235: RailsConf Scholars: 2021 Remote Edition

May 19th, 2021 · 42 mins 18 secs

About this Episode

The RailsConf Scholarship Program

03:12 - Tram’s Superpower: Getting 8 Hours of Sleep Per Night!

04:08 - Leah’s Superpower: Being a Companion to Long-Distance Runners

04:55 - Stefanni’s Superpower: Doing Things She’s Terrified of Doing

05:34 - Being Afraid and Grappling with Self-Doubt

  • Asking Questions and Being Vulnerable
  • Call-Out Bad Behavior

12:34 - Team Psychological Safety

17:20 - Education & Learning Environments; Tech Journeys

27:52 - Making & Noticing Progress; Comparing Yourself to Others


John: Finding new ways to be of service to other people.

Leah: What can we proactively do to make our space safer and more conducive to diverse thought?

Mando: It’s okay to make mistakes and not be perfect.

Steffani: How common it is to openly talk about these things in the Rails Community ❤️

Tram: Representation matters! Humanization and inclusivity. Calling people out.

Lending Privilege -- Anjuan Simmons


JOHN: Hello and welcome to Greater Than Code, Episode 235. I’m John Sawers and I’m here with Mando Escamilla.

MANDO: Thanks, John. And I'm here with three RailsConf scholars who are going to be joining us today, which I'll like to take turns introducing yourself, maybe starting with Leah?

LEAH: My name is Leah Miller and I’m a Platform Engineer at Highwing, which is an insurtech startup based out of Denver. Before making over the switch to tech, I spent almost a decade in the insurance industry primarily working as a production underwriter.

In my spare time, I enjoy running and craft beer and frequently, the careful combination of the two. I’m also a new dog mom to a rescue pup named Orla.

MANDO: Great. Tram, you want to go next, please?

TRAM: Yeah. So hi, everyone. I'm Tram Bui. I’m currently attending Ada Developers Academy, which is a tuition-free coding program for women and gender-diverse folks in Seattle. The program includes an internship match with a Seattle tech company. So currently, for my internship, I work as a Developer Relations engineer and what this means is that I try to make it easier for Rails developers to deploy their apps to the cloud.

Outside of coding, I try to maintain it and improve my high school tennis skills. I also like to read books and also, thinking about my next great public transportation adventure and volunteering for local nonprofits.

And then Stephanie, I can pass it on to you.

STEPHANIE: Hi, I'm happy to be here. I'm Stephanie and I've been working with Rails for the past 4 years, but now I'm trying to transition from dev full-time to having my own projects.

And besides software, I also like to talk about plant-based diet, financial independence, and mental health. Also, if you have noticed my accent, I'm from Brazil, but I live in Vancouver, BC and yeah, I'm really happy to be here.

JOHN: Awesome. Welcome to the show, everyone.

So this is just a little setup here. Not every year at RailsConf, but most years at RailsConf, we do have a special episode where sometimes, we've got many of the panelists are together and so, we can record in the same room, which is obviously very novel for us. This year of course, it's all online.

One of the things we’ve also done is bringing in some of the people who are part of the RailsConf Scholar Program, which is the program to expand access to tech conferences to people that are underrepresented and to give them some guidance on how to make the most of their experience at the conference.

We always think it's great to get the opinions of people that are brand new to this industry and see what their perspective is on everything. So we're going to start off with our usual question which is what is your superpower and how did you acquire it? We can go really in any order. Who would like to go first?

TRAM: I can go first. So my superpower would be the ability to get 8 hours of sleep a night [chuckles] and I think I acquired this power – I think I was very just like, I loved nap time as a kid and I grew up knowing the importance of a good night's rest. I think for me to be my best self, that’s one of the big things that I need to have. I think growing up and going to college, it was very like, “Oh, sleep is not important,” but I always had noticed the importance of sleep and I think it does hustle economy, too. People are very fast to just cast aside and was like, “You can sleep when you're dead,” but I'm like, “No, if you don't sleep, you will die faster.” So I'm going to take every opportunity that I can do at least get a full night's rest.

