs Distinguished Engineer Susan Landau will be receiving the Women of Vision Award for Social Impact.

Sun believes that innovation requires agitation, that progress requires a diversity of viewpoints collaborating to create something truly different. Since 2000, we have reinforced that belief by supporting the Anita Borg Institute, said Greg Papadopoulos, chief technology officer and executive vice president of research and development at Sun Microsystems. In celebration of this year's Women of Vision Awards, congratulations to Susan Landau, a brilliant engineer whose passion for supporting and developing women in computer science research is surpassed only by her internationally recognized expertise on the interplay between security, cryptography, and public policy. I'm proud to have her at Sun.

Sun Microsystems has been a longtime supporter of the Anita Borg Institute and the Women of Vision Awards, said Telle Whitney, CEO of ABI. Sun has built a corporate culture focused on inclusion, and their efforts have enabled the women of Sun to have a direct and positive impact on the world.

The Women of Vision Awards Banquet will begin at 6:00 p.m. on May 8, 2008 at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, California. Tables and tickets may be purchased online at Event sponsorship opportunities are also available.

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Sun Microsystems develops the technologies that power the global marketplace. Guided by a singular vision The Network is the Computer Sun drives network participation through shared innovation, community development, and open source leadership. Sun can be found in more than 100 countries and on the Web at

About the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI)

In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, the Anita Borg Institute provides resources and programs for to help industry, academia, and government recruit, retain, and develop women leaders in high-tech fields, resulting in higher levels of technology innovation. ABI programs serve high-tech women by creating a community and providing tools to help them develop their careers. ABI is a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 charitable organization. ABI Partners include: Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft Corporation, Sun Microsystems, Google, IBM, Intel, Cisco, Juniper Networks, National Science Foundation, Symantec, NetApp, and Capgemini. For more information, visit

Anita Borg Institute
Jerri Barrett, 650-857-6095

Source: Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology

Thursday Apr 03, 2008

Women@Sun - Colorado upcoming events

“Staying Grounded in Times of Uncertainty”
Speaker: Sherry Ray, Founder of Ray Consulting Services

\* Bring your power back with an inspirational break with this dynamic Career and Life Coach
\* Follow your passions in order to reignite enthusiasm in your life and career
\* Recognize your Top Ten Values and are you honoring those in your personal and professional life?
\* Knowledge is always Power and you must have the strength to ask the tough questions and be willing to accept & act on the truth
\* Learn to listen to and trust your gut and intuition
\* Honor your authentic self and be true to that even when dealing with conflict

DATE: April 17, 2008
TIME: 12:00 - 1:30 PM
Sun Broomfield Campus
Conference Center 1 – Bldg. 1
RSVP to Carol Neustadter by April 14th: or (303) 272-4979

Sherry Ray, Owner and Founder of Ray Consulting Services, brings a wealth of professional experience to her private and corporate clients to help them achieve their best life both professionally and personally. After a very successful career in Corporate America as a top global salesperson, Sherry now helps executives, small business owners and other professionals reach their full potential while following their dreams!

Walk, donate, or do both!

Women@Sun-Colorado will be sponsoring a team and raising money for the March for Babies event (sponsored by the March of Dimes). The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

This 5 mile walk will be held on Saturday, April 26th at East Park at Interlocken, Interlocken Blvd. & Interlocken Parkway in Broomfield starting at 9:00 am.

To join the walk or to donate towards our goal of raising $1,000 for this cause, please visit the Women@Sun-Colorado team page:

We also need volunteers to work the donation table outside of the Broomfield cafeteria on April 23-24, 11:00am - 1:00pm. We are also looking for volunteers to bake treats that we'll be giving (not selling, this is not a bake sale) to those who donate. Please send an email to Staci McKee at to volunteer or for more information about this event.

We hope to see a strong showing of Sun women and men at this event!
  »Sign Up or Donate  

Tuesday Apr 01, 2008

Women@Sun See Few Barriers - No Foolin'!

After over eight+ years of being involved with our local Women's Employee Resource Group in the Boston area, I was struck with a significant 'ah-ha' moment last week.

 It happened during a panel discussion with some of our local Women executives last Tuesday afternoon.

What was surprising to me - initially - was more of what they didn't have to say! 

When these women execs were asked about barriers that they feel must still be overcome to get ahead in one's career at Sun, not one of the panelists could give a specific example of barriers blocking the success of the women who work at Sun.  I found this hard to believe - - - at first.

Then after more thought, it struck me!   We have made some significant progress with our local (as well as global) womens' networks across the company.

