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Gmail Password Leak Update

I cannot emphasize enough to all of you how critical it is to maintain strong passwords and unique password for every site. I appreciate WordPress two-step verification process with an Authenticator app. This is essential to protect you personally, your career, your intellectual assets as well as financial assets.

The WordPress.com Blog

This week, a group of hackers released a list of about 5 million Gmail addresses and passwords. This list was not generated as a result of an exploit of WordPress.com, but since a number of emails on the list matched email addresses associated with WordPress.com accounts, we took steps to protect our users.

We downloaded the list, compared it to our user database, and proactively reset over 100,000 accounts for which the password given in the list matched the WordPress.com password. We also sent email notification of the password reset containing instructions for regaining access to the account. Users who received the email were instructed to follow these steps:

  1. Go to WordPress.com.
  2. Click the “Login” button on the homepage.
  3. Click on the link “Lost your password?”
  4. Enter your WordPress.com username.
  5. Click the “Get New Password” button.

In general, it’s very important that passwords be unique for each account. Using the same…

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“Why I am leaving the best job I ever had”

The best job I have ever had — that is, the one in which I have felt most rewarded — was in being a mom. But I want my life to be insightful and impactful and intellectually stimulating outside of my home. The difficulty has always been finding balance between the two “M” words – Mom and Manager.

The expectation that a corporate work week is routinely more than 40 hours is challenging for any parent. Yet, I willingly give those hours because I feel passion and a sense of commitment to my colleagues and to the successful completion of work that enables a better workforce via technology.

I am not leaving the best job I ever had. But for MongoDB CEO Max Schireson, stepping down to do LESS and allow someone else to step up to do more was crucial. There is no shame in this – and I am personally applauding his choice — and his integrity and passion for life and family.

The question for each of us is how we will make personal balance work for each of us. And the realization we must all achieve is that the question is not just for women.

It is my hope that Max Schireson’s choice will not only inspire more dad’s to chose worklife balance, but more, that it will make it increasingly acceptable for women to be able to shift temporarily into a lower gear in order to achieve Mom-Manager happiness. Can we all “lean in” to that idea?

Max Schireson's blog

Earlier this summer, Matt Lauer asked Mary Barra, the CEO of GM, whether she could balance the demands of being a mom and being a CEO. The Atlantic asked similar questions of PepsiCo’s female CEO Indra Nooyi. As a male CEO, I have been asked what kind of car I drive and what type of music I like, but never how I balance the demands of being both a dad and a CEO.

While the press haven’t asked me, it is a question that I often ask myself. Here is my situation:

* I have 3 wonderful kids at home, aged 14, 12 and 9, and I love spending time with them: skiing, cooking, playing backgammon, swimming, watching movies or Warriors or Giants games, talking, whatever.
* I am on pace to fly 300,000 miles this year, all the normal CEO travel plus commuting between Palo Alto and New York…

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Leader of the “Band” *

He was man of average build with calloused and greased-stained hands and a weathered face.  I feared his anger with a respect that needed no explanation.  When he smiled, his eyes smiled first.  He was a self-taught carpenter and electrician and car mechanic and small appliance repairman and construction foreman and a steel laborer – simultaneously.  He was bilingual, conversing easily in German  and English.  He didn’t go to college.  He didn’t graduate high school.  But he taught me everything I know about life and how to live it.   On Father’s Day, here are five tips from Dad.
LifeLessons

#1 – Good enough is not good enough.  Dad was a perfectionist of sorts who frequently complained about lackluster workmanship done by others.  He built our house.  And when it was done there was not one single thing that was left to finish – no unfinished floors, or half painted windows or pieces of trim were left to be done later.

#2 – You catch more bees with honey.  Dad frequently reminded us that it served no purpose to be rude in return to someone we thought didn’t like us or who was rude to us.  During one summer college break my brother, Steve, held a job at a nursing home where he swabbed floors and cleaned toilets.  This was the 1970s; and my brother’s hair, just brushing his shirt collar, was considered long and “hippy-like” at the time.  One of the other custodians was frequently snide with Steve.  Steve would complain at home that this man was making his life miserable.  Dad would say, “nevermind – you just keep being nice to him.”  Steve listened.  By the end of the summer, Steve’s custodian colleage was a firm supporter and friend. 

#3 – It’s okay to stand up for what you believe in – even if it causes disruption.  My older brother Jim  marched in a peace demonstration during college.  A newspaper photographer caught Jim in his lens and Jim’s photograph, protesting the Vietnam war, was front and center in our local newspaper.  This was the 1970s, remember.  The neighbors were all abuzz quickly jumping to criticism about my brother.  I think it’s fair to say that Mom and Dad were somewhat embarrassed.  There may have been some words about my brother’s behavior protesting our government – although I do not recall the exact context.  What I do know is that when Dad died in 1993 we found that newspaper photograph safely hidden in my father’s important papers drawer.  All along, he was secretly smiling at my brother’s will to be heard.