LEAH: I am so jealous of that superpower. [laughs] I think mine feeds into a little bit of the opposite of that, but my superpower is the ability to keep people company when they're running through the night during a 100-mile races, or ultra-marathons. So people running it 3:00 AM, 4:00 AM, getting really down, needing someone to lift them up, I can run alongside them and sing, or just be a companion to keep them motivated.

I think I acquired this skill from being a middle child. I spent a lot of time just entertaining myself and being pretty independent and if you can entertain yourself, it's pretty easy to extrapolate that to others, keep people going, so. [chuckles]

STEPHANIE: I would say that my superpower currently is a work in progress actually, but it's doing things even if I'm terrified of the way I always struggled a little bit with self-confidence. How I acquired that, I actually had to go to therapy first to build the foundation, but now I think I've been getting pretty good at it and the feeling of doing the things that you're scared at the end is a really good feeling. You feel like a superwoman. [chuckles]

JOHN: Oh, those are all such great answers. I want to dive into each of them, I think oh, my thoughts are jumbling up because I want to ask questions to all of you.

Well, I think I'll start with Stephanie. That's an amazing superpower and it's definitely going to serve you well. It's something that I've had to learn as I develop my speaking career at the same time. Even just thinking that it was possible for me to get up on stage and do that, that took a while to get there and then actually doing it also took a lot of practice. So certainly, that's going to be awesome.

MANDO: Yeah. It's so easy to just keep doing the things that you're good at and try to ignore, or maybe push off the things that you're not so good at, or you don't have that confidence in, Stephanie, like you were saying.

It's funny, I keep relearning this lesson over and over again, there's this project at work that I've been putting off and pushing the JIRA ticket over just because I kept telling myself that it wasn't important and that I could do – other things were higher priority. It's just because I was kind of scared, but I wasn't going to be able to do it as well as I could do the other things. I just had to sit down and do it and then I pushed up the PR and it got ripped to shreds by the other wonderful, [laughs] amazing engineers that I work with. But it's good. I didn't die. [laughs]

So it’s funny how we have to keep learning these lessons over and over again sometimes, I think.

JOHN: Yeah, that reminds me that there's a related skill in there also, which is realizing when you were afraid of something. Sometimes you think, “Oh, it's just not important that happened right now.”

MANDO: Yeah.

JOHN: As an excuse, but once you realize, “Oh, I'm actually afraid of how this is going to go.” It allows you to approach it differently. You can be like, “Oh, okay, well that's what this is. All right, then now I know how to like face it, head on rather than pretending it's some other reasons.” So I think that that's really important as well.

MANDO: Absolutely. Yeah, and it took me a couple of days to [laughs] realize that that's what I was doing and it wasn't until that was the last thing I had to work on for the sprint after I had reshuffled and moved everything over and then looked at my other teammates, JIRA boards to see if they had any stuff that I could help out with [laughs] that finally I was like, “Well, okay, I guess I'll just do this one.”

TRAM: Yeah. I think sometimes for me, the anticipation, or the thought of it is even scarier than actually doing the task itself. I've had this happen to me so many different times. For instance, with the podcast, I'm like, “Yeah, this is something that I want to do because I like listening to podcasts,” but I was like, the nervousness and the scariness of putting myself out there and just thinking about it leading up to this moment, it's so much scarier than actually being in the moment and talking with y'all. So yeah.

LEAH: I think part of it, too is recognizing that your feelings are not existing in a vacuum. There's other people that experience the same insecurities, or just going through what you're going through.

We were interviewing someone a couple weeks ago at my company and just talking about the stressors of being from a bootcamp and being hired into an engineering organization as either a junior developer, or a mid-level developer, or whatever level, but just knowing that your background isn't a CS degree, or it's just a little bit different than what other people have. And then having that insecurity of I'm pushing up a PR and then are 20 people going to make comments on this and then that gets pushed to Slack and everyone sees all 20 comments. Am I going to be laughed at, or looked at as less than?