I'll admit, things still aren't perfect - afterall, we'd love to see more faces of women on the exec bio page on, but upon some thoughtful reflection, I see that things have definitely changed over the past eight years.

The most significant change is that we were able have a women exec panel take place in the Boston area without arranging travel schedules.   Eight years ago, when we first recognized Women's History Month, the closest women exec was in the Washington, DC area.

This year, we were able to invite women VPs who actually work at Sun in the Boston area (we actually have more women VPs now in this region, than we could fit on our panel!) 

Also, eight years ago, the purpose of our local women's network focused specifically on building a network internally and externally, focusing on career development and creating opportunities for informal mentoring.   We'd have over 100 Sun women flock to our gatherings to get some insight on how to address these needs. 

This year, participation was lower than normal, even with a great line up of activities.    When I asked people why the lower interest, many responded that they are able to address these concerns and needs directly with their managers now vs. needing a separate network. 

The interest to work on building our networks, developing skills to advance in our careers and connecting with mentors is definitely still there - but the way we go about doing this at Sun is evolving. 

Maybe the idea that someday we won't need special employee resource groups is actually closer than we ever realized?!


Thursday Mar 27, 2008

Boston Area Women Celebrate w/ a Mayor and 1000+ Toiletry Items!

Sun's Boston area women wrapped up Women's History Month today in our Nashua, NH office.

We concluded a month long Toiletry Drive across our Burlington, MA and Nashua, NH locations.  The collection resulted in well over 1000+ items (shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, etc, etc, etc!) for Bridges-NH, an agency that supports victims of domestic and sexual violence.

The majority of the donated items were travel sized bottles - the kind you pick up in your hotel while on vacation or business travel.  Hotels and casinos from around the world were represented, indicating where our employees and our friends travel for business and pleasure  (it was actually fun to sort thru this stuff and think of warm places, esp. since there's still some snow on the ground here in NH!)

It also struck me that many of our employees made the extra effort to actually check their luggage to bring back stashes of collected hotel toiletries from their trips to support this effort. (Thanks everyone! The extra effort to do that is going to make a lot of struggling women happy!)

Dawn Reams, the Executive Director of Bridges-NH came to Sun's office this morning to pick up our HUGE donation and tell our employees more about Bridges-NH. 

We also had a special guest visit us! (Who also brought a bag full of toiletries to our drive!).  Mayor Donnalee Lozeau, Nashua, NH's 55th Mayor who was elected this fall, visited Sun's Nashua office for a roundtable discussion with employees.   Mayor Lozeau is part of Women's History, which is impressive for someone so young. :-)   She is the first woman Mayor in Nashua's 155+ year history and began her political career when she was in her early 20s at the NH Statehouse.  

(L-R: Dawn Reams, Bridges-NH; Mayor Donnalee Lozeau, City of Nashua; Sandy Belknap, Sun Microsystems stand in front of over 1000 boxed toiletry items destined for Bridges-NH in Sun's Nashua office.)

We had a great  discussion this morning where the Mayor shared some of her experiences and observations of the differences and similarities between the public and private sector.  I think that she even motivated some people to get more engaged in their local community activities and city/town government.   That in itself says a lot about Mayor Lozeau's inclusive and transparent leadership style.

It was quite an inspirational way to start our day!

Wednesday Mar 26, 2008

Women's History Month Panel

Sun is being represented on a panel hosted by the Alliance for Women in Technology today.

March is Women's History Month.

But we're going to be talking about the future.

It's a multi-generational panel on how emerging tools like social networking are being used to foster collaboration and build community.

We will be sharing the experiences we've had at Sun wrt the community of Women@Sun and how we're using Facebook.


Tuesday Mar 18, 2008

Women's History Month Event - Colorado

Girls Inc. Girls Night Out -

Beads, Bracelets and Bonding! Women@Sun-Colorado hosted our second annual GNO (Girls Night Out) as the Denver chapter of Girls Incorporated ( on Friday, March 14th. We had 15 girls attend the event along with 2 Girls Inc. staff members. The theme of this year's Women's History Month is "Women in the Arts," so to coordinate with that theme, we made beaded bracelets with the girls while we shared a pasta dinner. We had a discussion about women in the arts (theater, music, artists, fashion, etc.). The girls told stories of who inspires them and who does not. We talked about reasons to tap into your creative side and why the arts is so important in schools and life.