#4 – Nothing, No One is Disposable.  At my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, my brother Jim gave a toast that summed up their marriage like this:  Mom and Dad threw NOTHING away.  Dad would repair anything, would save pieces of broken electrical cords for re-use and had a garage stuffed with left over wood, nails, screws and car parts – enough to build or rebuild nearly anything.  We never ran out and bought something new.  He fixed it.  This, as my brother noted, was a good metaphor for marriage.  Through unexpected births and steel layoffs and strikes, through raising five children and putting them through college, Dad never gave up.  And today I cringe at the items I dispose – thinking that Dad would try to fix them.

#5 – What makes us different makes life and work special.  My dad worked in the melting pot of the Bethlehem Steel beam yard.  His coworkers were from every country, every region of Pennsylvania, every ethnic background.  He spoke of them in stories and jokes that were filled with respect and fondness for each of them.  He saw the differences – including his own – as interesting, sometimes amusing and, in general, something that made the workday worthwhile.  As a child, I don’t recall ever hearing a racial slur at home.  Later, when my brothers would bring home their college friends — whom other parents of the time might regard as pot-smoking, too-free-spirited hippies — Dad and Mom would sit in the kitchen and talk with them.  And although they both heard things they never thought they would hear in their house (about sex and birth control and how these young people intended to live), they never flinched, they never made anyone feel unwelcome.  In fact, they taught me – the impressionable younger sister — to be accepting of all.

 

Ignatius Joseph Hoffman.  He was born in the U.S. in 1919, grew up thru the Depression, made his own way teaching himself to design and build and create and labor, and became my Dad.  Thanks Dad, for the best lessons in life.

 

*Dan Fogelberg wrote the song “Leader of the Band” for his father.  In 2003 he said of the song, “If I would have been able to write only one song in my life, it would have been this one.” 

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Leaning In to Get Published in Technology

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“How Design Thinking is Making ERP Software Better” is featured on Page 78 in the May issue of CIO REVIEW. After proudly posting this picture on Facebook, one tech friend (@MicoYuk) tweeted in response “YES!! I LUV to see women on top of their IT game. Congrats to @SherryanneMeyer for bng featd in @CIOReview p 78 #WIT http://www.cioreview.com/magazines/may14/SAP2014/ …” I realized – remarkably – that the publication was a bigger deal than my byline. I went back into the magazine to check the conributors. I counted males and females. I was one of only 3 women who contributed to that issue of the magazine.

I want to be clear: I do not think the lack of female contributors is because the editors overlooked female candidates. I think it’s because women who are willing to put themselves out there are harder to find. I have a sense that when women draw attention to themselves it is not well received, and that therefore, women avoid opportunities that may shine too bright a light on them. Being vocal as a female is a fine art requiring delicate and adept balance to avoid inciting resentment among one’s peers. (I don’t know that I have mastered that art yet.)

Mico’s tweet to me made me sit up and take notice to how many of us are not leaning in to speak our minds on the broader technology platform. Nearly everything I’ve been taught has come from textbooks authored by men. Nearly every speaker I have had the pleasure to hear at a technology event has been male. And I checked who I follow on Twitter, and – GUESS WHAT!? – of the individuals I follow (not organizations), the majority are men.

Why is it that women don’t step out, say more, get quoted, write, speak, or publish more? Is it too risky to “Lean In” to put your thoughts in writing? Are we too busy being wife, mother, friend and tech genius all at once?

My Point of View: We need to be heard for the generations of young men and women who follow.

Your thoughts?

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#SPOT @ASUG365

You know what I learned this weekend? The power of vulnerability in leadership. When asked to share a personal “fun” item about myself with a crowd this past weekend, I chose to share Spot.

Spot is a stuffed animal. He’s yellow . . . with spots. My grandson, Jadyn, gave me Spot when he heard I was heading out of town for the weekend on business. I don’t think my daughters fully expected me to pack Spot into my suitcase. Never in their wildest dreams did they think I would put him in my purse and take him up on stage with me.

One of the experiences I share with other ordinary leaders is my volunteer stint as a member of the Board of Directors for the American SAP Users Group (ASUG). This past weekend, ASUG volunteers gathered in Fort Worth, Texas, to plan the content for our year-round educational platform and our annual conference. Along with ASUG’s new CEO, Geoff Scott, and other members of the board, I sat on a panel on stage during the opening breakfast where I was asked to share a fun personal item about myself. The night before when we rehearsed for the panel, I was at a total loss for something interesting to share. And then I remembered Spot.