So it's just nice to express that to someone else and have them regurgitate the same feelings, or just reflect back to you that you're not the only one who's having self-doubt in that way.

MANDO: Yeah, and it's tough for me at least to remember sometimes that I come from a very different place privilege wise than other folks on the team. So it can be a lot easier for me to do stuff like, just push this PR up and ask for comments because my experience may be very different than someone who doesn't have my same background, or the amount of experience that I have, or the kinds of relationships that I may have with other folks on the team. I strive to help create spaces whether at work, or wherever where people can feel comfortable asking questions and not worrying about people coming in and being overly critical, or negative, or whatever.

But my lived experience is very different than others. That's something that I need to keep in mind that you can't always just assume good faith that everyone's going to treat you the way that you would maybe treat them and I have to actively work and actively communicate to people that this is that kind of place.

JOHN: Do you find that there are specific things that you do to communicate that, or at least to make that ambiently knowledgeable to the other people in the team?

MANDO: That's a good question. I think the easiest thing you can do is make sure that you're modeling both sides of that behavior like, asking a lot of questions, putting yourself in vulnerable situations, and then also, making sure that you always jump in and respond positively when others do that so that you can help set a baseline.

I think of what the behavior should be and what behavior is expected, and then the second thing is always making sure to call out behavior that doesn't hit the bar. I can't remember where I first heard this, but my buddy, Jerry, he's the one who always drops the phrase to remind me, he says, “It's as simple as saying, ‘We don't do that here.’” It doesn't have to be a big deal. It doesn't have to be a huge problem, or anything. Just when there's behavior that you don't do here, you say, “We don't do that – [laughs] we don't do that here.” It's as simple as that.

LEAH: I love that.

MANDO: Yeah, Jerry's awesome.

JOHN: I think this is a really interesting topic because I'm always looking for examples of ways to make that easily communicated in a team environment. So have any of you had experiences where maybe someone else on the team was able to communicate some thoughts of psychological safety, or things that made you more comfortable being who you were on the team?

LEAH: So I can speak to the team where I work. We're a startup. We have about 15, I think maybe officially 16 people now and we have, I think just hired our fifth female to join the team, or a fifth non-male to join the team.

We have created just a private channel for all non-males on the team in Slack where we can communicate with each other and we've set up a happy hour once a month where we can meet. You don't have to drink alcohol. You can just sit and chat and we just have an hour set aside where no conversation topic is off limits. It's just really helpful to just set aside that time where there's no outside influence and it's just the five, or six of us, or however many there are right now [chuckles] who can join and just chat through what's a win for the week, or what's a struggle for the week. I think part of it is giving each other the space to express what's going well and also, express what's going wrong, and then see if others of us on the team can be a champion for the other person and just offer support where possible, or step in when something's happening that we need to maybe put a stop to. Our private channel is lovingly called The Thundercats, [laughs] which I'm pretty fond of.

MANDO: [laughs] That's fantastic. You make it almost sound like a union kind of [laughs] where y'all can have this place where you have this ability to do collective action, if necessary. I think that's just fantastic. That's amazing.

LEAH: And I should say that the men on our team are fantastic. So this is not like a – [laughs] [overtalk]

MANDO: Of course, yeah.

LEAH: Escape hatch like, we're all upset about stuff, but it's just nice. Regardless of how wonderful the men on the team are, it's nice to have a space for not men. [chuckles]

STEPHANIE: Yeah. I think that for me, from my experience, the one that I was more comfortable with was at my first Rails job. It was still in Brazil and the team was totally remote and they did lots of peer programming. They did a great job in onboarding people, but peer programming was way more than onboarding. It was a common practice and I was just like, “Wow, this is so cool.” You could learn so much more beyond just a code and besides that, I felt really comfortable in seeing that no one was scared of doing anything wrong like, there was a really good communication.