Thank you to Jenn Larkin, Jamie Hughes and Staci McKee for planning and attending this event. The Girls Inc. staff has asked that we continue to keep up this tradition and asked for our involvement in their job readiness program which teaches the girls skill such as interviewing, resume writing, etc. Staci McKee will be following up on this request to coordinate some volunteers for this Girls Inc. program.

Girls Incorporated is a national, nonprofit youth organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. With roots dating to 1864, Girls Inc has provided vital educational programs to millions of American girls, particularly those in high-risk, underserved areas. Today, innovative programs help girls confront subtle societal messages about their value and potential, and prepare them to lead successful, independent, and fulfilling lives.

Thursday Mar 06, 2008

Bringing Awareness of International Women's Day to the U.S.

While Sun has been recognizing National Women's History Month for nearly a decade, four years ago, we also started to spread awareness of International Women's Day (IWD) during our March events.

IWD takes place on March 8 and started nearly 100 yrs ago in Europe.  Employees at Sun from the Ukraine have told me that IWD is very much like Mothers Day in the US.   But it recognizes all Women.  Typically, women get time off from work on March 8 (which is a Saturday this year.)  IWD is the global day connecting all women around the world and inspiring them to achieve their full potential.   You can read all of the history online.

It's also a big flower day!  I've been told that men are expected to give flowers to the women in their lives - not just their mothers - but to their sisters, wives, aunts, etc.  In the past, we've given flowers to our local  women employees in the Boston area. (We were able to do this with the help of our favorite local florist. Jody & Jill, owners of Fortin Gage,  take very good care of the women from Sun who drop by their shop - that's why they get a special 'shout out' on this blog entry!) 


I was surprised what a big impact that a single pink or red carnation could make.  One employee told me that he emailed all of his relatives back in the Ukraine to tell them that Sun was celebrating IWD.  He went on to tell me how much money he would spend on flowers for the women in his life 'back home' -- he seemed very proud of the IWD tradition in his country. (And he seemed proud to work for a company in the US that observed IWD)

So, why is it that we don't hear a lot  about IWD in the US - especially as our economy becomes more global?  I've been wondering about this since I first learned of this March 8 observance.

This morning,  I was listening to my favorite morning show news personalities (Diane and Robin) and they mentioned IWD.   I think we are going to see more awareness of this observance in the US because of their IWD story this morning that featured Diane von Furstenberg

How are you going to observe IWD on Saturday, March 8?  If you are looking for inspiration, there are activities all over the world taking place - perhaps one is near  you!?!

(ps...if you are wondering about the flower picture on this entry, that's from my Garden 4 years ago - it's a gerber daisy that had a crushed blossom, and when the flower finally opened, a heart appeared - pretty cool, huh?) 

Wednesday Mar 05, 2008

Women in Technology face unique hurdles

I was happy to see that Catalyst has finally posted their paper on the unique issues women in technology face in their careers. Reuters did a nice summary of the paper, bringing out a lot of the big points about lack of role models as well as feeling unempowered in the decision making process.  I saw Catalyst's Heather Foust-Cummings speak on this study at last year's Grace Hopper conference and the paper itself is fascinating.  It goes to show that while women have made a lot of progress in the workforce over the last 30 years, there is still more to make and we are still hitting barriers that are invisible to folks in other fields.

Valerie Fenwick

Happy Women's History Month!

For the 8th consecutive year, Sun employees in the Boston area are recognizing National Women's History Month (WHM) during March.   (I have to admit that I will miss Larry R's annual email to me asking when National Men's Month is celebrated!) :-)

We have a great line up of activities at Sun in the Boston area this March - including our 3rd annual toiletry drive to support some local women's shelters.  (I'm at Sun HQ this week and saved all my little unused hotel shampoos, etc.  to donate to this cause - but due to airline security regulations, I have to check my bag since my 'stash' won't even come close to fitting into a quart sized ziplock  for my carry-on bag. Oh, the things we will do to support the causes  for which we have passion!) 

We're also looking forward to a panel discussion with some of Sun's women VPs and Directors as well as a roundtable discussion with Donnalee Lozeau, the first woman Mayor in Nashua, NH's 153+ yr history.  (I was at our City Hall last year and walked down the hall where all the previous Mayor's pictures are hanging - It was so obvious that a woman's face was missing!  It's great to see Donnalee's up there now and we're looking forward to her being at Sun at the end of March.)

We'll post updates about our activities throughout the month, so check this blog to see what's going on.  And let us know via the comments option what you are doing to celebrate WHM in March!


We share news and accolades about Women at Oracle.


« February 2017