So, Spot shared the stage with me. When I explained why Spot was there and what he meant to me, ripples of whispers and soft laughter echoed throughout the ballroom. The rest of the weekend, I was stopped by other volunteers who either wanted to share their personal story with me or who simply wanted a photo op with Spot.

Spot was a conversation starter. Spot made people act silly. But, more, I think Spot demonstrated that I was just like everyone else who was sitting in the audience – that being up on a stage or holding a title like “Director” meant little difference between me and the rest of the attendees. My willingness to be vulnerable enough to potentially look ridiculous in front of several hundred technical wizards opened doors for me to learn from others, to hear others’ voices, to laugh and have fun.

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Lean In . . . to a movie

The golden girl of the decade – Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer –  has just achieved another coup.  Sony Pictures has obtained the rights to turn Sheryl’s best seller self-help book, Lean In, into a movie.  My life, my blog could be a movie too.  (Notice the similarity in our first names:  Sheryl, Sherry.)  Except I think my story might be titled something more like “Leaned On” and billed more as a Lifetime movie.   

I’m not complaining.  I have had a much richer life and more experiences than I ever dreamed were possible growing up as a first generation Czechoslovakian on my mother’s side and second generation German courtesy of Dad.  It’s just that – well ….I wish I had Sheryl’s book and advice 30 years ago. 

Timing is everything.  

Born too soon – and now thirty years into my career –  is it too late to hope that I can achieve even a small modicum of Sheryl’s success?   At 21, I did not know I could be something or someone.  At 21, I was in the workforce as a secretary (before the term “Administrative Assistant took root) and working in an organization where name tags on offices signficantly spoke the LAST name of each worker led by first and middle initials.  In the early 1980s this perpetuated the archaic practice of addressing all the engineers and accountants (who were, in fact, all men) as “Mr. So-and-So.” 

Maybe Sheryl could not find a Ladies Room when visiting a New York office.  But I worked with women who called their bosses “Mr.” and whose careers had been interrupted by mandatory child care leave.  That’s right, in the latter half of the 20th century, it was still common in some American firms to force a woman to resign once she was pregnant.  

These women were my role models. 

Understand – I had parents who gave me a wonderful life and tremendous opportunities – and choices that they never had.  But in all that, there was little either my mom or dad could do to create a vision of Leadership or Management for me – let alone one that would have a female in the lead role. 

Nevertheless, I did have a sort of natural instinct that told me most gender differences were poppycock.  When my mother would hover over my brother’s dinner asking if he wanted mustard with his hot dog – and instructing ME to go get the mustard for him – I would very kindly (risking a slap across the mouth from Mom) state: “He can get it himself.”

Now….try to translate that behavior into the workplace.  When Mr. Smith stopped me to announce that Mr. Jones wanted a cup of coffee in the 1980s, I handed him a quarter for Mr. Jones to go to the coffee machine himself and get said coffee.  My – ahem – “sense of humor” was not well received.

Fast forward to 2014, and I have worked my way up into a legitimate IT Manager position.  (Pats on the back here, if you don’t mind.)    The world has come a long way.  And still has a LONG way to go.

You can agree or disagree with Sheryl Sandberg’s notion of “leaning in.”  You can take apart her words and dice them and mince them into something she likely did not mean.  The important thing is that she said it.

Sheryl said what few people anywhere have been able to say, and that is simply this:  men and women are different. 

This does not mean that a woman cannot hold the same job a man had.  As I often mentally remind myself, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did. . . backwards. . . and in high heels.  Thing is, Ginger did not think she had to act like the men or be someone she wasn’t.  And neither do I.

In my life, in my career, I strive to be authentic.  And what I ask of others is that the be authentic with me.  Yes, it hurts sometimes.  And, yes, I have gone into the Ladies’ Room to cry at times.  But my honest co-workers have made me a better team member, a better manager, and a better person. 

So, let’s have the discussion.  And bring on the movie, Sheryl!  The more that is said, the more that the floor is open to discussion of the issues that are holding women back from leadership positions, the more we have to gain as a society, as an economy, as a community. 

I am not the only working female that did not have role models.  I am not the only woman that still struggles against perceptions and constraints of who and what I should be.   But I’m not so sure that all the other women out there – and all the men who could be partnering shoulder to shoulder with women – will read the book.  MAYBE they’ll watch the movie.  MAYBE the movie will keep the conversation, the Tweets, the Vines, the SnapChats going and going like ripples on the water, forever changing the shape of the working world we know. 

It could happen.

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