So I think that the main thing that needs to be worked at, when you're working in a team, is to make sure that everyone feels safe to do their stuff and they don't feel like, “Oh, I'm going to be judged,” or “I don't want to try this because I don't want to have to handle with anything from management,” or whatever. So maybe having that feeling, “Oh, we make mistakes here. We are humans, but we try to make the best to learn from them.” That's a good way to improve this team behavior, I guess. [chuckles]

JOHN: So you were able to see the other people on the team, that you were paired with, making mistakes and being okay with it and just that became obvious to you that that was the thing that happened all the time and it was fine. Right?

STEPHANIE: Yeah, and especially because I was also self-taught. I actually went for computer science for one year, but I dropped out. I always had this idea that people with more experience, they know everything. [laughs] That was like a mindset that I changed and it made me feel way more human, more than anything at first, and that's when I started seeing how much it's important to think of your team and how much that affects everyone and in your company as well.

MANDO: First of all, shout out to comp sci dropouts. I made it just a little bit farther than you, but I know exactly where you're coming from. I had that same thing in my head for a very long time that these folks with their degrees obviously must know so much more than me and I have no idea what I'm doing.

That's one of the things that I've always loved about the programs, like the RailsConf Scholars, is that for me, one of the things that helps combat that imposter syndrome thinking is working with folks directly who are earlier in their careers, or have less experience. So not only do you get to help them, guide them, and show them things and stuff, but it really does help serve as a reminder of all the stuff that you do know. There's nothing better than talking about something with someone, being able to explain it to them and help them, and then you walk away and you're like, “Oh yeah, I do know some things, that's kind of nice.”

TRAM: I think in talking about dropping out of a major, or switching majors, my experience and my journey into tech. In college, I was quite afraid. I had a requirement to take a CS class, but hearing all these horror stories from other people made me delay taking it. I actually took my first CS class, my junior year of college and while it was really challenging, I definitely enjoyed it way more than I thought I would.

But since I took it too late in my college career, I couldn't switch my major, or couldn’t minor, or major in it and that really stuck with me because, I think going and finding the ADA Developers Academy, which is a coding program, it’s like it was my second chance at doing something that I wanted to do, but didn’t have the time, or didn't have the confidence to do in college.

One thing that is nice, that I keep thinking about, is that even if I did do a CS major in college, that environment instilled with the competition of it and instilled with, I guess, people who may think that they know more than you may have not been conducive for my education.

But what I really enjoy about the current coding program that I'm in is that it's all women, or gender diverse folks and we all come from all different walks of life. But one thing that we have in common is being really empathetic to each other and that environment, I think made all the difference in my ability to learn and to see that there is a community that would champion me and that would also try to uplift other people.

JOHN: Yeah. I think that highlights the importance of that initial learning environment. If your first exposure to tech is a weed-out course when you’re trying taking CS in college, you're probably never coming back to it. But having an environment that's specifically designed to actually be supportive and actually get you through learning things can make all the difference, really.

MANDO: Yeah. My oldest son is going through a computer science course, or computer science curriculum at UT Dallas here in Texas and his experience is a little bit different, I think because of the pandemic and he doesn't have that in-person structure. Everything's different. He's not having in-person classes. So it's forcing it to be a little more collaborative in nature and a little less kind of what you were saying, John, like waking up at 8 o'clock in the morning to go to some 300-person weed-out class.

I think it has served him a little bit better having things be a little weird in that regard, but it is funny to see how little the curriculum and set up around getting a computer science college degree has changed in the 20 years since I took it. That's a shame and I think that that's why the places like ADA Developers Academy and other folks who are showing people and especially employers, that there's different ways for people to get these skills and get this knowledge as opposed to a strictly regimented 4-year, whatever you want to call it, degree program.

Leah, you came into technology, you were saying, through a different path other than your traditional computer science degree?

LEAH: Yeah. So I majored in math in college and wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do with that and when I graduated, it was 2009, to age myself. [chuckles] It was 2009 and the economy was not doing very well and a lot of my peers were really struggling to find jobs. I went for a leadership program at an insurance company and ended up staying there and moving to Cincinnati, Ohio, which I had no desire ever to go there, [laughs] but it worked out fine.

