With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I wanted to write about the appreciation I have for some colleagues I’ve had throughout the years, as well as several that I have now.  We often take time at the end of November to think about the things for which we are thankful.  And while that’s a very good thing, my goal this year is to take it one step further and make sure I tell the people in my life that I am grateful for them, and why.

This week at our Immersion Event, I went running on Wednesday morning with a few attendees. One of them mentioned that he had three daughters, and wondered whether it was worth encouraging them to go into IT as he noticed that in the Immersion Event classes the ratio of women to men was pretty low. He suggested that perhaps IT wasn’t a great place for women. I immediately said that I would absolutely recommend it. There may not be a lot of women in IT, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a good place for them and won’t continue to be.  And things are always changing.  Getting women into IT, and retaining them, is a continual conversation we have, particularly in the SQL Server community.  Perhaps I’m unique, but I don’t need to work with a large percentage of women or majority of women, to feel comfortable with my team. Perhaps that’s because I’ve never encountered some of the issues that I’ve heard from other women in technology.  The issues where a male colleagues was not supportive, perhaps purposely kept a female colleague out of the loop, was very negative, or maybe even avoided or ignored female teammates entirely.  I don’t know if I’ve been lucky, or if, when I’ve encountered those men, didn’t take it personally, figured that person was just a jerk, and just figured out how to work through it.  There are jerks everywhere – within IT and out of it – and those jerks can be men or women.

I have been fortunate to have supportive individuals, both male and female, in every job I’ve ever had, in both leadership and peer roles.  Maybe I’m unique, maybe not. But I’d like to take a minute to thank the individuals who supported me, and who continue support and stand up for me and for other women in IT, and in their lives. To those of you who have daughters…my unsolicited advice is to absolutely encourage them to go into IT if that is something in which they are interested. And I would encourage fathers and mothers to reach out to women and men in the field already to ask for guidance and mentorship. Most people are happy to provide their experience and any insight they have, you just need to ask.

I won’t list all of the colleagues to whom I am grateful, there are just so many and I’m afraid I might miss someone.  But if I’ve ever looked at you and said “thank you”, or given you a handshake or a hug with a “thank you”, or sent you an email or tweet with those words, or mentioned you in a post here or a post on Facebook, then YOU are one of those people who I appreciate, who I value, and for whom I am grateful to have in my circle.  Thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving.