Monday, April 9, 2007

थे केय इस तो पोस्ट फ्रेकुएँत्ल्य

The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

Wow. At some point, while setting up this blog, I received the unsolicited option of agreeing that my postings could be translated into Hindi, but this was beyond my expectations, that is, I don't know how my title "The Key is to Post Frequently" became "थे केय इस तो पोस्ट फ्रेकुएँत्ल्य." I guess globalization really is happening even more pervasively than I realized!

Powerful Pioneers

The TV show "Cold Case" was so touching tonight (we had Tivo'ed it). I never think of myself first as a woman, looking for more rights for women, but rather as a lesbian, seeking more human rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people.

Typically, I identify as lesbian and then as female, as I've not ultimately related to the issues women have championed in my lifetime, e.g., reproductive rights et al, but tonight's episode was about a suffragette who was murdered in 1919 and it touched me.

I never think about not having the right to vote, though, sometimes, Pat and I talk about how lucky we are not to have lived during the Middle Ages, when women really, really had no options.

The nicest touch was the flash of news on the squadroom TV, at the end of the show, where we got to see a brief glimpse of Nancy Pelosi. Seeing the shot of Nancy Pelosi, Pat said, "We've still got some distance to go, but we have definitely made strides."

I'm reminded of an article I saw in the current issue of "The Advocate" earlier today, while waiting to go to my colonoscopy appointment -- that's another posting, or maybe I'll spare all of us...and happily, the results were fine; it featured eight retired, decorated gay and lesbian servicepeople and I thought, How grim their lives must have been at times.

One of them, a West Point grad and 28-year veteran, if I remember correctly, talked about how having to lie reduces trust, which compromises unit cohesion, and I thought, How difficult for him -- for whom honor's arguably the biggest thing -- to have had to lie throughout his career about his sexual orientation. God, pioneers are powerful.

I'm reminded that one of my colleagues at work told me that he saw this blog, and to remember that beyond being a Jewish lesbian IBMer, I'm also an expert in Leadership and Human Resources (HR) and Learning, and that I could also blog about those topics. I was flattered at his assessment, and perhaps I'll comment on those topics along the way, too, but there are many Leadership and HR and Learning experts at IBM, but not many Jewish lesbian experts in Leadership, HR and Learning.

I felt the same way when IBMers were excited about e-business in the late-90s and early-2000s, and most were trying to figure out the next huge way to make it take off. I thought, Everyone I know is thinking about innovation in relation to e-business.

Not so many were thinking about how to more invitingly welcome the business of our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) business-to-business clients worldwide per se; and so I put my energy into how IBM could do that, and ultimately, we started up the GLBT Sales team, which I mentioned a posting ago, and which still thrives today, even as I've gone on to Management Development, training our emerging and new managers to be good leaders.

My identity is the engine of all of my creativity and innovation and so it is going to be prominent in this blog, as it is the energizer for my life offline, too.

My identity is my differentiator. For example, I'm honored to be a panelist at this event on Friday, at Teachers College (TC), Columbia University:

Title: Being LGBT in the Workplace


Join your hosts Queer TC for a panel discussion on "Being LGBT in the Workplace."

How do you find "gay friendly" organizations?

How do you best approach the interview?

How do you come out (or not) on the job?

Panelists include:

Hayley Gorenberg, Deputy Legal Director, Lambda Legal
Nicholas Grosskopf, Doctoral candidate, Health Education, Teachers College
Edward Hernstadt, Partner at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz (and Columbia alum)
Dan Koifman, President, Koifman Consulting
Sarah Siegel, Global Program Manager, IBM and current MA student
Jennifer Williams, Director of Career Services & Leadership Development, Columbia University School of Social Work

DATE: Friday, April 13th from 12 - 1 (with time post panel for networking)

WHO: Open to entire gay (and gay friendly) Columbia community

Will include a Q&A portion and there will be snacks!!

Earlier, I was reading the Pew Research Center's "Trends in Political Values and Core Attitudes: 1987-2007" because my professor sent it to us and it struck me that perhaps only the poll questions and responses on immigrants are more painful than the poll question and responses on same-sex marriage. That means that my work is not yet done.

That means that since I'm willing to be so visible, I wish to keep being so, since public opinion can change only insofar as people like me are visibly among the public.

This morning, I had an update from my friend Dana, who lost her partner Cathy suddenly and tragically last week. Both of them had been active in the Trans Community and I know that Dana still will be when she comes up from her grief, and probably prior. And my friend Sara Rook let me know that there's a great trans photo exhibit (she's the lovely one in red and black), running at Stages Theater in Houston for the play, "I'm My Own Wife."

All of these women, Dana, Cathy and Sara, choose/chose to be out as trans, rather than opting to pass -- as so many transpeople wish to do, understandably, once they transition into the people they were born to be -- as they feel and felt that they could do good by putting a friendly face on it for people, most of whom are ignorant, rather than malevolent.

Perhaps, I'll comment explicitly on Leadership, HR and Learning over time, but more likely, my postings will tend to focus on the topics of leadership I admire or try to exhibit; valuing every human, and a core mission of HR, i.e., examples I see or try of maximizing one's talent; and my own learning with a small "l," which complements the vast Learning in which IBM invests for our own employees at all levels.

For anyone who has gotten this far in the posting, how does your identity inform your life and how you lead it? I'd love to hear from a variety of perspectives....

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