I ended up in this insurance company for almost 10 years. Met some really wonderful people and I got to do a lot of really great things, but just kept having that question in my mind of if it hadn't been a poor economy and if it hadn't been whatever factors, could there have been another path for me? I just kept thinking about what I enjoy doing at my job had nothing to do with the insurance side of things.

I found that I got really into writing Excel formulas, [chuckles] those were the days that I was having the most fun and I was working remotely, living in Charleston, South Carolina at the time. After chatting with a few friends, I found the Turing School of Software & Design out in Denver.

So I quit my job and moved out to Denver and two days after I moved there, I started the bootcamp program. After an entire week of school, I still hadn't unpacked my bag of socks and several other things from my car. So it was just kind of a whirlwind, but I picked Turing because they had an emphasis on social justice and that was really important to me and I think it served me very well as far as being able to meet a lot of people who are like-minded—who also picked Turing for similar reasons—just wanting to better the community and be a force for good with technology. So yeah, that was my rambling answer. [laughs]

MANDO: I know that I struggle a lot with knowing the “good programs” and the not-so-great bootcamp style programs. Like anything else, when stuff becomes something that's popular, it attracts folks who are speculators and usurious, I guess, for lack of a better word.


So you hear these horror stories about people who go through and spend all this money on bootcamp programs and then can't find a job, don't really feel like they learned the things that they were supposed to learn, or were told they were going to learn. It's nice to hear good stories around those and some good shoutouts to solid programs.

LEAH: It was definitely stressful and we had a hallway that we deemed “the crying hallway.” [laughs] But I think it did serve me well and has served many people well in the several iterations that Turing has had over the years.

MANDO: Yeah. Just because it's a solid program, or a positive program doesn't mean that it's easy by any stretch.

LEAH: Totally.

MANDO: I remember one time I was talking with an old coworker and she was telling me about her experience going through the CS program at Carnegie Mellon. This woman, Andrea, she's easily one of the smartest people that I've ever met in my life and she's fantastic at everything that I've ever seen her do. So to hear her talk about going through this program and finding stairwells to cry in and stuff as she was a student really shook me and made me realize that the stuff's not easy and it's hard for everybody. Just because you see them years later being really, really fantastic at what they do doesn't mean that they spent years trying to build those skills through blood, sweat, and tears.

LEAH: Yeah, I think one of the things that was hard, too is you have no idea what playing field everyone is starting from. It's easy to really get down on yourself when you're like, “This other person is getting this so much faster than I am,” and come to find out they've had internships, or have been working on random online courses teaching themselves for years, and then finally made the decision to go to a school versus other people who haven't had that same amount of experience. It's another lesson and [chuckles] just level setting yourself and running your own race and not worrying about what other people are doing.

TRAM: I totally agree with that, Leah. I feel like sometimes I compare my starting point to someone's finish line and I'm like, “Oh, how did they finish already? I'm just starting.” It can be really hard to think about that comparison and not get down on yourself. But I think it's also really good to keep in mind that we only know our journey and our race and it's so hard to have all of the other information on other people, how they got there.

So it's just like, I try to remind myself that and it's like, I think the only one that I'm trying to compare myself with is me a month ago, or me a year ago instead of someone else's journey.

LEAH: Totally.

JOHN: Yeah, that's actually something I'm trying to build into a conference talk because it's so hard to see your own progress unless someone points it out to you. Especially as you're grinding through a curriculum like that, where it's like you're always faced with something new and you're always looking ahead to all the things you don't know. Like, when am I going to learn that, when am I going to get to that, when am I getting to know all these things like everybody else?

It takes extra work to stop and turn around and look at, like you said, where you were a month ago, where you were three months ago and be like, “Oh my God, I used to struggle with this every day and now it just flows out of my fingers when I need to do a git commit,” or whatever it is. Being able to notice that progress is so important to feeling like you're not completely swamped and struggling the whole time; that you're always looking to the things you don't yet know and never looking at the things you do know, because you don't have to struggle with those anymore. They don't take up any space in your mind.

STEPHANIE: Yeah. I can relate to that as well. Something that I've been doing that it's working a lot is okay, I look to others, but I try to see what they did that I can try to look forward. Like, “Oh okay, so they did this and this looks like something that I want to do,” but I only compare myself to my past self because it can be really – I don't think it does a lot of good to anyone, in fact, when you compare yourself to others, just for the sake of comparing.

But if you do see that as an inspiration, “Oh, look, this person is showing me that what I want to do is possible and that's great because I have now more proof that I'm going the right path.” It definitely takes some time to change this little key in your head, but once you do, it gets so much easier and so much lighter. You see even people in a different way because you start asking, “I wonder if this person is struggling with this as well because it's not easy.” [laughs] So this is something that it's helping me.

MANDO: Yeah, that's something that I'm struggling with right now with my daughter. She plays high school softball. She's fantastic, she's an amazing athlete, and she's really, really good, but she's a freshman on the varsity team at the highest-level high school team. So she continually compares herself against these other girls who are like 2, 3, 4 years older than her and have a lot more playing time and playing experience and they're bigger and they're stronger.

I keep trying to look for a way to help her understand that, like you said, Stephanie, she can compare herself to herself yesterday and she can look to these other players as inspiration as to what's possible. But what she can't do is get down on herself for not being there yet. That's just not fair at all and she may never get there. There are a lot of other factors, outside of how hard she works and what she does, that will contribute to how she's going to finally be.

That's another thing that I have to [laughs] work on just me personally is that we all have our own built-in limitations and we all make choices that set us down only so far down a path. I choose to not keep my house completely spotless because there's only so many hours in a day and I would rather go watch my daughter's softball game than deep clean a bathroom. I'll eventually clean the bathroom, but today, [laughs] it's not going to be cleaned because that's the choice. But yet for some reason, I still get down on myself when I come home after the game and I'm like, “Ugh, why is this house so dirty?”

STEPHANIE: Yeah. I think now that you mentioned that you have a daughter, I remember this chapter from this book called The Confidence Code. It’s a really, really good book and it talks about all the reasons women are the ones that more self-confidence and how we can put ourselves to compete.

There is a chapter for parents and how you can help your daughters to not go through the normal route because it will happen. Not that much anymore, but we are still, in terms of society, expected to behave differently and the book brings you really good tips for parents. I think you would be nice for you. It looks like you want to learn more about that?

MANDO: Yeah, for sure. Thank you, Stephanie so much. I'll take a look at that and we'll include a link in the show notes for that and some of the other stuff. Any and all help [chuckles] is very much appreciated.

JOHN: We've come to the time on the show where we go into what we call reflections, which are just the takeaways, or the new thoughts, or the things we're going to be thinking about that we've talked about on this episode that really struck us. So for me, it's a couple of different things.

First Leah, you were talking about being a companion to long distance runners, which is something I had never thought about being a thing, but of course, the moment you say it, I'm like, “Oh yeah, if you're running a 100 miles, it'd be nice to have someone keep you a company.” That sounds great and it's something you need to be suited to. You need to be able to run and talk and so, finding new ways to be of service to other people, I think is really interesting part of that.

I think the other thing that struck me is we're discussing different ways of increasing psychological safety on the team and the ways that you can communicate that to the people that are there. Those are the things I'm always keeping an eye out for because I always want to be able to provide those to my team and so, hearing your examples is just always good for me just to have even more different ways of doing it in the back of my head.

LEAH: Well, thanks, John.

Yeah, I think the big takeaway for me is just what can we proactively do to make our space safer, or just more conducive to diverse thought? I think, Mando, maybe you asked the question of what we were explicitly doing at our companies, or if anyone had ever done something explicit to make us feel safer, or invite us to participate fully in the community of developers? I think there is a lot more that can be done to help people feel as though they're a part, or that their opinion matters, or their belief matters and their contribution will only make the team better and stronger.

MANDO: Yeah. I think that was John who asked that and then I rambled on for about 20 minutes afterward, so.


LEAH: Sorry.

MANDO: But that reminds me, or that that leads into my reflection. Stephanie was talking about the one of the things that helps reinforce that psychological safety for her was seeing people make mistakes and having it be okay, and having that general attitude that we're going to make mistakes and bad things are going to happen and that’s okay.

It's something that Leah, like you, I work at a really, really small startup. There's five people at the company total. So the pressure to make sure that everything is done right the first time is pretty high, the pressure that I put on myself, and it can easily spiral out of control when I start thinking about how long I've been doing this and then the should start to come out. “You should know this,” “You should be able to do this,” You should get this stuff done quickly, or faster,” or “It should be perfect.”

I need to keep reminding myself that it's okay to make mistakes, it's okay to not have it be perfect the first time, it's okay to not be perfect. So thank you for that reminder, Stephanie.

STEPHANIE: You're welcome. I have to remind myself every day as well. [chuckles] It is a daily practice, but I can guarantee you that it's so much better, things like life in general is so much better, so it is worth it.

I think that my takeaway here, not only from this talk with everyone, but also from the RailsConf in general and the Rails community is how common it is to talk about these things at our community. Like, yesterday at the keynote, I saw the diversity numbers and I was like, “Whoa, wait a second. I think this is the first time that I go to a conference and someone is talking about this openly.” I think that's one of the reasons why the Rails community is so important to me and I want to continue the legacy. I think that talking about these names is what makes our community unique and I'm really grateful to be part of the community.

TRAM: Yeah, I think my main takeaway is what I've been reflecting on the past few days and this conversation is one thing following the psychological safety theme of how can we have more inclusive and safe environments and like Leah said about representation matters. The people you see around you and the environments that you are in can help you to feel a certain way and when there's such a monolith of people in a certain company, that can make me feel very scared and open up to what I think, or my thoughts are.

So I think the diversification of type is very, very important, but also just humanizing people and that's one thing that we can do today is highlight, be open about our mistakes, but also have an environment that is inclusive enough where people can speak up about their mistake and that inclusivity begets inclusivity. You're not going to just say that you're inclusive and don't have actions to back it up.

Also, I think what Mando said about calling someone out. Sometimes being a newcomer to a company, I don't feel like I have the power to do that and sometimes, it's uncomfortable for me to do that. So having someone who is in upper management, or someone who has a little bit more power showcase that that's something that they have the power to do, but something that I can do also is really helpful. So that's something that I would try to reflect more on and act upon because it's been a really wholesome conversation and I'm glad to be a part of it.

JOHN: Wonderful. Yeah, and to your point, Tram, there's a talk that was actually at RailsConf a couple of years ago by Anjuan Simmons called Lending Privilege.

One of his points is that those of us who have the higher levels of privilege, we can wield it for good and we can do things like putting ourselves out there to say, “No, that's not okay on this team,” or to lift someone else up and say, “Hey, you just talked over, what's her name.” Like, “Please Stephanie, say what it was you were going to say,” or like, “Stephanie mentioned that idea tenured 10 minutes ago and we ignored it.” So using that privilege, or the position on the team. I've been at my company for 10 years so I have a lot of social capital; I can use that for a lot of good.

I'll post a link to that talk as well in the show notes because I think it's really important concept.

All right. Well, we've come to the end of our show. Thank you so much to all of our scholars who were able to join today, Leah, Stephanie, and Tram and thank you, Mando for being here. This was a wonderful conversation.

MANDO: Yeah, thanks everyone.

LEAH: Thank you.

MANDO: It was fantastic.

STEPHANIE: Thank you!

TRAM: Thanks, ya’ll.

This episode was brought to you by @therubyrep of DevReps, LLC. To pledge your support and to join our awesome Slack community, visit patreon.com/greaterthancode

To make a one-time donation so that we can continue to bring you more content and transcripts like this, please do so at paypal.me/devreps. You will also get an invitation to our Slack community this way as well.

Support Greater Than Code